Well, it’s been an interesting year, culminating in a hectic last few weeks!
Thinking about what to write today I flicked back through old reports, including that written by Parentline Plus ten years ago, “You can’t say go and sit on the naughty step because they turn round and say make me”. In some ways it feels as if nothing has changed, the same stories from parents, the same understanding of background risk factors, the same difficulties in accessing help. But what does feel different is the volume of coverage, and the gradually changing tone.
There is a lot of interest in CPV with a growing number of PhD students looking at this around the country. We’ve seen more new research papers this year, including a really helpful overview of research from the last 60 years from Simmons, McEwan, Purcell and Ogloff. There’s been a long awaited book from Eddie Gallagher, giving us the benefit of his life’s work in one volume, so some interesting insights there. In parallel there has been increasing action from the adoption community as they try to untangle the conundrum that is trauma-driven abuse directed towards them by their children; and a growing voice from those experiencing violence and challenging behaviour from children with learning disabilities. Researchers in the domestic violence field, such as Hannah Bows, have started to make connections between elder abuse and child initiated abuse of parents, with a longitudinal approach to understanding this issue; and we have seen a widening of understanding to include abuse to adults in a caring role other than parents. In Australia there was much excitement with the release of money to fund services for families across Victoria.
Funding problems continue to affect services for families in this country, but it is exciting to see that many places have been able to sustain a service, and even develop it further where there is buy-in at a strategic level. We have seen a lot of media interest too, with some refreshingly thoughtful examinations of adolescent to parent abuse from the Guardian and Observer in particular, and further coverage on the BBC. There is increasing recognition that this is more than ‘a parenting issue’, and that it could happen to anyone. Oh, and did I mention my book? I am very excited to have finally completed the manuscript and sent it off to the publisher two weeks ago. Fingers crossed for news after the new year!
So what to look for in the year ahead?
- More news on my book I hope
- A long awaited volume from Condry and Miles
- More published research about abuse affecting other family members
- More published research from a longitudinal perspective
- More published research about practitioner experiences of work with CPV
- More great media coverage!
In the end though, more and more research doesn’t necessarily cut it for parents. What we need to see is research converted into action on the ground, with the development of sustainable, respectful, accessible services that meet the needs of families and help to prevent behaviours becoming entrenched, as well as providing support in times of crisis. This is what we hope for in 2019. This is what I wish for families.
I know that there is already much good work happening to enable families to live together peacefully. As I travel around the country I am encouraged by the people I meet and the conversations I have.Thank you for all you do already! I will continue to work towards this wherever and however I can. I invite you to join me in working for change for families, and in bringing hope for all for the new year.