Historically, domestic violence and child welfare have been seen as largely separate concerns. Over the last decade domestic violence has finally gained a place on social work agendas, partly as a result of linking domestic violence with child protection issues. Whilst welcoming the extent to which domestic violence is being taken seriously, we raise concerns about the dominant feminist perspectives guiding this project. We argue that current feminist theory is based on fixed and essentialist gender and generational categories which are unhelpful in understanding the complexities of family situations and family processes. Instead we argue for the relevance of relational understandings of gender, power and violence developed from feminist post-structuralist and psychoanalytic theorists. In doing so, we challenge accepted feminist understandings of domestic violence, and question the basis upon which dominant feminist approaches claim an unviolable alliance between the interests of women and children.