Domestic Violence by Proxy
Victims (whether male or female) of DV may leave their partner and find that a form of PA is invoked which can be termed termed Domestic Violence by Proxy (DV by Proxy), a term first used by Alina Patterson, author of Health and Healing. DV by Proxy refers to a pattern of behavior which is a parent with a history of using domestic violence or intimidation, uses a child as a substitute when she/he no longer has access to the former partner. Parental Alienation may give us an idea of what is happening but perhaps is not strong enough to convey the criminal pattern of terroristic behaviors employed by the abuser.
When the victim leaves the abuser, abusers often recognize that the most expedient way to continue to hurt and control the partner is via legal rights to control the victim’s access to their children. By gaining control of the children, an abusive partner now has a powerful tool which allows them to continue to stalk, harass or physically abuse an ex-partner even when the abuser has no direct access. Moreover, by emotionally torturing the child and severing the bond between children and the target parent (TP), the abuser is able to hurt the intended victim, the target parent (TP), in a way the AP can’t escape.
DV by Proxy includes tactics such as: threats of harm to children if they display a positive bond to the TP, destroying favored possessions given by the TP, and emotional torture (for example, telling the child the TP hates them, was not at the birth/wanted an abortion, and is not bothing with them because they are unloved).
DV by Proxy may also include coaching the child to make false allegations regarding the TP’s behavior and harming or punishing the child for not complying. DV by Proxy perpetrators may also create fraudulent documents to defraud the court in order to prevent the TP from gaining custody. Whether or not the child is biologically related to them is irrelevant to perpetrators of DV by Proxy. The perpetrator’s main motivation is to hurt the TP; whether or not their own child is harmed in the process is irrelevant to the abuser.