PACT: the Leeds response to adolescent to parent violence

It’s always exciting to hear how different projects are going. Here Jenny Bright, of the Leeds Youth Offending Service, brings us up to date on her work raising awareness about adolescent to parent violence, and devising a programme for families.

Following an inspirational awareness raising day facilitated by Lynette Robinson and Sally Fawcett (who was at that time working with Lynette at Alternative Restoratives) in September 2011, I have been determined to raise awareness of the issue of child to parent abuse across agencies in Leeds and to develop a specific response, based on promising practice from the UK and further afield. Once your awareness has been raised, doing nothing is not an option!

I have visited numerous agencies across Leeds, including targeted services, family intervention services, schools, the domestic violence unit, social work teams, the YOS etc and delivered a presentation on child to parent abuse with the aim of raising awareness and improving front line responses to this complex issue. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response and improving Leeds response to child to parent abuse has been written as an objective in the Safer Leeds strategic domestic violence action plan for 2012-2013.

Following a lot of support and some excellent training from Sally Fawcett, Simon Roe and Ann Ramsden, I wrote the PACT (parents and children together) programme which consists of two parallel 12 session programmes for parents and teenagers.pact

The programme is manualised and includes the underlying approach towards parents and young people on the issue of child to parent abuse, the theory underpinning the programme and pre engagement work. The 12 sessions are structured with clear aims and learning outcomes, with lots of links between them to reinforce learning. There are also workbooks for each programme for families to take away. It is also possible to deliver the material on a one to one, acknowledging that a group work approach does not suit everyone. We have developed leaflets for professionals, young people and their parents and are starting to take referrals from a variety of sources. We are committed to evaluating the content and sequencing of the sessions and the impact of the sessions in relation to reducing the incidences of child to parent abuse. Of crucial importance to the effectiveness of PACT will be good pre engagement work, ongoing support from the referring agency during the programme and a clear and agreed exit plan.

The delivery of the programme will be in partnership with staff from the Youth Offending Service, the Family Intervention Service and Signpost, thanks to the support and flexibility of senior managers from these agencies. The ripple effects of this will be that the knowledge, skills and experience of the staff delivering the programme will be shared with colleagues in their home agency, thus increasing and spreading good practice.

In preparation, I delivered 2 days training this week for 12 staff, those who will be facilitating the first delivery of the programme in September and others from the three agencies involved. It was a resounding success and each agency has made a “pact” to work to improve their agency`s response to child to parent abuse.

My ambition is to improve the frontline response to families experiencing child to parent abuse across Leeds; to increase the confidence of agencies in working effectively with families on the issues raised and to provide a clear pathway for more targeted support when necessary. If anyone would like any further information, please contact Jenny Bright at



Filed under projects

2 responses to “PACT: the Leeds response to adolescent to parent violence

  1. yvonne aird

    As parent who was lucky enough to take part in the P.A.C.T programme in Leeds I would just like to say it has changed my life, I dont feel isolated anymore or ashamed or even guilty. I didn’t think anyone would understand and that I would be judged and labelled a bad parent. I isolated myself from family and friends as their well meaning comments like “give him a crack” or “throw him out” did nothing to help the situation. He is still my son and even though I put up with his abuse I still wanted to protect him. I engaged with the 12 week programme and met some amazing parents all going through the same emotional roller coaster. I took on board some of the techniques we were shown and I am still being consistent, I now have a better relationship with my son and myself. I am so thankful that Jenny and the team from Youth Offending saw the need for a group like this – it is the tip of the ice-berg as it is becoming more talked about. I encourage any parent to take part in a PACT programme. You are not on your own and not only do you help yourself but you will also help your child. So thank you again to all involved in setting up the programme your dedication is working and getting parents and children together..

    • Thank you Yvonne for sharing your experience about attending this group. I am so glad that the relationship with your son has improved as a result and I hope that other parents will indeed take encouragement from your words.

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