Adolescent to parent violence – take part in this new research project

A team at Monash University is conducting new research into Adolescent Family Violence and seeks participants. Although focus groups will only be conducted locally in Victoria, responses to the survey are invited from around the world.

 

In 2014 ‘family violence’ was declared a national emergency in Australia. Investigating adolescent family violence  is a project being conducted by a multidisciplinary team of Monash University researchers from the School of Social Sciences,  the Department of General Practice, and the Department of Social Work. It will explore attitudes towards, patterns of, and the impact of AFV. The project builds on, and compliments, work being conducted in the United Kingdom (titled Investigating adolescent violence towards parents). It is part of the new awareness of the harms of family violence and seeks to enhance the safety of women and children.

To view more information about the project, and to access consent forms and the survey itself, use this link.

Thank you for your support.

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Breaking the Silence on Violent Challenging Behaviour: a conference review

Last week I brought you the reflections of Dr Girish Vaidya, who had attended the Violent Challenging Behaviour conference, organised by Yvonne Newbold. The post has attracted some interesting discussion. This week Yvonne has kindly allowed me to repost her own reflections and review of the conference.

Yvonne begins by recounting the hopes of those attending, and ends with her own dream that this, by breaking the silence, will be just the start. “Part of achieving this level of widespread acceptance must include training for all frontline professionals about the issue, and why it happens and how they can help. Ideally, I’d like to see a future where professionals and parents work together in a spirit collaborative respect to find individual support and solutions that work for each child.” There are some salutary lessons for professionals in her post. Please do read it and understand that this is the real experience of many parents, while we always acknowledge that there are also informed, compassionate practitioners already out there who do truly “get it”.

What did parents want?

Just before the recent conference about violent challenging behaviour (VCB) in special needs children, I emailed the parents who were due to attend to ask them what they most wanted from the day itself. These are, without exception, parents who are being pushed to their very limits, coping with frightening and dangerous situations every day, and dealing with painful and traumatic injuries being inflicted on a regular basis by the children they love more than anything else in the world. Reading their replies was humbling, particularly when I realised that most of them wanted, more than anything else, was the chance to simply spend time with other people in the same situation so that they would be believed, understood, accepted and not judged for the first time ever.

To be understood and accepted

That’s what we all want, deep down, to be with people who inherently understand us and to feel validated and valued for who we are and what we have experienced. It’s really not a lot to ask for, especially considering how extremely difficult life is for this group of parents. Yet almost without exception, they were able to recall times when they had tried to explain their circumstances to others, and they were made to feel judged, blamed, belittled and shamefully inadequate as parents.

Loneliness

Loneliness was another issue that many parents talked about in their replies. Loneliness doesn’t just imply being physically alone, on the contrary some of the parents were surrounded by people in their everyday lives. However, nobody in their circle truly understood and believed in them and in their child and they were lonely in the way that only other people’s attitudes can make someone feel entirely alone and isolated.

To help our children

The second most common wish for the day was that they were hoping to learn new strategies and ideas that they could use to help their children cope better with their frustrations, and that might be able to reduce the level of violence their children are using as a way of communicating. Linked to this were several comments about wanting to understand why these behaviours occur, and how to prevent them or to de-escalate them when they happen. They wanted information, support, signposting and advice.

Information – it’s not a lot to ask for

Again, it’s not a lot to ask. Their children have a diagnosed disability such as a learning disability or autism, and this behaviour is a well-documented potential symptom of these diagnoses. There is a lot of information about how these behaviours can be more successfully managed or even re-directed, yet finding that information and piecing it together can be nigh on impossible. There are specialist behavioural support teams who can work with families to help their children. Yet the vast majority of parents can’t access these teams easily, and even those who do manage to get specialist support often have had to wait years to be taken seriously enough for a referral to be made.

Avoiding injuries

Avoiding injuries was another big issue, and that included how to prevent the child from self-harming as well as protecting their brothers and sisters from injury during these behaviour episodes.

Practical tips

When a child has developed patterns of challenging behaviour than can be violent, the dynamics of the family shift so that it can feel as though the child themselves is in control of the household with everyone else walking on eggshells doing all that they can to keep them happy and settled. Parents recognise this, and wanted practical tips on how to re-establish firm boundaries in these sorts of situations, and to take back the control of the family.

