Always good to hear about new research starting up, and so it was great to hear from Rachel Condry about a major piece of research beginning in Australia in February 2017.
Investigators: Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Professor Jan Coles, Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher, Professor Jude McCulloch, Dr Deborah Western
Adolescent family violence (AFV) describes violence perpetrated by young people against family members. This distinct form of family violence has a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of families. To date, there is limited research examining AFV, and few tailored responses and programs to address it.
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 in Victoria. The project builds on, and compliments, work being conducted in the United Kingdom (titled Investigating adolescent violence towards parents).
This is a pilot project, funded by a Monash Affinity grant, which will build knowledge in this complex area, and form the basis of a national project. The findings will be of relevance to all Australian jurisdictions, and have the potential to inform and reform legal, health and social responses to AFV, and provide a greater understanding of ‘risk’.
Associate Professor Rachel Condry, Oxford University, the lead researcher on the UK project will conduct a workshop with Monash researchers in February 2017.
(reblogged from the Monash University website)
As a new year begins most of us hope for better things to come. The last year was considered by many to have been particularly vicious in an inanimate sort of way. I do believe there is always something to celebrate if you look hard enough; and for those working the field of child to parent violence there has been, within the UK at least, an encouraging interest in training, and a period of consideration of what I have termed nuance – understanding that not all experiences of child to parent violence and abuse will be the same, with a corresponding need for varied responses.
But there have also been personal setbacks for some, with a fear that no one understands their situation. It may have been an unanswered plea for help; or they may have been at the sharp end of an investigation with false allegations made by a child against them. It is right that procedures then roll into action – allegations must be taken seriously, but this should involve a thorough and proper investigation of what has supposedly taken place. Sadly, for one mother in Tennessee, events took a rather different turn, as reported here. Whether out of prejudice, misogyny, or sheer ignorance, is not clear at this stage, but, thankfully for her, her lawyer has supported her all the way and is now calling for a review of procedures in this instance, and in general. The lawyer’s letter follows:
The case is a stark reminder of how far we all still have to go. But we can be glad that there are those willing to take up the baton, to raise understanding and to work for change.
Wishing you a happier new year in 2017!
Always worth reminding ourselves about the hopes, expectations – and entitlements – of those we work with as professionals. This Charter has been developed by a partnership of parents and practitioners, as part of the work of Your Family, Your Voice Alliance: An alliance of families and professionals working together to transform the system. It aims to promote effective, mutually respectful partnership working between practitioners and families when children are subject to statutory intervention. Such intervention can involve child welfare and family justice, mental health, education and youth justice systems.
The Charter is written for parents, local authorities and their partner agencies and those working for them.
Follow the alliance on twitter @yrfamilyyrvoice.
I am grateful to The National IRO Managers Partnership for bringing it to wider attention.
Source: ‘Mutual Expectations – a charter for parents and local authority services’ – @yrfamilyyrvoice
Who’s in Charge? is a nine week programme developed specifically to support parents who are experiencing violence and abuse from their children. Originally designed in Australia by Eddie Gallagher, Who’s in Charge? has more recently become the go-to programme in parts of south-east England – a testament to the recognition and success of a training team based at Awareness Matters in Suffolk. Just this month, the Who’s in Charge? programme has been awarded the CANparent quality mark: a recognition of the effectiveness, professionalism and standards of governance displayed and evidenced.
Cathy Press and Carole Williams have offered the Facilitators training now for several years and have worked with professionals across domestic violence agencies, youth offending and children services; as well as the independent sector. In this short video, a number of practitioners talk about their experience of child to parent violence, and the impact this programme has had on the families they work with on a day to day basis.
Who’s in Charge? from Offshoot Films on Vimeo.
If you would like to know more about the programme, or about the facilitator training courses available, see the Awareness Matters website where you will find further information and contact details.
Why can it seem so difficult to engage young people in addressing their violence? Sam Ross suggests that we are starting from the wrong place. If we are to help teenagers understand that aggression is more likely to harm than help them, we have to understand why they hold on to it so tightly in the first place.
Speaking sometimes in the voice of an adult, and sometimes as a teen, Ross has given us a collection of writings (not a manual) to reflect on, whether on your own or as part of a group for supervision or training. It is written for professionals but also valuable for parents, and takes as its central point the mantra that if you try to treat the anger you will always fail: First you must build a relationship.
Examining the usefulness of anger, different types of anger and rage, the issue of sanctions and consequences, and overcoming disengagement, the book is littered with phrases that ring so true you want to print them out and stick them on the walls! “What to do” is a theme running throughout the text, with a reminder that each teen, and each situation, is different and so demands a bespoke response.
Sam Ross, popularly known as the ‘Teenage Whisperer’, has extensive experience in both educational and youth justice settings, having worked with both young people and their parents and carers.
To find out more and to download resources, visit her website, her Facebook page, or catch her on twitter.
Anger is my friend, by Sam Ross, was first published in 2013 by Teenage Whisperer Press.
Manchester Metropolitan University are offering a PhD scholarship, beginning in September 2017. The project will explore the context and impact of child to parent violence. Its primary focus is how social care conceptualises and responds to child to parent violence, currently an under-researched area, in order to add new perspectives and inform policy and practice.
This timely research will explore the following objectives:
- To review the evidence base for child to parent violence, including where there are gaps.
- To explore the social care policy context for child to parent violence, with a focus upon how it is conceptualised, understood and explained.
- To understand how far child to parent violence is related to other forms of violence and abuse, including whether and how it differs.
- To explore how young people explain violence towards their parents; what led to it happening; the impact upon them and their families and how it was resolved.
- To understand how social care professionals conceptualise the issue and operationalise responses to it. (How they seek to intervene to prevent it, stop it and ameliorate the effects of it on both the child and parent.)
- To identify some of the policy and practice implications of child to parent violence for children’s social care and other key agencies.
Open to applicants from the UK and EU, more details are available here.
Over the last weeks I have been involved in a number of long conversations with people about the harsh realities of living with a violent child, and their sometimes exhausting journeys to finding help and advice. This is truly one of those things that people struggle to understand unless they have been personally touched – it is such an alien notion and no-one can really understand the violence and rage a child can show until they have witnessed it first hand.
Over the years, research around the world has started to uncover the extent of the problem, to speculate on causes, characteristics, correlations …. but all (as far as I am aware) has come from academics and professionals in the field. Now a parent experiencing violence within their own family is seeking to promote understanding of the issue, initially by surveying parents in a similar position and then using the data gained to commission further research and services. Al is an adoptive parent but wants to open this out to all families experiencing violence and abuse, whatever their situation, and to include grandparents and other carers too. You can read the rationale for the survey here, or go straight to the survey here. This is aimed at families living within England and Wales in the first instance.
There is of course some guidance for professionals already published, specifically the Home Office Information guide on adolescent violence and abuse, which forms part of the VAWG strategy; and amongst the small number of books available there is also discussion of different approaches. Nevertheless, while some professionals are now very much on board and fully supportive of families, there are sadly too many still unaware of the degree of violence experienced, the impact on family life and the harm caused to both parents and child without proper support.
Please do support this new venture by completing the survey yourself if appropriate, or by passing it on to others you know. Thank you.