Category Archives: publications

Child to parent violence: Realities, Enigmas and Ambiguities

A number of new papers – academic and discussion – have been published recently, and I have gathered them all up here together for ease.

Kerry Clarke has published the findings from her doctoral studies in the journal Child and Adolescent Social Work. The paper is titled, Adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse: Parents’ management of tension and ambiguity – an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Kerry’s research examined the lived experience of APVA of 5 families (6 separate parents). It draws out three key themes: Tensions such as wanting to resist their child at the same time as wanting to avoid violence; Ambiguities around definitions, thresholds, and identity; and then Steps Taken to manage the harm. Parents described multiple and varied coping strategies, and Clarke et al suggest that more attention should be given to the expertise of the parents, and of intervening early before violence and abuse becomes extreme.

In February, I publicised a national survey that was being undertaken regarding the Reality of Restraint for adoptive parents. The survey was conducted by Lee Hollins, as part of a fact finding initiative launched by The Open Nest charity. The survey closed at the end of February and the findings have been written up as The Reality of Physical Restraint: An Online Survey for Adoptive Parents “A Cry for Help”.  The report analyses stages of a violent episode, and considers the difficulties in managing challenging behaviour, recognising that restraint is a sad reality. Parents who responded expressed frustration at the difficulty in accessing training in safely managing their child in the middle of a crisis. “The parent’s clear desire for the knowledge and skill in order to respond safely, lawfully and effectively underpinned everything”. Work examining this complex issue continues, with more in depth interviews aimed at gathering further critical insight.

Also from the Adoption camp is the final report from Dr Wendy Thorley and Al Coates, titled Child -Parent Violence (CPV): Grappling with an Enigma. This is the third paper generated from the exploratory exercise conducted in November 2016, surveying parents about their experience of child to parent violence and the help available. It interrogates current definitions of CPV; discusses in greater depths the experiences of families both in living with a violent child and in obtaining help; and also looks at the consequences – and costs – of not addressing this issue. Final recommendations are included:  

The following recommendations reflect those requested by participants within the exploratory exercise and highlight the need to address CPV in order to support not only the family members but the children and young people themselves. Overall the main recommendation from respondents is that they require non-judgemental support, being believed and listened to and respected as a parent who is seeking help not a parent who ‘can’t cope’ with ‘normative behaviour. They identify that other people’s perception of them as suitable parents or effective parents is the biggest barrier to gaining support in that professionals dismiss their concerns as ‘normative’ behaviour. Respondents continue and indicate open discussion may also help address the stigma associated with seeking support for CPV so that a true indicator of incidence may evolve to inform a range of suitable strategies and interventions these families benefit from.

Finally, Dr Amanda Holt has been continuing research into child and adolescent violence and abuse towards parents, and her most recent work, Exploring Fatal and Non-Fatal Violence Against Parents, Challenging the Orthodoxy of  Abused Adolescent Perpetrators, builds on the limited information available in this field.


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NVR in Context

The publishers of Context, the magazine for members of the Association for Family Therapy, have graciously allowed me to pass on the link to the April 2014 issue of their magazine, which focuses on child to parent violence and NVR in particular as an appropriate model of work with families across many profiles. (There is also a slightly more legible version here)

Following the editorial from Alex Millham, you will find papers by a wide range of authors and practitioners. Continue reading

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Something to read

I’ve read a number of useful papers and other documents recently, which I have tweeted and also added to the Reading List page, but I thought it worth bringing them all together here as well.

“Am I Really a Bad Parent?” from Nancy Brule and Jessica Eckstein, looks at a communication management model of stigma and explores how parents’ responses to abuse can be understood within this framework. It has some cautionary reminders about the search for causes of adolescent to parent abuse, and also some comments on the impact on siblings. There is not so much written about this aspect of family interaction and so this is a welcome inclusion.

Caring for those who care for violent and aggressive children, is a paper from Adapt Scotland. There are some statistics relevant to the Scottish situation, but the remainder of the paper gives a very concise and helpful understanding of aggressive behaviour in children. Adapt Scotland offer trauma and attachment based mentoring and therapeutic work for families and professionals.

Supporting Adolescents on the Edge of Care. The role of short term stays in residential care, is an evidence scope from Dixon, Lee, Ellison and Hicks for the NSPCC and Action for Children. It asks what is meant by the term “edge of care”, considers different models of residential care, both in Britain and elsewhere; and looks at the usefulness or otherwise for young people (and families) of such an experience. With much debate around the use of Care for children who are violent towards their parents and other family members, I found this an interesting paper to read.

I will continue to publicise other reports and papers as I come across them, and always welcome suggestions and recommendations!


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Child to Parent Abuse: some new resources for professionals

As a comprehensive introduction to child to parent abuse, and guidance for professionals, a booklet from the North East Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum and Safer North Hampshire is very a very welcome addition to the shelves. Child to Parent Abuse Booklet June 2014-2 Published in June 2014, it popped up through a google alert just this week. The booklet is downloadable from the North East Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum website, (information booklet for practitioners about child to parent abuse). Further resources will shortly be available in the form of an eagerly awaited new book, edited by Amanda Holt: Working with Adolescent Violence and Abuse Towards Parents.  The book offers information about both well-established approaches and programmes, including theoretical frameworks and toolkits; and examples of innovative practice.

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Adolescent to parent abuse as a form of DV?

Two recent things of interest from Amanda Holt:

A journal article looking at similarities and differences between adolescent to parent and intimate partner violence; and a seminar addressing this issue at Oxford Brookes University last month. You can hear Amanda and see the slides from this presentation here.


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Thinking about Education

Something a bit different for a change today inspired by a compilation of essays on education, The Connected School from ncb.

If you are put off by a blog about schools, by all means look away now; but having been involved in direct work with families in schools for over 17 years, this is something that I feel strongly about; and of course children spend a huge proportion of their lives within the school gates. We need to get this right if we are to foster healthy, happy learners. For those anxious for a link with child to parent violence here, I would draw attention to the way that many children have been found to bottle up their stress at school, taking it out on parents once they reach the “safe” confines of home. Continue reading

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Western Australia examines the problem of children’s violence in the home

A report from Women’s Health and Family Services received attention in the Australian media this month. The Making of Good Men and Women (Responding to Youth Violence in the Home and its harmful impacts on families and communities in Western Australia) examines the problem of violence from children towards adults and other family members, and contains data from both Western Australia, where the report is based, and comparative figures from the state of Victoria, where services have been established for a number of years. Continue reading

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