Fear of the future

There was another theme running strongly through the replies from parents, the fear of the future. What happens when their children get bigger and stronger if no one has helped them to re-direct their violent behaviour? Parents are desperate to know what they can do now to help their children reach their full potential and to find different ways to channel their frustrations. The biggest fear among parents is that their children, once they reach adulthood, may end up in prison or locked away in a long-stay mental health unit.

Professional Help

How to access professional help was another huge issue. Help that should be immediately available to these families, some of the most vulnerable in the country. Instead, shockingly, one parent after another recounted their experiences of being disbelieved, blamed, dismissed and abandoned by the very services supposedly put in place to support families most in need.

Lack of training among Professionals

Staff in schools, in Local Authorities, Social Services and Health Care Centres have no training in violent challenging behaviour(*), so they have no understanding that it’s an issue at all. When a parent asks for help, more often than not it is so far outside a staff member’s own lived experience that they simply don’t know what to do, how to react, or how to help.

Parent Blaming

Instead, many families are blamed for their child’s behaviour, and it is very common that parents end up facing child protection proceedings instead of getting the help for their child that is so badly needed.

There were several parents at the conference whose children, sometimes including the brothers and sisters, had been forcibly removed from their home and placed in the care system. All because the professionals involved with the families had wrongly made an assumption that the parents were somehow to blame for their child’s special-needs driven behaviour patterns.

Conference Day – like meeting old friends

Bright and early on our Conference Saturday, parents started arriving at the venue. We’d exchanged so many emails by that stage that they felt like old friends, and the welcoming hugs I had were amazing. The parents were pretty amazing too. They have been knocked back so many times, they have so many odds stacked against them, yet they were strong, resilient, funny, warm, brave and compassionate men and women, finding the strength to carry on and fight the system every day, then getting up the following morning to do it all over again.

Our Awesome Speakers

Our speakers were pretty awesome too. Kath Evans, Hazel Watson and Oliver Shanley from NHS England, Jim Blair from Great Ormond Street Hospital, Cecilia Anim, who is the President of the Royal College of Nursing, Mark Brown who is a leading Autism Specialist, Mary Aspinall-Miles who is a Barrister, Dr Girish Vaidya who came all the way from Sheffield where he is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who works with particularly troubled young people, and Malcolm Cooper, a Stress-Management and Relaxation Specialist.

Jaydn – a real star who has turned his behaviour around

We also had a very special contribution from Jaydn, a 13-year-old friend of mine who presented remotely about his own experiences as a child with special needs who used to frequently use violence towards his mum to express his own distress. Jaydn is one of the lucky ones. He has had intensive specialist help to move him on from these behaviours, and he is now facing a much more optimistic future than anyone would have dared hope for a couple of years ago.

Thanks …

I had the best team ever around me supporting everyone on the day. Dan, Linda, Sian, Rachel, Francesca, Adam, Malcolm and Geraldine. Every one of them from families who have also coped with the same sorts of issues that the day was all about. Grainne and Nikki too – although they couldn’t be there on the day, kept me going in the weeks beforehand with their common-sense advice and thoughtful suggestions. Gareth Presch, the Founder of The World Health Innovation Summit (WHIS) came all the way from Carlisle to join us too. His support is invaluable, and working with communities of people to improve health and well-being is exactly what WHIS is all about. I would also like to thank Gill Phillips of Whose Shoes and NHS England for their generous sponsorship which made the day possible and go as smoothly as it did. Gill believed in me from the moment I ran the idea past her, and immediately offered to help. I’d also like to thank Ruth Evans of Patient Experience Network, who partnered with me and who was on the end of the phone throughout the planning with lots of ideas and advice. Thanks too to Graham at the Garden Catering Company who provided a wonderful lunch with a very thoughtful discount, and to Sheila, who manages The St James The Less Centre in Pimlico and who worked really hard in the background to help to make the day a success.

Breaking the silence

It was only a day, there were only 60 families represented in the room, and the scale of the problem is so vast that we couldn’t hope to solve everything in seven short hours. However, we made a very good start.

It was a simply wonderful day, full of hope, kindness and acceptance. People talked, people listened, parents were heard, validated, believed and embraced. There were an awful lot of hugs too! (At the bottom of Yvonne’s original post you can see what people said themselves about the day.)

Only the start

This is only the beginning. We have to capture the energy that was in the room that day and build on it until this devastatingly tragic issue is given the focus that it needs. The first thing we have to do is to break the silence, and make it OK to talk about how our vulnerable children lash out, with an expectation that other people will extend compassion instead of judgement.

