“I promise you we’ll do some more investigation”

Following on from the fantastic UK media coverage of parent abuse in the second half of last year, the radio features and interviews have continued through January.

This week both Eddie Nestor, on his BBC Radio London Drive Time programme (01.21.50 – 01.26.26), and BBC Radio Oxford’s Phil Gayle with the Breakfast show (01.40.18 – 01.44.48) have brought children’s violence to parents to the attention of listeners.

The breakfast interview gave a figure of over 250 incidents in the last three years in Oxfordshire, which have involved teens attacking members of their own family, including threats to kill. Susie Hayman, agony aunt and trustee of Family Lives, offered a number of reasons for the abuse, but emphasized that children were trying to communicate something that they could not put into words. She indicated that the problem is unlikely to go away without intervention as the aggression in itself solves nothing, and urged parents to make use of the Family Lives website and helpline and gain comfort from speaking with others in similar situations.

Eddie Nestor was interviewing Dave Howard from Radio 1, who has done his own investigation into parent abuse. As well as quoting the Oxford University Adolescent to Parent Violence study, he also linked to Family Lives, using annual report figures analyzing the type of call from parents received by the service: nearly 1/3 of more than 80,000 recent calls involved children being physically aggressive. The interview also included a family who had received counseling support and experienced a healing in their relationship.

Dave Howard emphasized that practitioners are well aware of the problem of parent abuse even though it is only now coming to wider public attention. He brought in Rachel Condry who stated that she believes CPV will soon enter the public consciousness in the same way that other forms of Domestic and “Behind Closed Doors” abuse have in the past. It is to be hoped that the government is now taking the matter very seriously, as Crime Prevention Minister, Norman Baker, has issued a statement, saying this is “a serious and often hidden issue”, but that parents shouldn’t feel ashamed to report it and seek support.

A longer version of Dave Howard’s interview with the family, and with Rachel Condry, was played on the BBC Radio 4 PM programme on Thursday. You can hear it here.

Eddie Nestor promised the listeners that they will do some more investigating and find out exactly what’s happening. Eddie, we’ll be holding you to that!

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