How can I be sure? Developing a standard for work with families experiencing child to parent violence and abuse

  • How do I choose between different training and trainers?
  • Can I be sure this service will really help my family?
  • What would make me choose to commission one programme rather than another?

All questions I have been asked over the years – some more recently than others – and all very valid!

How do you decide between different providers, now that the number of agencies offering training and provision around child to parent violence and abuse is growing at pace, and with so many programmes being designed from scratch? With so much offered online now, there is no longer the easy decision about travel time, though budget-size might still feature as a legitimate concern. And there remains limited research citing clear evidence of the long term effectiveness of different approaches.

Parents will be offering each other tips and guidance of course, but that relies on being part of an existing network, which is certainly not the case for all families. Up to now my website has offered listings of providers, and some notes on the philosophy behind different approaches, but I still give a disclaimer that I cannot guarantee the services offered. Is it time to resurrect the work on standards and accreditation which a group of us began back in 2015 and which I reported on at the time? Reading back, I see that the concerns have remained remarkably similar over that period!

The working group was chaired by members of Respect, who are well known for their work developing a Standard for work with adult perpetrators (and more recently with male victims). “The Respect Standard is a quality assurance framework for safe, effective, and survivor- focused work with perpetrators of domestic abuse.” This Standard has been reviewed by Nicole Westmarland and Zuzana Zilkova of CriVA at Durham University, and you can read the full report, published last week, here. Comments pointed to the importance of being assured that work was safe and effective, whether from the user or provider point of view, with stand-out words such as confidence, consistency and rigorous underlining the value of such a measure .

Work with families living with violence and abuse from children and young people surely deserves the same oversight and guarantees. It is important that all involved, whether as family members, as practitioners or in funding the provision of services, can be sure that what is on offer will go some way to mending relationships and not to causing further risk and harm.

If you are interested in developing such a standard, you are welcome to contact me to discuss it further.


Filed under Discussion

9 responses to “How can I be sure? Developing a standard for work with families experiencing child to parent violence and abuse

  1. Helen, this is so important and has to be the way forward for CAPVA. It is in the best interests of everyone that such standards are established across this field of work. Please let me know how (if) I can be involved in this.

  2. Kate Warne

    I would love to be involved in developing such a standard. The lack of standard and best practice evidence has had a detrimental effect on my daughter over the years with different professionals from education to Social Services and CAMHS flip flopping on how incidents should ve handled. The inconsistency has engrained certain behaviours in her more greatly. I would love to be involved with any working group looking for parental input.

  3. Thanks Kate. I will be in touch separately to let you know how this will proceed.

  4. Also somewhat frustrated with the flip-flopping..! Count us very much in too Helen 🙂

  5. Hi Helen, this would be a much welcomed piece of work and a long needed discussion. Its so difficult already for families, adding in the decision of support shouldn’t be pot luck.
    However we know some interventions suit families more than others and some messages resonate more than others, saying that it would be great to have an accessible list/directory of ‘kite marked’ agencies that offer support and then families can make their own choices. ( this goes for professionals seeking support and looking for training too)
    Count Capa in if we can support this in any way we would be interested in moving this forward.

    • Thanks Jane. And thank you for your interest in taking this forward. I think we are looking at a process that considers how the intervention is offered as well as the content, so that the process itself doesn’t add to the risk but is recognised as safe and ethical.

  6. This is a really interesting point to raise Helen. At Amity, as you know, we offer ‘multi-agency practitioner awareness raising’ training as we all know parents are keen that the wider workforce can recognise that this is happening as they sometimes don’t. Our training signposts to programmes/other organisations. At this stage we only signpost to services that we know personally and have experience of Holes in the Wall (for further info) of course as well as Jane and CAPA, B4C, Respect. A kitemark might help us all feel more confident in suggesting services. We also always make the point to local authorities that the best way to support families is to offer a recognised bi-directional, therapeutic behaviour change intervention. Just a suggestion but as a trainer in this field I would be most confident signposting to Holes in the Wall where LAs and families could find a comprehensive list of trainers and programmes. Good luck with this work it sounds very much like a way forward. If I can help in any way do let me know.

    • Thanks Emily for your comments. It is certainly something we would like to move forward with, and I will keep you informed of how we progress and whether there is more space for your direct involvement.
      Best wishes,

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