Joe Lettieri, from PAARS, was interviewed, and there were 2 clips from interviews with parents. One was a single parent who had experienced escalating abuse from her son (now aged 12) for the last 10 years, and the other a “middle class” mother whose daughter had become physically violent to her only recently, but who had been abusive in other ways prior to this. Both commented that it was the verbal abuse that they found the hardest to take, despite accounts of really quite severe physical injuries. Attention was drawn also to the shame and stigma experienced by parents: “I feel like I’m a rubbish Mum”.
Michael’s* mother wondered if her son had learned his behaviour from witnessing domestic violence until he was 4 years old. She admitted to having allowed him to get away with things and given into his demands – following the domestic violence – and it had been suggested he may have autism, but while he had come to the attention of the police and court system and had been fostered, she had apparently found it difficult to access help from mental health services. Lucy’s* mother had similarly had trouble accessing help with her daughter, for whom no incentives to good behaviour were effective. The presenter drew attention to £40million funding recently announced by the Home Office to develop support services and helplines.
Researchers at the University of Oxford, Centre for Criminology have been given access to the Metropolitan Police statistics, which show 1,900 incidents of parent abuse in Greater London alone between 2009 and 2010, but of course many incidents may be simply recorded as assault, as Joe points out in his interview.
We’ve been waiting a while for this piece to be aired, so it’s good to hear it at last. It will be interesting to see if there is any wider response.
* not their real names