BBC Radio Northants provided a comprehensive backdrop to the NADA (Northamptonshire Against Domestic Abuse) Domestic Abuse Conference which took place in Kettering on Wednesday 27th November, during this International End Violence Against Women week. Stuart Linnell used his breakfast show to introduce the issue of parent abuse and to interview parents as well as keynote speakers at the conference. You can listen again here for the next few days.
The conference was opened by local Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, before we heard a moving account from Amy, of her own struggle to live in and eventually leave an abusive relationship. Dr Jane Callaghan, of the University of Northampton, gave an overview of her research into the way children exposed to domestic abuse need not be seen as passive witnesses, looking at the ways they can develop their own resilience. This was followed by a presentation from Dr Mark Farrall of Ignition Creative Learning on the spectrum of domestic abuse, drawing attention particularly to the different discourses between crime studies and family conflict studies. He described the far end of the spectrum as “intimate terrorism”. Before the lunch break, I gave a presentation on parent abuse, looking particularly at how it fits into understanding of domestic violence.
The lunch time provided an opportunity to visit stands from the many agencies in the county offering support to those experiencing abuse; and was followed by a showing of the educational film, Leaving, and then an examination of gaps in local services and suggestions for the way forward. Sadly, many of the voluntary agencies represented risk losing funding at the start of the new financial year, and so may be looking at reducing rather than developing services further, at a time when there is ever more demand for support and care.
With over 200 people present, from health, housing, police, education and social care, as well as the voluntary sector and local councilors (apologies if I have missed someone out) there was an overwhelming sense of the commitment to care and support women, men and children caught up in abusive relationships. While there were many requests for advice and guidance regarding families where parents experienced abuse from their children, it was clear that local domestic violence agencies were already providing some of this care, through the Choose to Change programme for teens.
Presentations will be available eventually on the NADA website, where you will also find details of services available in the county of Northamptonshire for those experiencing abuse.
Elsewhere in the week, Nima Sherpa Green from the Voice of Russia radio presented a documentary on child to parent violence. The text of the programme, titled Child to parent violence: “a constant battle with no-one to turn to” can be found here.