On August 7th, The BBC published a story on their website – and also covered it on national and local radio – titled Domestic Violence: Child-parent abuse doubles in three years. The BBC piece is clear and succinct, with a straightforward laying out of the statistics, comments from Young Minds and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), a brief case study concerning a parent of an 11 year old girl and the help received from the Getting On Scheme in Doncaster, and a short video highlighting the work of Break4Change in Brighton. The figures were obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the police for the period 2015 – 2018, for records of adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA). Of 44 forces contacted, only 19 collect the data in a way that is able to separate out APVA specifically. Continue reading
Category Archives: news reports
The tagline on the Premier webpage reads Stay informed and inform others with up to the minute news from a Christian perspective.
With a 60% increase in listeners over the year 2017-18, Premier Radio is one of the few winners reported by Radio Today as total radio listening drops; though the total figure of 227,000 still falls well short of the top London station, Capital, with 1.866 million listeners. Nevertheless, there are many whose day-to-day Christian faith includes listening to a radio station which offers music, discussion and news from a particular perspective. I have regularly visited homes, schools and offices where it has been playing as a background track to the business of the day. The website itself boasts 4019 followers, and the Facebook page apparently has 37K ‘Likes’. These things bring responsibility surely. Continue reading
My life now is radically different … But I still can’t sleep. Putting my child into care was searingly painful. I am often paralysed by recriminations, guilt and despair.
The words of a parent, writing in the Observer this last weekend, in a long, tender and heartwrenching piece about her experience of abuse and violence from her teenage son. Tom’s violent behaviour was thought to come from his acute frustration, communication difficulties and problems regulating his emotions, due to a range of diagnoses. It included actual violence to his mother and siblings, damage to property, and controlling behaviours which took over the life of the family, making a normal existence well nigh impossible. The writer, Lesley Clough, describes calling the police on numerous occasions, and the good support of local DV services, but ultimately the impossibility of finding any solution other than her son’s move out of the home and into care. Continue reading
I have written in the past about work taking place in the state of Victoria, Australia, both in terms of research and government policy. You can read about the work the Adolescent Family Violence Research team here, and the 2016 Royal Commission on Family Violence here. (Although set up specifically by the Victorian government, there was a hope that relevant measures might be adopted more fully by the federal government.)
It was very encouraging last week to see the press release from the Victorian government concerning the announcement of $1.35 million over 2 years to strengthen work addressing the reduction of adolescent violence in the home. This will go towards programmes across three sites, which seek to access help for young people in areas of their lives impacting on the use of violence; in strengthening family communication and relationships; and crucially, intervening early to offer help before violence is entrenched and serious. The funding announcement has been welcomed by groups such as that in Geelong, which runs the Step-Up, Building Healthy Relationships programme, and which last year offered support to 96 families.
Where governments understand the issues there is real hope for funding and change. Sadly, this is not the case everywhere, and continuous budget cuts (for instance in the UK) not only slow down the development of support services, but also risk decimating what early help there is.
Tuesday, this week, saw an explosion across the media within Britain of items on the challenges of adoption, particularly the impact of child to parent violence.
The BBC’s joint investigation with Adoption UK culminated in a 40 minute File on 4 radio programme, Adoption: Families in Crisis, which was picked up on national and local stations, and TV programmes such as Victoria Derbyshire; interviewing families and organisations and further unpacking the crises in which many families find themselves. Continue reading
As a new year begins most of us hope for better things to come. The last year was considered by many to have been particularly vicious in an inanimate sort of way. I do believe there is always something to celebrate if you look hard enough; and for those working the field of child to parent violence there has been, within the UK at least, an encouraging interest in training, and a period of consideration of what I have termed nuance – understanding that not all experiences of child to parent violence and abuse will be the same, with a corresponding need for varied responses.