Training

Part of achieving this level of widespread acceptance must include training for all frontline professionals about the issue, and why it happens and how they can help. Ideally, I’d like to see a future where professionals and parents work together in a spirit collaborative respect to find individual support and solutions that work for each child.

Building a resource hub

Then there is the issue of making all the information on this easily available and accessible for parents. I’m going to make a start on doing that – collecting what I can find, putting links to it on my website, and creating new material to fill any gaps.

What I want to see

I want a future where every parent is told that violent challenging behaviour may develop in their child later on at the same time they are told about their child’s initial diagnosis. I’d like them to be given basic information about what they can do to minimise any distress in their child before such behaviours develop. I’d love them to have a good understanding of what to do if these behaviours start, and that there will be a pathway of good, strong, compassionate care and support to help their child manage their emotions in a more positive way before the patterns have a chance to take hold and become embedded.

Yes, it may cost money, but nowhere near as much money as doing nothing costs, which leads to thousands of children heading towards prison or mental health units for years upon years.

Toby

Why is this so important to me? Because for 10 years we were one of these families too. Toby, my adorable, hilarious, sociable, warm and kind son who is also non-verbal, autistic and with a severe learning disability had frighteningly violent episodes at home. He, just like Jaydn, got the help he so badly needed, and we have all learnt together how to manage his anxieties, sensory issues, communication difficulties and transition issues in a way that he finds life much easier to cope with now.

All Behaviour is a form of Communication

All behaviour is a form of communication. When a child behaves in a certain way, they are trying to tell us something. When a society behaves in a certain way, it also communicates very strongly too. Together, we can choose to behave with kindness and acceptance, or judgement and blame in the way we either support these families or continue to shun them. What happens next is up to all of us.

I’m developing half day Workshops and full-day training on Violent Challenging Behavior in Special Needs Children for professionals and for parents. Please email me for more information – yvonne@yvonnenewbold.com

Yvonne Newbold is:

  • the WHIS Ambassador for Learning Disability, Autism and Families
  • The Patient Experience Network National Award for Outstanding Contribution in Patient Experience 2016
  • LDT Learning Disability Champion 2015
  • HSJ Award – Top 50 Inspirational Women in Healthcare 2014
  • Author of “The Special Parent’s Handbook”, an Amazon #1 Best Seller

 

* I understand that there is training available on working with challenging and violent behaviour but it is possible that not all schools or staff are able to access it. 

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Child on Parent Violence: Beginning of a paradigm shift?

I am grateful to Dr Girish Vaidya, Clinical Director at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, for allowing me to repost this recent blog on his experience of discussing CPV with colleagues.

Originally published on April 8, 2017

Al Coates and Dr Wendy Thorley’s 3 reports (the last of which is linked here) into an online research project provided fascinating reading and prompted me to present the subject in a CPD seminar for fellow psychiatrists in Sheffield’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). I was particularly keen to share the findings of the reports, my fellow professionals’ experience of this issue and how they managed to address it.

It was heartening to hear that all my colleagues were aware of the issue. When I invited them to think about the impact on the families experiencing, their guesswork was entirely in line with the findings from Al Coates and Dr Thorley’s investigation. What this meant was that once seized of the behaviour as a problem, professionals were able to consider its consequences to the children, families and wider society.

There were also some examples that colleagues offered. One Learning Disability CAMHS Consultant recalled how she was horrified when confronted with a suggestion from social services that a child – who had earlier required 5 people to restrain him – had been advised to be returned home to his frail mother. Quite a few chipped with their experience of Sheffield Children’s Social Services and expressed their pleasant surprise at the speed of response and collaborative nature of working. It was also acknowledged, much in line with what Mary Aspinall – Miles said at a recent conference, that “parents should consider carefully before calling the police”.

So, what should parents (and professionals) do when dealing with a difficult subject like Child on Parent Violence?

My fellow psychiatrists were keen that professionals and parents work out a ‘pre-emptive emergency plan’ so that parents are not left in a dilemma about what they should do. A couple of colleagues were passionate about treating CPV on the same level of child abuse. They were also aware of the Sheffield Domestic Abuse Coordination Team’s MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference). Some suggested that parents should be asked about their ability to cope vs. their ability to manage their life.

Reassuringly, there was a near universal desire to have a ‘rating scale’ on the lines of various risk rating scales that professionals use, to have a common language about CPV. (I am not aware if there is any such scale and if there is, would be keen to know about it). If there isn’t a scale, my colleagues are keen to work with anyone to help develop one.

