Category Archives: Research

Adolescent to parent violence – hearing from the young people themselves.

Exploring adolescent violence and abuse towards parents: the experiences and perceptions of young people, Victoria Baker. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Central Lancashire, August 2021.

Much work exploring child and adolescent to parent abuse comments on the difficulties inherent in hearing from the young people themselves, skewing the literature towards an interpretation of the phenomenon through a particular lens. Sometimes parents feel uncomfortable putting their children forward, sometimes agencies express concern that it would be inappropriate or potentially damaging, sometimes ethical factors around risk preclude the involvement of these voices in research. As a result, there is a focus on the point of view of parents and practitioners, and an important aspect of understanding and analysis has been absent up to now.

Dr Victoria Baker’s PhD thesis, published in 2021, represents “the most in-depth examination of young people’s accounts of violence and abuse towards parents to date, exploring the forms it takes, the people involved, its causes and contexts, and its impacts. It also generates new insights into how it might be prevented or addressed.” Indeed, it is full of firsts, including also being the “first UK study to take a focused look at the patterned physical and non-physical aggression towards parents using a survey and the first to apply a threshold for what ‘counts’ as parent abuse for this age group” (14 – 18 years).

Despite being a relatively small sample (and there is considerable discussion about the problems both in achieving a larger group for research and in drawing conclusions from this sample size), there is still significant material for providing new insights and learning around the way that young people understand their use of violent and aggressive behaviour, the impact it has on their own lives as well as those around them, and possible routes for prevention and change. There is emphasis on the multiple factors affecting young lives (rather than looking for specific individual causes), a useful discussion about intention, and some helpful mapping of gender issues. ‘Space’ is mentioned as a particular issue, both in contributing to escalation and in enabling improved relationships – a factor which has been foregrounded during the last two years of the pandemic and lockdown in particular. Of note also is the focus on the harm caused to the young people through their use of abusive behaviour, and their own concerns about shame, guilt and wanting to find a resolution. Some of the barriers to engagement in services identified by the participants also go some way to answering the question, “what if the young person won’t engage?”

The work concludes with a series of recommendations for both future policy and practice, and for future research. High on the list is the need for a more consistent and explicit definition of parent abuse, and a scheme for measuring prevalence, to avoid the inclusion of one-off incidents, retaliatory violence, and what might be termed more normal teenage behaviour. We have been calling for these for many years. We have to hope that each year brings the answer nearer!

Please do take the time to read this in its entirety. An important work, bringing timely new insight to the field.

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Research into child to parent violence and abuse in London

I have been asked by Amanda Holt to post this request for practitioners based in London to consider taking part in an important research project. The surge in interest in child to parent violence and abuse over the last year has been truly impressive, and this research, commissioned by the London Violence Reduction Unit, seeks to move beyond interest to understanding, and then hopefully on to provision.

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What works in CPV?

Just leaving this with you: an excerpt from the CSC Innovation Programme Newsletter of November 2020 which has just dropped in to my inbox, on the publication of the final Innovation Programme and Partners in Practice Evaluation Report. The Innovation Programme has been running since 2014, to test and share new ways of working with vulnerable children and young people. It is the intention of the Department for Education, that the findings should inform future practice, policy and funding decisions. Continue reading

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Abuse and Violence from Adult Children

An article in the Guardian this last weekend was picked up by the BBC PM programme yesterday; a piece of research into the phenomenon of the Boomerang Generation, young adults returning to live with their parents, or in fact never leaving the family home. Katherine Hill, senior research associate at the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, reported that they found

Nearly two-thirds of childless single adults aged 20-34 in the UK have either never left or have moved back into the family home because of a combination of a precarious job market and low wages, sky-high private sector rents and life shocks such as relationship breakups. Around 3.5 million single young adults in the UK are estimated to live with their parents, an increase of a third over the past decade, and a trend that is likely to accelerate as the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic deepens.

