There is limited understanding at the current time about the nature of relationships between women and their children in contexts of domestic violence. This is particularly the case in relation to maternal protectiveness, which tends to be seen in simplistic terms of whether women stay in violence or leave to protect their children. This article reports on a qualitative research study that explores mother–child relationships in the context of domestic violence. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 14 women and two men who were raised in contexts of domestic violence. Thematic analysis revealed complexities between the former children’s perceptions of their own needs and their mothers’ vulnerabilities in the context of violence, as well as shifting understandings over time that involved development of deeper insights into the impact of violence on their mothers and themselves. The nuances of maternal protectiveness identified through this analysis can help social workers appreciate the multiple factors that impact on children’s relationships with their mothers in contexts of violence. The findings therefore have practice implications for social work with women who mother in domestic violence as well as children and adults who grow up in these environments.