Writing this, I am reminded of an incident many years ago when one family’s holiday came in for professional scrutiny. The child had been inflicting severe violence on his parents which had destroyed many a family holiday for the rest of the family. Parents decided that they wanted to do something which didn’t wreck their other children’s holiday. They planned to take separate holidays – father with the other children and mother with the lad. They would swap the following year. It was deemed to be a demonstration of family pathology that they didn’t manage to have a family holiday without a fight. I felt that was being a bit too harsh since the family were trying to find a way out of a very challenging situation not fully appreciated by professionals. What do you think? Would you agree with Hannah Meadows’ assertion that self-care is an intelligent response to dealing with long term stress? Or would you rather that the family learn to live with the CPV on holiday?

What next?

Feedback from the CPD seminar suggested that this is just the beginning of our journey. Professionals want to know more, need to know more so that they can support more. Everyone agreed that it was a less discussed issue in clinical discussions and many emphasised that they would be on the lookout for CPV in their clinical practice in the future.

Let us continue the conversation…………………………..

If you are keen to collaborate on scientifically researching this challenge, we – as an organisation and I as a Clinical Director – would be keen to work with you.

 You will find the original here.

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Child to parent violence: Realities, Enigmas and Ambiguities

A number of new papers – academic and discussion – have been published recently, and I have gathered them all up here together for ease.

Kerry Clarke has published the findings from her doctoral studies in the journal Child and Adolescent Social Work. The paper is titled, Adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse: Parents’ management of tension and ambiguity – an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Kerry’s research examined the lived experience of APVA of 5 families (6 separate parents). It draws out three key themes: Tensions such as wanting to resist their child at the same time as wanting to avoid violence; Ambiguities around definitions, thresholds, and identity; and then Steps Taken to manage the harm. Parents described multiple and varied coping strategies, and Clarke et al suggest that more attention should be given to the expertise of the parents, and of intervening early before violence and abuse becomes extreme.

In February, I publicised a national survey that was being undertaken regarding the Reality of Restraint for adoptive parents. The survey was conducted by Lee Hollins, as part of a fact finding initiative launched by The Open Nest charity. The survey closed at the end of February and the findings have been written up as The Reality of Physical Restraint: An Online Survey for Adoptive Parents “A Cry for Help”.  The report analyses stages of a violent episode, and considers the difficulties in managing challenging behaviour, recognising that restraint is a sad reality. Parents who responded expressed frustration at the difficulty in accessing training in safely managing their child in the middle of a crisis. “The parent’s clear desire for the knowledge and skill in order to respond safely, lawfully and effectively underpinned everything”. Work examining this complex issue continues, with more in depth interviews aimed at gathering further critical insight.

Also from the Adoption camp is the final report from Dr Wendy Thorley and Al Coates, titled Child -Parent Violence (CPV): Grappling with an Enigma. This is the third paper generated from the exploratory exercise conducted in November 2016, surveying parents about their experience of child to parent violence and the help available. It interrogates current definitions of CPV; discusses in greater depths the experiences of families both in living with a violent child and in obtaining help; and also looks at the consequences – and costs – of not addressing this issue. Final recommendations are included:  

The following recommendations reflect those requested by participants within the exploratory exercise and highlight the need to address CPV in order to support not only the family members but the children and young people themselves. Overall the main recommendation from respondents is that they require non-judgemental support, being believed and listened to and respected as a parent who is seeking help not a parent who ‘can’t cope’ with ‘normative behaviour. They identify that other people’s perception of them as suitable parents or effective parents is the biggest barrier to gaining support in that professionals dismiss their concerns as ‘normative’ behaviour. Respondents continue and indicate open discussion may also help address the stigma associated with seeking support for CPV so that a true indicator of incidence may evolve to inform a range of suitable strategies and interventions these families benefit from.

Finally, Dr Amanda Holt has been continuing research into child and adolescent violence and abuse towards parents, and her most recent work, Exploring Fatal and Non-Fatal Violence Against Parents, Challenging the Orthodoxy of  Abused Adolescent Perpetrators, builds on the limited information available in this field.

 

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Child on Parent Violence – DfE Expert Advisory Group

With permission, I am reblogging this post by Al Coates, from his site: Misadventures of an Adoptive Dad. (Wednesday March 29th 2017). Al is a member of the DfE Advisory Group on fostering and adoption, and has been instrumental in bringing the issue of child to parent violence to the attention of the Department. 