But there have also been personal setbacks for some, with a fear that no one understands their situation. It may have been an unanswered plea for help; or they may have been at the sharp end of an investigation with false allegations made by a child against them. It is right that procedures then roll into action – allegations must be taken seriously, but this should involve a thorough and proper investigation of what has supposedly taken place. Sadly, for one mother in Tennessee, events took a rather different turn, as reported here. Whether out of prejudice, misogyny, or sheer ignorance, is not clear at this stage, but, thankfully for her, her lawyer has supported her all the way and is now calling for a review of procedures in this instance, and in general. The lawyer’s letter follows: Continue reading
This was a headline in the Sun newspaper last weekend, in an article by Michael Hamilton. Freedom of Information requests to 149 councils in England resulted in a figure of 62 children, ranging in age from 10 upwards, removed from their homes in 2015 by just 16 authorities. Some authorities refused to answer, citing data protection laws. The article lists the authorities which did respond and the relevant number in each case. The corresponding number for 2014 was 49. There are no other details, other than comments from an NSPCC spokesperson, recognising the impact of trauma on children’s behaviour and highlighting the need for help and support for families. Please assume my usual comments about the reliability of statistics such as these! Continue reading
This headline and the accompanying piece in the Family section of the Guardian last Saturday could not fail to shock those who came across it: a mother describing the terrible physical abuse she experiences at the hands of her teenage son.
“Sarah” has found it almost impossible to admit that she is scared of her son, and yet when she first asked for help was told that it was unlikely she would get any – because he was loved and not in any danger. This reflects the prevailing story: that in a culture that separates children’s and adults’ needs and services, and focuses on the rescuing of children from danger, we fail to recognise the centrality of relationships in family lives, whether in their fragility of care or their strength to bring healing. Feeling undermined by professionals as much as by strangers and increasingly isolated at a time when their need for support on every level increases, the family is now offered 2 nights respite care every six weeks. Continue reading
Family Of Woman Who Lost Her Life Plead With Lawmakers To Hear Parent Abuse Bill
By SASCHA CORDNER •
Some Florida lawmakers and advocates are pushing for a bill classifying the abuse of a parent as a form of domestic abuse. The measure stems from a woman who lost her life years ago.
Flowers is recalling the painful memory of the events that led to her sister, Rosemary Pate’s death. Pate’s son Everett was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder.
“She had suffered years of abuse from him,” she added. “Although he had been detained in the Department of Juvenile Justice, many times he was returned home to her where the abuse continued, although law enforcement were aware of the threats.”
And, Flowers says losing her sister like this has been tough on the whole family.
“My father has been through a lot,” she continued. “He got a call. Early one morning, my youngest sister and her husband went to his house to let him know that his grandchild had murdered his child. We have been through the ringer with this.”
Flowers just finished a bicycle ride from Orlando to Tallahassee in memory of her sister. Now, she’s advocating on behalf of a bill that she says would have helped.
“Myself and four cyclists have cycled to show how serious we are about getting a bill for police protections for parents and a bill that would begin intervening early for troubled children,” she concluded.
That bill Flowers is pushing for is sponsored by Sen. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando).
“We know that in Orange County we have a problem because we’ve studied it,” she said. “And, 426 children were arrested in 2012 for domestic violence, physically assaulting family members in their own homes. And, according to an article, elderly people are likely to be hurt by their children or other caretakers more than any other individual.”
And, Thompson says she’s saddened that even with a restraining order stating that Pate’s son had threatened her and she’d been afraid of him for years, the 51-year-old’s petition went nowhere.
“He had indicated that he would kill her two years earlier when he was 16,” Thompson added. “She said her petition to the judge had not really been acted upon because right now, in the law, regarding domestic abuse, the abuse of a parent is not included and so, this bill would correct that. And, it would include abuse of a parent as one of the forms of domestic abuse.”
The abuse may include aggravated abuse, exploitation of a parent’s assets, or emotional abuse of a parent by a biological child. The bill also requires the abuse of a parent be reported to the state abuse hotline.
And, Rep. Victor Torres (D-Orlando), the bill’s House sponsor, says the measure is needed.
“We need to make sure our parents are protected against abusive children,” he said. “The abuse tends to begin with verbal abuse, gradually progresses to property damage, breaking the walls, breaking down doors…ultimately, it becomes physical and that’s when you have the problems, that’s when you start seeing the aggression against the parents.”
So far, neither the Senate nor the House bill have had a hearing. But, both sponsors say they remain hopeful that if it dies this year, it will still be heard next session.