The BBC segment focused very much on the positives of this trend – for both sides – as well as the different cultural expectations within some families; but also drew attention to the fact that some families would find it much more difficult where financial constraints or size of accommodation were an issue. Continue reading

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Lockdown brings differential impacts regarding #CPV, but the need for a strategic response is greater still

One of the remarkable things about Lockdown globally has been the speed with which researchers have been able to shed important light on the impact of the COVID pandemic, whether in terms of education, mental health, domestic abuse – and not to forget child and adolescent to parent violence – with a view to developing future policy and practice. The spectre of future resurgences, and lockdowns forces us all to reconsider how we go about supporting individuals and families in this new world-order where face to face contact may not be possible, and where we have significant catching up to do still in the delivery of services in different ways.

Today saw the publication of a fast-evidence project from Dr Rachel Condry and Dr Caroline Miles looking at the experiences of child and adolescent to parent violence in the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of the experience of abuse itself, and in terms of the support available. The researchers obtained personal testimony from parents and practitioners through the use of on-line surveys, and looked at police data obtained through FOI requests to support their findings. This work builds on their ground breaking research of 2013 which looked at Metropolitan police data over the course of a year. Continue reading

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Violence to grandparents in kinship care roles

The show must go on as they say, and so the launch of findings from a research project investigating violence towards grandparents took place this week with all the requisite fanfare – but online rather than as originally envisaged! Perhaps it is a metaphor for the situation experienced by the 27 grandparents interviewed for this study by Dr Amanda Holt and Dr Jenny Birchall, in that their life had taken a sudden and often dramatic change of course with the arrival of the grandchildren they were caring for. Continue reading

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Responding to CCVAB / CPV: developing a dataset

The absence of consistent, reliable, and comparable incidence data in the field of child / adolescent to parent violence and abuse is not simply frustrating; it presents a significant barrier to raising awareness and the development of a comprehensive response system. It is not only that we have no solid figures to offer, but that there is no widely adopted method of counting in the first place, compounded by the understandable reluctance of families to seek help and become one of those statistics. A new piece of research from CEL&T and Northumbria University in conjunction with Northumbria Police, released this week, sought to develop a dataset which could be adopted easily, and would provide vital information about those young people coming to the attention of the police in order to better inform the development of services. This particular piece of work is one of the strands coming out of the 2016 DHR into the death of ‘Sarah’. The research, and subsequent report, uses the term CCVAB: Childhood challenging violent or aggressive behaviour. The findings were presented to the police on Friday, 24th April by Al Coates, Dr Wendy Thorley, and Jeannine Hughes; and released to the public on Monday 27th. Continue reading

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Child and Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse during Covid-19

 

Last week I was interested to follow a number of conversations about some of the consequences of Covid-19 on family life. While there have been many tragic examples (for instance, increases in domestic violence abuse and homicides, in the risk of child exploitation, and in child care proceedings), it was notable that some people were also talking about the lightening of the load for their children, the increase in wellbeing even, and the easing of strained family relationships. Continue reading

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Children who engage in violence: Submissions invited.

 

IPSCAN invite submissions by May 1st for their Thinking Space Project on the legal and therapeutic responses to children who engage in violence.

GOAL OF THIS PROJECT: 

To fill the gap in knowledge about evidence-based and child rights-informed programs and strategic interventions for children who engage in violence

PROCESS:

  • To conduct an investigation into a specific child protection challenge, share theory, research and evidence-based practice
  • To develop a report that will provide the international community with a brief on high-level policy, strategy and programmatic advice
  • Catalog interventions and treatment programs for children who engage in violence
  • Understand evidence- and rights-based policies, strategies, programs and interventions of children who engage in violence
  • Ultimately reduce victimization and perpetration of violence in the short term and later in life​
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND SUBMISSION DETAILS GO TO THE IPSCAN WEBSITE.

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Reporting on the police response to #CPV

Some reading for you to occupy the next weeks and months!

There is a lot of interest at the moment in developing an improved understanding of, and response to, child to parent violence and abuse from within the police and youth justice services.  See for instance the work within the N8 Policing Research Partnership in England, and also from the state of Victoria in Australia. Another important read from Australia is the PIPA project Report, Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent violence in the home.  The PIPA project aims to improve evidence regarding:

  • legal responses to AVITH as it presents in different justice and service contexts
  • the co-occurrence of AVITH with other issues and juvenile offending
  •  current responses and gaps in service delivery.

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