It was the quarterly Department for Education’s Expert Advisory Group on Adoption Support. Today was the usual updates on this and that and a few larger issues addressed such as the working out of the role of the Virtual School Heads. We focused  to how the Adoption Support Fund was progressing, of course there are challenges but to date nearly 18,000 children had been helped and that the fair access limit remained above the average cost of the vast majority of applications. No help if you’re over with match funding and a difficult issue for some but 80 families have been match funded, which is more than I’d envisaged.
We had a discussion around the incoming legislation of the Virtual School Heads with NAVSH represented in the room they gave a good account of how they envisaged it playing on the ground. It is was a good discussion and there’s room for encouragement and optimism. Of course there are uncertainties as we move into new responsibilities and grey areas but without doubt we are heading in the right direction, it would have been nice to have heard Gareth Marr’s thoughts as we discussed the role.
The final item on the agenda was Child on Parent Violence, I’d asked for it to be there.

Drawing tougher all the findings from the Survey that I’d undertaken and the subsequent findings that Dr Wendy Thorley had made sense of in the first and second CPV reports that laid it all out. It’s too much go through verbatim and a text version of a 45 minute presentation is too much to bear so here we go in eight words.

Taboo (fear of response, isolation, criminalisation, ignorance, stigma, victim blaming)
Paradigms (different professionals view it very differently
Definitions (the trouble with them)
Causes (complicated)
Prevalence (lots, 30% ish)
Impacts (massive)
Responses (shocking)
Actions

It was well received, they’re a polite bunch, but I do think the collective minds and organisations in the room took the message to heart.

Child on Parent Violence is a ‘thing.*

This is a thing that we need to act on, a complicated, ugly, painful and prickly thing that needs to be grasped. As one member noted, not a can of worms but a bucket of worms.

Actions is the interesting bit, so what do we do next?

That’s the question, what do we do with this ‘thing’, first we call it a thing and we start to raise awareness and we start to consider if this as big as we suspect and believe that we make it a part of Social Workers Continual Professional Development.
We consider how we prepare adopters to let them know it’s a ‘thing’ and it’s ok to say it’s happening.
We liaise with safeguarding and tell them about this ‘thing’.
We develop out knowledge of interventions and what works in a real world situation.
The DfE are going to talk to the Chief Social Worker about their views and knowledge.

Today felt like a start line not and maybe a consideration of what may be the first steps in removing the taboo and developing the culture that makes it ok to ask for help and ok to say you’re not ok.

I apologise that this is all a bit vague, it’s late and having thought hard about this for a long long time and lived to varying degrees with it and in it. I feel very sleepy all of a sudden.

On another note I’m thinking of getting the presentation, with other stuff,  out to a wider audience and there’s even talk of putting on a free event for whoever’s interested and recording it, podcasting and you tubing it. I’m pondering that thought so if that’s of interest let me know.

All in all a good day.

*Speaking to a group of Social Workers last week  a senior practitioner said “We knew that this happened but we didn’t realise it was a ‘thing’.”

 

If you have found this of interest then please do check out other posts on Al’s site. 

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CPV: So what does it look like, Part 1.

This is a post I have had in mind for a while, and which has been changing shape faster than I can write. As a result, this is going to be part 1, and I will continue the discussion over the next weeks and months. It really develops two themes and questions: what are we actually talking about when we present training or speak about child to parent violence (CPV); and where are the edges of the definition – what’s included, who’s included, and what and who’s not? It is something we need to address. I am often asked for examples to illustrate a discussion or seminar. It is lazy to simply assume that people understand the concept just because we have become familiar with it. “The outside world find it hard to imagine. As a mother you don’t broadcast it to the outside world because its not something you’re particularly proud of.” (Rosie Noble) But as more and more people start to speak out and to use the phrase “child to parent violence” it inevitably stretches a bit at the edges.

Many years ago now – by CPV standards – Eddie Gallagher gave a handy list of the types of family situation that might be affected (in his experience) by child to parent violence. Since then the list has grown, and it inevitably includes examples that make us a bit squeamish in including them under an official definition: severely disabled children for instance, or those acting in self defence. I have sometimes pondered how parents themselves feel about including themselves in a CPV definition. Indeed, I have asked parents of children with ASD whether they feel it is appropriate to their situation. Is that how they experience the situation? Do they feel they need to protect their child by rejecting the definition? Are the types of help currently available completely inappropriate to their situation and so it does not seem to include them? I  meet parents of children with a learning disability who describe persistent and escalating levels of violence and abuse, that in many ways matches the experience of families with adopted children, or families who have experienced domestic violence, or with mental ill health. And of course in each situation there may be layer upon layer to consider. There is rarely one clear cause or trigger, and for each family it will look and feel slightly different.

