From small beginnings we are now beginning to see real growth in support programmes offered to parents and young people where parent abuse is an issue. Most are directed to either the parent, or the parent and young person, some with parallel groups. A service of which I knew offering a programme of work only with groups of young people has shut. I cannot say if others exist. Some services offer Family Therapy or 1:1 counselling and support.
One consequence of parent abuse being little known and little talked about initially was the ad hoc development of services in different arenas, from separate knowledge bases and with varying philosophical stances. Lately, as agencies have come together to talk and learn, a number of specific models of provision have become adopted more widely, with concomitant training programmes for facilitators, and a building up of research evidence to support their implementation. Some of these are outlined below. For more information about individual projects please see the directory page.
Breaking the Cycle
Developed by Paterson and Luntz in Victoria, in the late 1990s, for mothers only, following a model of support for adult survivors of IPV. This 8 week programme using therapeutic and educational input from feminist perspective, is described by Paterson et al in this paper from ANZJFT, 2002.
Who’s in Charge?
Eddie Gallagher is a social worker, family therapist and psychologist, with a clinical sample of over 350 families in the field of child to parent violence. Who’s in Charge, which has been running in Australia for many years, was designed by him as a group programme lasting 9 weeks for parents, developed from the recognition that parents benefited from working together, supporting each other to effect change. Who’s in Charge is delivered in collaboration between local youth and family services and community health services. The programme takes a solution focused brief therapy approach and is organized in four parts:
* Clarifying the nature of abusive behaviour
* The use of consequences
* Anger, assertiveness and self-care
* A follow up session for parents to consolidate learning
Further information is given by Gallagher here.
Who’s in Charge has been evaluated by Rosalie O’Connor.
The course materials have since been adopted and adapted to form other group programmes in Australia, for example, Who’s the Boss and Out of Bounds. More details about these programmes can be found on Gallagher’s website, including this link to a Vimeo presentation about the Who’s in Charge? groups.
Based on the Who’s in Charge model, Break4Change has been developed in Brighton, England, with parallel groups for parents and adolescents, which are described as helping “children to share, to learn and investigate their reactions and responses”. Break4Change was recently the subject of an international research project based at the University of Brighton. The project compared the outcomes of this model with the Non-Violent Resistance model, across a number of European countries.
The research project received a €751,000 grant, provided by the European Commission under the Daphne III programme which aims to contribute to the protection of children, young people and women against all forms of violence and to attain a high level of health protection, well-being and social cohesion.
A restorative justice programme, developed in Seattle, Washington, in 2000, and now being adopted more widely in other North American states, with at least 75 agencies having used the curriculum across the country, as of 2012. Originally developed as a means of diversion from the criminal justice system for court mandated youth, this programme now takes voluntary referrals, and some areas run it purely as a voluntary provision. Parents and adolescents have time to work separately and together. The focus is on self-awareness, stopping of violent and abusive behaviour, and safety planning. The curriculum was originally devised as a 21 week programme, but a shorter, 12 week programme also exists.
More information can be found about Step-Up on the King County website, in a journal article from Routt and Anderson, and in the 2014 book from Greg Routt and Lily Anderson: Adolescent Violence in the Home, Restorative approaches to building healthy, respectful family relationships (published by Routledge).
The model is being evaluated by the University of Illinois, and has been addressed by Buel in a 2002 article in the Juvenile and Family Court Journal.
Do it Different
Lynette Robinson, of Alternative Restoratives, spent time in the States in 2010 on a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, learning about Step-Up. She has developed a model of restorative work with teens and their families in Britain, entitled Do it Different. The model is in use in the north of England, through youth offending teams and other agencies. Lynette and colleagues offer training and consultation. Her report, and commentary, is available on her website.
Keeping Families Safe
Simultaneously, again following a visit to Seattle, Jo Howard, a social worker and family therapist from Melbourne, has been promoting the establishment of Step-up modeled programmes within Australia.
The Keeping Families Safe project launched at the beginning of 2013, alongside the first Australian National Adolescent Violence in the Home conference, and received significant coverage in the media. More information is available here.
SAAIF (Stopping Aggression and Anti-social Behaviour in Families) was developed in Essex, England, in response to a perceived gap in services for support for abused parents, and comes under the umbrella of the Ministry of Parenting. Youth Offending workers, the local Child and Mental Health Services and Victim Support came together to devise a programme based on functional family therapy. All practitioners have experience in childcare and group work management. The founders of this approach presented their work at the 2011 Respect Practitioners Day in London.
Parents and children have separate groups but come together for some of the time. Four principle aims are identified.
• To foster better communication between teenager and parent
• To increase insight and awareness
• To provide tools for dealing with anger and aggression in oneself and others
• To provide an enjoyable, “fun” experience for children and adults alike
A report from the Ministry of Parenting outlines the ethos, aims and detail of the programme. Although training is not yet available, the Manual is in production and it is hoped that this will take off soon.
The SAAIF project was evaluated in 2009 by Priority Research “it is very unusual to see a service so universally acclaimed by users and stakeholders alike as has been the case with the evaluation of SAAIF”.
Respect YPP Toolkit
Respect is a UK national membership organisation working in the field of domestic violence. It has a separate young peoples service arm and in 2011 launched a toolkit for working with young people using violence in close relationships (parents, siblings, boy/girlfriends) Prior to this a pilot project ran in 5 areas across the UK. The work adopts a behavioural approach, while also utilising elements of narrative theory, motivational work, solution-focused work and anger management, as well as creative opportunities for the young people. Respect offers a rolling programme of training for practitioners on using the toolkit.
An 2011 evaluation report is available on the Respect website.
In 2012 the Respect YPS was successful in becoming part of the Realising Ambition Programme, making it possible to deliver a programme specifically aimed at parents experiencing abuse from their children. Organisations in the northeast and north west of England tendered for inclusion in the pilot, and 7 services were chosen.
- Independent Domestic Abuse Services – York and North Yorkshire
- Derwentside Domestic Abuse Services – Durham
- Impact Family Services – South Tyneside
- Stockport Youth Offending Services – Stockport
- Family First, Knowsley
- Wirral Youth Offending Service
Respect Young People’s Programme (RYPP) is targeted at 11- 14 year olds and runs for approximately 12 weeks. There are individual sessions with both parents and young people and others where the families come together to make agreements, and review. The RYPP builds on experience with the toolkit to deliver a targeted, structured intervention, which is more tightly defined to allow for full evaluation.
A style of work that recognizes problems with the notion of restoring power which is “rightfully theirs” to parents in the new and changing cultural framework of parenting. It is heavily influenced by intra-familial explanations of parent abuse, sharing some ground with systemic family therapy. Parents commit to non-violence and are trained one-to-one in methods of recognising signs of abusive interactions and their own role in its escalation, and in adopting alternative resistant strategies. There is emphasis on promoting positive aspects of the relationship and a network of supportive friends and relatives is established.
There is extensive reading material about the NVR approach referenced on the Reading List page of this website. It was evaluated in a study from Weinblatt and Omer in 2008.
Further UK information, including details of practitioners and training, can be found on the Non Violent Resistance UK website.