Category Archives: Discussion

International FASD Awareness

September 9th was International FASD Awareness Day. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, the most common non-genetic cause of learning disability in the UK, is thought to affect 2% of the UK and US populations, though some people claim that is a huge under-estimate, with up to 5% affected. Within certain communities – care experienced children – it is significantly higher, with perhaps a third of adoptive children receiving a diagnosis. That is a challenge in itself, with only relatively recent wider recognition of this disorder, above and beyond the facial characteristics which only show on a small proportion of children affected. Continue reading

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CPV, who needs a definition?

For as long as I have been working and thinking in this field, people have been talking about the problem that there is no official, agreed definition of child to parent violence (or whatever we are going to call it.) There are many and varied reasons why people have thought that having a definition might be quite a good idea. Essentially these are to do with naming it as ‘a thing’, with parents recognising what they experience as abusive, with services being better able to respond, with the possibility of counting something if we name and define it, with the hope of developing policy and practice responses at strategic level.

There were some raised eyebrows then at the recent N8PRP conference on Improving Policing Research and Practice on Child to Parent Violence and Abuse, when it was suggested not once, but twice, that a definition might be more trouble than it was worth and we could do without one altogether! Stick with me, and you can then decide for yourself whether the arguments made sense. Continue reading

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Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse: HM Government Consultation

The UK Government is consulting on proposed changes to the law on domestic abuse. The consultation runs from March 8th to May 31st, 2018, and you can access the consultation documents, published by the Home Office here. As well as the full version, a shorter document can also be viewed. Continue reading

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Child to parent violence: Is it increasing?

Campaigning in this field, one of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “Is it increasing?” whether from journalists, interested members of the public, friends, professionals or families themselves. I admit to finding this a struggle to answer. Without a proper baseline, how can we ever tell? Are you asking for solid evidence or an anecdotal and impressionistic response? The logical, social scientist bit of me screams in pain as I offer the answer “possibly, probably”. Continue reading

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Child to parent violence and sexually inappropriate behaviour

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! Continue reading

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Safe and Therapeutic holding

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

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We need to talk about restraint

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

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