Parent abuse legislation on the cards?

Since work is directed by policy, and policy dictated by legislation, Yvonne Nugent hopes that one outcome of her research into child to parent violence will be the reform of legislation. Based at Loughborough University across the fields of law and social science since 2007, Yvonne originally began this work in 2005.

At the Respect National Practitioners’ Seminar in Nottingham this October, Yvonne presented some of her findings and considered how we can best work within the current legislative and policy landscape. With not even a working definition of parent abuse, the response by agencies is at best ad hoc. It was suggested that both the Every Child Matters framework (within the UK) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (3.1) currently offer possible support for work with abusive teenagers and their parents, since it is never in the child’s best interests to be involved in an abusive relationship.

Yvonne hopes that it will not be too long before the UK follows New Zealand in developing both a legal definition of parent abuse and a reform of the safeguarding legislation to include abuse of parents by children under the age of eighteen within its aegis.

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