… When you do or think something and suddenly everyone else is doing the same? Well it’s been that sort of day!
Following the presentation of the key findings and recommendations on Thursday, Professor David Gadd of Manchester University received coverage across a number of radio stations for the From Boys to Men Project, which examined why some young men go on to become perpetrators of domestic abuse, and what can be done to prevent this. The research found strong correlations with past experience of domestic violence in the home, but David Gadd made it clear that this did not amount to causation. The authors of the research call for the development of preventative work in schools, with work on violence and abuse included in sex and relationship education.
Interestingly, both Woman’s Hour, on BBC Radio 4, and a piece on Radio 5 Live linked this directly to children’s violence to parents, rather than teenage relationship abuse. Professor David Gadd was interviewed by Jenni Murray alongside Ben Jamal, CEO of DVIP, with voiced examples of young men’s aggressive and abusive behaviour. You can hear it here. (0.00 – 13.20) followed by an interview with Professor Sue Bailey, specialist in Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry, who reminded us that this is not a new phenomenon despite being little discussed – in the past we might have spoken of “Family Violence” or “Tyrannical Children”. Sue Bailey is part of a project at the University of Central Lancashire looking at the introduction of awareness of domestic violence into the primary school curriculum as an important preventative measure.
Radio 5 Live covered the story on their Breakfast programme, available here for the next week only (0.06.11 and 1.12.20) Following “Emma’s” experience of violence from her young son, described as ‘out of hand’ from when he was 8 years old, and increasingly violent towards her at home and in the street by the time he was 10, we heard from Martyn Stoner of the Break4Change project in Brighton, where Emma was able eventually to receive help. Emma called the police on him at one point, as she felt it was important for him to know that he was breaking the law and his behaviour was not OK. The piece is a moving testimony to the commitment and unconditional love of a mother, as Emma stuck by her son to get the best support he could. As she says: “If you haven’t got your Mum, who’ve you got?” Now aged 15, he has turned his behaviour around and makes his mother proud of him.
The Government has said that it is to relaunch its This is Abuse Campaign later this year to help teenagers recognise abuse and equip them with the knowledge and confidence to get help. They have said too that they want teachers to develop awareness, but have so far fallen short of making this compulsory. While services for parents are developing, they remain few and far between, and so the focus on early intervention and preventative work is an important development.
While all this was going on, I met up today with a Journalism student from Bournemouth University, covering the issue of parent abuse for a major project. Sophie (tweeting as @ParentAbuseUk) is hoping to present a multi-media piece involving contributions from academics, practitioners, parents and young people.
Finally, my attention was drawn to an article in the Independent asking whether we have brought trouble on ourselves by our more relaxed attitude to parenting and setting boundaries to behaviour. With references to Sweden in this article, I wait to see if this is confirmed by the Daphne111 project!