It was great to see a new international network, aiming to connect academic research on all forms of violence against parents, launched last week by Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon in Australia. The International Network Addressing Filial Violence “will underpin ground-breaking, systematic and collaborative research into all forms of child to parent violence: childhood violence against parents, adolescent family violence, parricide at all ages, and elder abuse.” Members include Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Associate Professor Rachel Condry, Professor JaneMaree Maher, Dr Caroline Miles, Professor Heather Douglas, Professor Kathleen Heide, Dr Eldra Solomon, Dr Wendy O’Brien, Associate Professor Esther Calvete and Dr Karla Elliott.
This remains a little researched subject, with new understanding constantly emerging, and so this collaborative direction of travel is very exciting.
You will find more information about each member, and about their publications, on the Monash University website.
The Adolescent Family Violence Research team from Monash University are due to launch their research report in August, in Melbourne, Australia.
This Report presents the findings of a qualitative study examining adolescent family violence in Victoria. The study involved two phases – a survey with 120 persons experiencing adolescent family violence as well as focus groups and in-depth interviews with 45 experts, service providers, General Practitioners and health service providers.
Our findings explore gender, age and types of adolescent family violence; impacts and experiences of adolescent family violence, social structures and responses, the role of the criminal justice system and recommended future work in this area. While primarily Victorian focused, the findings are of relevance to all Australian jurisdictions and comparative countries. Continue reading
Grandparents Plus would like your help with their Kinship Care State of the Nation Survey.
If you are involved in kinship care in the UK, whether recently or for the long haul, please do take ten minutes to complete the survey which you can find here.
I am pleased to share the synopsis of a recently completed PhD in the area of child to parent violence, sent to me by Dr Alexandra Papamichail, who has been studying at Brighton University.
My qualitative study explored a form of family violence, namely, child-to-parent violence. The aim was to fill a gap in the literature by giving voice to young people whose voices have been marginalised, as well as to professionals who work with them in the UK. I focused on familial relationships and contexts within which young people are embedded, their psychological states and how these are linked with violent behaviour. The work drew on theories of attachment, developmental trauma and family-systems and emerged from a practitioner-researcher perspective within the disciplinary area of developmental psychology and psychopathology.
I conducted participant-observation and interviews with eight young people from two different intervention programmes aiming to tackle violence against parents. In addition, I conducted semi-structured interviews with five professionals. All data were analysed from a critical realist perspective using inductive, thematic analysis.
A detailed account of the findings will be presented soon in a paper currently in preparation (Papamichail, 2018). The commonalities with developmental trauma are underlined; similarly, the commonalities with the characteristics of “borderline personality disorder (BPS)”1 are addressed for the first time in the UK (Papamichail, 2018). My study fills the gap of psychologically informed research in the UK as well as the gap of the literature regarding young people’s perspectives. It problematises the current practice in the field and suggests a new synthesis informed by tailored interventions, attachment and trauma theory, upon which evidence-based interventions may be based.
1 In alignment with the guidelines of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society (2015) regarding the language used in relation to functional psychiatric diagnoses, I have chosen to demonstrate my scepticism toward the usefulness of terms such as “borderline personality disorder” by placing them in parentheses (British Psychological Society 2015, p. 3).
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
At the end of 2016, Al Coates and Dr Wendy Thorley put out a survey to start exploring families’ experiences of child to parent violence, particularly within the adopter community. I was pleased to publicise it, and have since shared the reports (here and also available on the CEL&T website) which were generated from their enquiries. While it was acknowledged that there was nothing ground-breakingly new in their findings, the work was important in opening up the discussion and allowing it to move into a broader range of meetings and departments. Whether as a coincidence or a direct result, the last year did see significant increases in the open acknowledgement of this issue. Continue reading
Sixty years of child-to-parent abuse research: What we know and where to go, is available on line from this month, and is published in the January / February 2018 volume of the journal, Aggression and Violent Behaviour. Simmons, McEwan, Purcell and Ogloff found over 9900 English language peer reviewed articles up to December 2016 through various searches; and their paper reviews 84 specific references. After some discussion about definitions and terminology, they consider the shortcomings of existing reviews, specifically their frequent basis in a single theoretical framework, as well as the problems of reliability of much of the data, and go on to propose a more integrated understanding with knowledge from different disciplines. Continue reading