Does children’s fear matter? Evaluating children’s positions in Finnish court decisions on stalking

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Abstract

Children are at particular risk when one parent is targeted by the other parent's stalking behaviors post-separation. In this article, we explore how court decisions position children when assessing fear, distress, and unlawfulness in cases of parental stalking. The data comprised 127 court decisions on stalking that involved a relationship (dating, cohabitation, or marriage), separation/divorce, and one or more children. Using discourse analysis, we identified four categories in how children were positioned: (1) children relegated to the background, (2) children’s involvement recounted as part of the facts, (3) children’s involvement assessed as relevant because it affected the parent, and (4) children as agents or victims in their own right. The findings highlight a significant risk of losing sight of children when the focus is on parents, and our concern is that this may also contribute to children not receiving the support they need.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalBehavioral Sciences & the Law
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sep 2022
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Field of science

  • Social work
  • Law

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