The recent publication of the paper, Under the Radar: The Widespread use of ‘Out of Court Resolutions’ in Policing Domestic Violence and Abuse in the United Kingdom, by Westmarland, Johnson and McGlynn, once again draws attention to the differences between adult perpetrated DVA and child to parent violence.
While much comment is made about the similarities – in how it feels to parents particularly, the apparent gendered nature, clear links to previous experience of domestic violence within the family, and to the adaptation of the Duluth wheel in many programmes addressing CPV; the active promotion of the use of elements of restorative practice is where the two clearly diverge. (Or so we thought – the report suggests that RP elements are more widespread in adult DV work than expected.)
I have posted about comparisons with IPV and about the use of restorative practice in CPV in the past (here, here and here for instance), and of course the book by Routt and Anderson, Adolescent Violence in the Home: Restorative Approaches to Building Healthy, Respectful Family Relationships, considers the way in which an important element of work with young people is to maintain them within the family if possible. The Step Up project in Seattle was designed specifically as a diversionary measure, and so it is interesting to compare the way we understand and respond to this issue at different points in the lifecycle.
Work with young people is founded on an understanding of their vulnerability, the often past existence of trauma, the plasticity of their thinking at this stage in their life, and the supportive elements of being part of a family unit in terms of changing behaviour and healing relationships. Which for me raises interesting questions about when these issues cease to be pertinent – what age is the cut off? We know that many young people can be helped to change their behaviour and to remain within the family unit; but we also know that some will continue to abuse family members and will go on to be abusive to partners. Are we looking at two completely different issues or does one morph into the other, or is there an overlap?
I welcome comments from those engaged in work in the field.