It has been a real privilege to be engaged in the work to raise awareness of child to parent violence over the last year; and indeed in compiling this blog and the accompanying pages. It has seemed as if 2013 has been the year that things have really taken off in the UK, with one major piece of research reported and others underway in Britain, attracting huge media attention. Despite budget cuts local authorities have found money for training events, as children’s violence has become such an issue in their work. Projects and responses have emerged across all disciplines as the need has been identified. Significant work has been done by the Youth Offending Service in promoting good practice and publicising the work of specialist projects. Elsewhere a pilot is well underway in Victoria, Australia, and papers are emerging from around the world as practitioners and academics seek to understand the phenomenon and support families in distress.
Over the year I have been asked to speak at a number of conferences, something I would never have dreamed of doing in the past, but which I have enjoyed immensely and have learned so much from myself. This website has been accessed by people from 75 different nations over the last 12 months, enabling me to forge relationships across the globe – and amply counter the charge that parent abuse is something that only happens in wealthy liberal democracies with lax child rearing practices.
That’s not to say that all is rosy by any means. For a parent experiencing daily abuse, it is little comfort that a council the other end of the country, or indeed the other side of the world, has adopted a more understanding response to their problem. But each small gain has a ripple effect as it impacts on so much more than the immediate area, with positive coverage encouraging others to be involved.
People sometimes ask what are the next areas for research or what are the priorities for ongoing work. If anyone out there is thinking of starting a small piece of research, I would suggest the impact on siblings or fathers are two aspects of parent abuse where there is a need for greater understanding. Difficulties faced by adoptive families specific to their situation is another topic I would personally like to explore in the new year. There have indeed been major gains in 2013, but some things remain on the to-do list. Among these, agreeing on a name for children’s violence and abuse, and finding a better way of logging incidents are high on the agenda. Some time ago I was asked how long I anticipated being involved in “the project” and I had to confess I hadn’t really thought beyond the next post. Right now there is so much going on that I want to stick in there for as long as it takes – and not miss a thing.
So a big thank you to all who have commented or contributed to this blog over the last year, to those who have asked me to speak at training events, or who have shared information for the benefit of others. A special thank you to all those who are quietly and determinedly engaged in work with families. And to those parents whose daily existence is a battle, I would just say Please don’t give up hope. We stand with you and wish you a new year in which relationships can be restored and peace can come again.