'Swim, swim and die at the beach’: family court and perpetrator induced trauma (CPIT) experiences of mothers in Brazil

EMMA KATZ, Elizabeth Dalgarno*, Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson, Adrienne Barnett, Paola Motosi, Aparna Verma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Gender-based violence (GBV) and Domestic Violence (DV) are prevalent
in Brazil. There are growing concerns globally regarding the
weaponisation of the pseudo-concept ‘Parental Alienation’ (PA) in
the family courts against women. Additionally, a lack of understanding
of mothers’ family court and health-related experiences
indicated a need to explore this topic further. A qualitative study
was conducted with thirteen mothers who are victims of Domestic
Violence and have been accused of PA. Mothers reported a range of
harmful health experiences, delineated here under the conceptual
framework of Court and Perpetrator Induced Trauma (CPIT). Six
themes are presented, which encapsulate a range of harmful
actions, behaviours and circumstances (ABCs) that surround these
mothers and their responses to these ABCs. Multiple physical health
conditions were reported as associated with family court proceedings.
This included maternity problems, musculoskeletal, autoimmune,
and respiratory conditions and a broad range of mental
health implications including suicide and other trauma responses.
Human rights violations, the weaponisation of ‘Parental Alienation’
and inherently misogynistic and oppressive justice systems in Brazil
were also reported. Urgent measures and further research are now
needed to investigate causal links between harm to health and the
family courts and to strengthen human rights protection for
women and child victims in Brazil and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Early online date14 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2023


  • Women’s health
  • domestic violence
  • family court
  • gender-based violence
  • trauma
  • parental alienation
  • suicide
  • human rights


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