Is it taboo to admit your child with disabilities hits or bites you? On Woman’s Hour, on February 21st, Jane Garvey introduced a segment about caring for a child with disabilities. You can hear the programme here, and the discussion lasts from the start to 25 minutes in. There are interviews with Nikita, parent of a five year old child, Nayan, with microcephaly, who shows tremendous resilience in the face of regular tantrums and lashing out which comes from frustration; with Rosie Noble, Family Support Manager at Contact a Family, who offers reassurance that things can get better; and with Yvonne Newbold, mother of Toby, who has written extensively about caring for a child with disability. Yvonne has since blogged about the experience of appearing on the programme, and about her decision to speak out. I highly recommend her blog both for the honesty of the encounter, and for information about Yvonne’s wider campaigning to improve support for families experiencing long term, significant levels of violence from their learning disabled children. I’m not going to repeat the details here. If you are interested in knowing more about Yvonne’s experience then please do check out her website. She has organised a groundbreaking conference for the coming weekend, following her Woman’s Hour appearance, and I hope to post more information about her campaigning in the coming weeks.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Nikita’s situation would be included by many people within a CPV definition. That is not to diminish the level of violence she and her husband face – and sadly may continue to experience, but to question the level of control or intent involved in the hitting and lashing out. But how will we feel as Nayan becomes older, bigger and stronger? What about Yvonne and Toby – how is their situation different? Is it different? The issue of intent is one I will return to in later posts, as it seems to be a central part of the conversation, and yet raises more questions than it answers.

If that’s not enough questions, I want to conclude by drawing some thoughts together and throwing a final one out there for discussion.

When we discuss child to parent violence we are not talking about the odd push or shove, about stroppy teenagers, or about an argument we once had that got out of hand. The phrase is used to describe a pattern of persistent and often escalating violence and abuse over perhaps years, from a child or young person towards their parent or carer. The routes to CPV are many and varied, and frequently overlapping. Each family situation is unique, and yet there are many commonalities, not least in the actual day to day experience and damage – physical and emotional that is done. Nikita describes the pain and hope of living with a disabled child. Yvonne has years of experience and has taken a decision to break the silence, to encourage others to speak out, and to campaign for better support. These are just two examples of what CPV might look and feel like.

So my question(s): Does that help your understanding or does it complicate it? And if you have a disabled child yourself, how do you feel about being included within the definition of child to parent violence? As always, please do join in the conversation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The use of restorative work in CPV: where it diverges with IPV

The recent publication of the paper, Under the Radar: The Widespread use of ‘Out of Court Resolutions’ in Policing Domestic Violence and Abuse in the United Kingdom, by Westmarland, Johnson and McGlynn,  once again draws attention to the differences between adult perpetrated DVA and child to parent violence.

While much comment is made about the similarities – in how it feels to parents particularly, the apparent gendered nature, clear links to previous experience of domestic violence within the family, and to the adaptation of the Duluth wheel in many programmes addressing CPV; the active promotion of the use of elements of restorative practice is where the two clearly diverge. (Or so we thought – the report suggests that RP elements are more widespread in adult DV work than expected.)

I have posted about comparisons with IPV and about the use of restorative practice in CPV in the past (herehere and here for instance), and of course the book by Routt and Anderson, Adolescent Violence in the Home: Restorative Approaches to Building Healthy, Respectful Family Relationships, considers the way in which an important element of work with young people is to maintain them within the family if possible. The Step Up project in Seattle was designed specifically as a diversionary measure, and so it is interesting to compare the way we understand and respond to this issue at different points in the lifecycle.

Work with young people is founded on an understanding of their vulnerability, the often past existence of trauma, the plasticity of their thinking at this stage in their life, and the supportive elements of being part of a family unit in terms of changing behaviour and healing relationships. Which for me raises interesting questions about when these issues cease to be pertinent – what age is the cut off? We know that many young people can be helped to change their behaviour and to remain within the family unit; but we also know that some will continue to abuse family members and will go on to be abusive to partners. Are we looking at two completely different issues or does one morph into the other, or is there an overlap?

I welcome comments from those engaged in work in the field.

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