When authors discuss the different ways in which child to parent violence and abuse presents, it is common to include sexual abuse in the list; and yet it is difficult to find anywhere in the literature where this discussion is expanded. I know from conversations with adoptive families that the issue is very much alive, and extremely painful to discuss. While many families fear that a request for help will result in the instigation of a child protection investigation, this is an area where alarm bells will certainly be ringing straight away. How to respond though, in a way that maintains the safety of all involved, while not further traumatising either the young person or the parents, is rarely interrogated. A recent conversation with a friend undertaking a PhD at Bournemouth University has encouraged me that more information and greater discussion may be on the way!
For many people, talking about sex and sexualised behaviours can be very challenging—let alone discussing inappropriate sexualised behaviours. When we then add sexually inappropriate behaviours from an adolescent who is also violent towards their parents, it becomes impossible for many to even think about, let alone talk about. The potential consequence of this silence can add to further isolation, fear and guilt for those experiencing adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse (APVA).
In 2015, The UK Home Office published an information guide on APVA. It mentions adolescents who present with heightened sexualised behaviours as a risk factor sometimes present when working with APVA. However, the notion that adolescents may present sexually inappropriate behaviours towards their parents or that they may intimidate their parents, remains under-discussed. The question then arises, is it under-discussed because of rarity, or is it under-discussed because of the difficulty of understanding how this might occur?
I hope to address this problem in my PhD research currently under way.
Louise Oliver, PhD Student in Bournemouth University
Part 2, this week, from Lee Hollins. In this blog Lee further develops the understanding of restraint, with the concept of “safe and therapeutic holding”; and explains how they can be introduced as an aid to keeping children safe. Many thanks to Lee for writing these two blogs. It’s always good to hear from someone else, bringing as it does a greater breadth to the discussion and to our knowledge and understanding.
Safe and Therapeutic Holding – Lee Hollins
Following on from the last blog which charted the evolution of ‘restraint’ and ‘physical intervention’ techniques, I pick up on a discussion that took place at the recent ‘Child to Parent Violence in adoptive and foster families’ conference. Continue reading
In November I was privileged to chair a conference in London about child to parent violence in adoptive and foster families. The day had been crafted to follow a narrative as we explored the effects of trauma for the child and then for the whole family; different insights into law and practice; and finally a session on how to respond when things really kick off. This came in part as a response to discussions I and others had been having about the training available for families in how to keep children safe. I know that some people had found this difficult or impossible to access, and so we were pleased to be joined by Lee Hollins of Securicare and Amanda Boorman of the Open Nest, who, between them, have done much to open up this topic and provide some answers. Following on from the conference, Lee has written 2 guest blogs for us, the first here and the second to follow in a week or so.
We Need To Talk About Restraint – Lee Hollins
Restraint. It’s word that conjures up many images in the minds of many people. Mostly bad, and often in the minds of practitioners working in the field of fostering and adoption. That’s why we need to talk about it. The recent ‘Child to Parent Violence in adoptive and foster families’ conference chaired by Helen was just such an opportunity. Continue reading
I am pleased to post this guest blog from a parent who would like to be known as Sam. Sam is passionate in her campaigning to get better understanding for women who have experienced domestic abuse. She is active on twitter, and has written previously for other people, as well as managing her own blogsite. X has a story to tell about the impact on children of living wth domestic violence, the way in which this can be replicated by children once the abusive parent has left, and the long term effects of this for all concerned. Her contribution is also pertinent because of findings across the world of the prominence of the experience of domestic abuse as a contributory factor in child to parent violence.
I am a parent who has been subject of child to parent violence (CPV) and a woman who is domestic abuse victim. I am not a professional, but have vast lived experience of abuse. CPV obviously has a number of roots and in this post I will explain from my viewpoint one of them. Continue reading
I am very aware when writing and collating material for training purposes, that while we have significant contributions from parents affected by abuse and violence from their children, there is much less attention given to the voices of the young people concerned.
We are not without this completely. Interventions such as Break4Change specifically video young people as part of the programme, using their voices as part of a conversation with parents. Some of this material has been available in training and research reports. Television shows, such as My Violent Child, have at times included direct interviewing of the young person concerned. Books such as Anger is my Friend mediate the teenage voice though years of practice experience. Research reports may include testimony from young people, though often it will be as reported or interpreted by their parent. But Barbara Cottrell is unusual in devoting a whole chapter to the actual teenage voice in her book: When Teens Abuse Their Parents. Continue reading
Another great programme from the BBC this week, available until November 28th. Victoria Derbyshire looked at the violence experienced by families of severely autistic children, and the difficulties for parents in obtaining support. (You can also read some of the stories here)
As well as introductions, and emails and texts from parents throughout the programme, there are two main sections to the item: a film from Noel Phillips (from 16.40 – 33.40), and interviews and discussion with three families and an MP (from 1.20.10 to 1.31.30). The programme ends with further calls from three families affected at 1.50.24. Some commentary is offered from the National Autistic Society, and the Local Government Association. You can view the whole of Noel Phillips’ film here. Continue reading
Filed under Discussion, TV
Learn on the go is a Community Care Inform series of podcasts, “where we discuss what the latest research findings mean to your practice”. The first episode of the series considers the issue of adoption disruption, summarising the research and discussing what can be learned from it. It includes interviews with Julie Selwyn, and Elaine Dibben, looking particularly at the groundbreaking report: Beyond the Adoption Order, as well as other linked papers. The website gives a fuller summary of the discussion, with timings and full references. Child to parent violence is unsurprisingly a big part of the discussion!
Finding this has inspired me to set up a new page which will offer links to audio and visual resources. I will continue to add to it as I find anything, so please send your own suggestions. Many thanks as always.