Violence against Grandparents: Finding out more 

I am very pleased to post this information and request from Dr Amanda Holt, who has been instrumental in bringing about wider knowledge and understanding of child (and adolescent) to parent violence. She is now about to begin some research into violence and abuse towards grandparents, from their grandchildren, and is interested to hear from practitioners, and ultimately grandparents, with awareness and experience of this.  

As Helen impressively documents, there is a useful research literature developing on adolescent-to-parent violence/abuse, and this is giving us some insights into who, where, how and perhaps why we are seeing this problem across a range of families. However, there is very little research into violence against grandparents, yet I am hearing from practitioners that many grandparents attend CPV support programmes because they are experiencing violence from their grandchild. Many of these grandparents are involved in kinship care arrangements with their grandchild(ren), whether arranged formally (e.g. through a Special Guardianship Order, for example) or informally. A recent survey of 101 kinship carers in Australia found that nearly half (46%) of carers (the majority of whom were grandparents) reported violent behaviour from the child they were caring for and which, in 89% of cases, was directed towards them. As with CPV, verbal abuse, psychological abuse and physical aggression were all reported and the impacts mirrored those commonly experienced by parents who experience violence from their children: stress, mental health problems, physical health problems, additional family conflicts and social isolation. Continue reading

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Collaboration across agencies is key in work with families experiencing child to parent violence

Great to see a blog from Dr Simon Retford, Detective Superintendent at Greater Manchester Police, on the  N8 Policing Research Partnership website (September 13th). Simon spoke at the recent N8 Knowledge Exchange Conference in Darlington, and he reflects here on the content of his presentation.

Police Collaboration Opportunities and Child to Parent Violence 

In June 2018 the N8PRP held its annual Knowledge Exchange conference. The theme for this year was child-to-parent violence (CPV), its complexities, recognition as an issue and prevention. 

In this blog-post Dr Simon Retford, Detective Superintendent at Greater Manchester Police, gives us an insight into CPV through research undertaken to complete his Professional Doctorate and extensive policing experience. 

Within the confines of family violence, domestic abuse has become a widely recognised problem across all sections of society. As a greater understanding of the complexities of such abuse has evolved, so has the responding and support opportunities grown, to better support those involved (Hester, Pearson & Harwin, 2009, pp.110-111). However, one particular area which has avoided extensive academic research, is abuse perpetrated by children against their parents (Jackson, 2003, p.321,). Gaps between parent abuse and domestic abuse research have been reported, particularly where responses to it are concerned, with a suggested ‘policy silence’ for parent abuse (Holt and Retford, 2013, p.2).

You can read the whole blog here.

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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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Adolescent family violence: Good news from Victoria!

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. 

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Child to parent violence and abuse: new thinking and approaches

The field of child to parent violence and abuse is a rapidly changing one, as new learning and understanding emerges to challenge our way of thinking and service delivery. This makes it an exciting field in which to be working – but also requires us to be on the ball with new research and training opportunities. This last year has seen important work from Dr Hannah Bows into parricide and eldercide; and more findings from a survey of parents by Dr Wendy Thorley and Al Coates, including a challenge to the definition currently in use. Have we got it wrong when we draw distinctions between children, young people and adults in the use of violence towards parents? Should we be using different approaches where children have a diagnosis of ASD or ADHD? Is this a different thing all together, or are there huge overlaps within the community of young people using violence and abuse in the home? Should we be representing this with a giant Venn diagram? Continue reading

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Filial violence across the life course

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.

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Reports from the 2018 CPVA Survey

You may have been following the discussion opened up by Dr Wendy Thorley and Al Coates, following their survey of adoptive and foster families at the end of 2016 (here,  here, here and here), and then the enlarged questionnaire to all families experiencing violence and aggression from their children of 2018. If so, you will already be aware of the way in which the responses brought to the fore a number of difficulties with the way in which CPVA is understood and conceptualised; particularly around intent, and children who have either a recognised mental health diagnosis, learning difficulty, or have experienced trauma in early childhood. Two documents are now available, comprising a full and detailed analysis of the recent survey responses, and an extended summary of the main discussion points and recommendations. The first is available through Amazon, the second as a free download from Academia. Continue reading

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