Support for adoptive families experiencing violence and abuse from children

The publication last April of the research report: Beyond the Adoption Order highlighted the urgent need within the adoption community for support around the issue of children’s violence to parents, and so I have been interested to follow how this is developing at both the large scale organisational, and more intimate networking, levels. Many adoption agencies offer training around the issue, specifically in Non Violent Resistance (NVR) a theory and technique first developed for this group by Haim Omer.

In March this year, Adoption UK was awarded a government grant to provide trained peers to deliver child to parent violence support. It is intended that the money will allow for the delivery of “proven methods of preventing and managing challenging behaviour that works for both child and parents.” This was the subject of a sold out conference, also in March, organised by Adoption UK and led by Dr. Peter Jakob, with Shila Desai, looking particularly at the Non-Violent Resistance approach. There will be another chance to hear Peter Jakob speak in Cardiff in September.

I have linked to training from PAC-UK on the events and training page of this website for some time. PAC offers some training specifically for professionals, and some for parents and carers, as well as public lectures, with regular sessions on NVR. There are also training sessions on alternate therapeutic responses.

Leading Adoption and Fostering agency BAAF also has a full programme of training events, including a four day exploration of the theory and practice of NVR, learning about different therapeutic responses, and the particular needs of adolescence. You can find more details on the training calendar on the BAAF website. A further conference from BAAF, specifically about child to parent violence, has been postponed to October and I hope to post details of this as soon as more become available.

Meanwhile, a tremendous amount of support takes place on a peer-to-peer basis, linked via social media and formalised through groups such as The Open NestThe Adoption Social and Parenting Adopted Teens (POTATO group). POTATO (and other agencies) are working with the Hampton Trust on a three year project to deliver peer support to adoptive families in Hampshire to cope with the pressures and challenges of living with their adopted children.

Hearing from adoptive families experiencing violence and abuse from children brings home the importance of seeing each situation as unique, while being able to draw on commonalities to aid support. While the abuse may appear to follow a similar pattern outwardly, for each family, in whatever situation, there are underlying issues, which must also be addressed. Some families will have issues related to ADHD, domestic violence, substance use etc. Within the adoption community it may be necessary to consider other therapeutic interventions with regards to neglect, abuse, or attachment, as well as addressing the violence itself.

There will be many groups and organisations I have failed to mention here. If it is one you are associated with then I mean no disrespect, and would love to hear more about the work you are undertaking. Please do comment below or contact me via email to publicise your work further.


Filed under Discussion, projects, Training opportunities

2 responses to “Support for adoptive families experiencing violence and abuse from children

  1. holly

    I have experienced a disrupted adoption due to my daughters continued violent and severely controlling behaviours
    I have encountered disbelief and from professionals who showed little understanding of early attachment and trauma and the implications on a child’s future and learning
    My.daughter is very vulnerable to.abusive people and child exploitation and the only route my husband and I could take was to flag this up and put her on a child protection plan however the child protection. Professionals such a way that they often believe parents are the problem
    My husband and I still input into.our daughters care and safety
    professionals have a about adoption and adoptees

    • Thank you Holly for your comment. I am sorry to hear about your experience. I am sure you are right that there is still much to learn. I hope that through this website, and the conversations we have, we are able to contribute to that learning process.

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