Readers of this blog will be familiar with my dream of mapping specialist services around the country for those experiencing child to parent violence (here). With a small amount of funding secured this undertaking finally began for real in May of this year, working half a day a week. What is being found is telling in a number of ways.
- As expected there is little specialist provision over all.
- Discovering services that are new to me has been difficult. How much more difficult must it be for parents?
- Working out who to approach. In some areas a service is run by a domestic violence organisation, in others through youth offending and some are independent. A single point of contact for referrals / requests is thus absolutely essential.
- Sometimes services are not open to all families. For example, some are only for young people already engaged with the youth offending team.
- Practitioners in local services may not always be familiar with services other organisations are running.
- There is a lot of adaptation of tried and tested programmes to fit local situations (or perhaps the skill set or inclination of the practitioners?)
- Funding issues – there is sometimes a degree of uncertainty as to how long the programme will continue.
The good news is, where an authority has a commitment to the delivery of services, then training is ongoing, provision is expanding and facilitators are working good practice in to their ongoing work even where groups are not running. In these areas parents are more able to access help near to where they live.
So I have another three or four months of work to do and am already aware of new provision. As I spread the word some people are coming forward to tell me of projects in their area, making life a lot easier! Please do let me know about work you come across, even if it is the early stages. I will be producing a more thorough report at the end of the project, when we hope that the findings will be presented at an official launch.