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Poll: Fathers Really May Know Best

June 15, 2007

Minneapolis, MN - Men's attitudes toward domestic violence are changing, and their commitment to avoid it is increasing, according to a new poll by the Family Violence Prevention Fund. David Mathews with the Domestic Abuse Project has seen the trend in Minnesota. A key factor is more fathers trying to be positive role models.

“How we act with our partners; how we spend time with our kids; how the kids witness and view us as fathers; our being positive and good problem-solvers. All those things that the kids witness are very important messages.”

He says it's known that kids exposed to domestic abuse are more likely to grow up to be abusers. The poll finds two-thirds of fathers have talked with their sons and daughters about the importance of healthy, violence-free relationships.

Mathews believes fathers are becoming more aware of the impact exposure to domestic violence has on their kids.

“They are saying: 'It stops now. It stops with me. And, the way that it's going to stop with me is that I'm going to teach and help my child to not continue the line of what's gone on in my life.'”

Mathews adds that one factor in the reduction of domestic and sexual violence is that fathers are getting together, discussing fatherhood and sharing their successes and concerns.

“Being able to get together and talk about both the challenges and struggles, but also the jobs and amazingness of being a father, can be really a helpful in the long run, even affecting domestic violence. It might not sound like a clear connection, but just having that opportunity for men to have that venue of getting together to talk about their experiences are just huge.

More information on the study is available online at www.endabuse.org.

The Minnesota Domestic Abuse Project is at www.domesticabuseproject.org.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN