I met with the practitioners from PAARS this week to find out more about what they are doing, and to make their project more widely known.
PAARS, which stands for Parent Abuse and Reconciliation Service, is a small, locally based parent abuse project which got off the ground at the beginning of the year with a Lottery grant and three members working evenings and weekends after finishing their day jobs. Joe Lettieri, Ayse Adil and Karen Hunter work as learning mentors and parent support advisors in a secondary school in the London Borough of Enfield. With many years of service between them, they were very familiar with the story of parents struggling with the twin demons of domestic violence and abusive teenagers, young people acting out their anger and pain in risk taking and violent behaviour, but with no available support services on which to call. Even within school, the team was unable to offer a joined up response, and so they formed PAARS to fill the gap. Continue reading
Since work is directed by policy, and policy dictated by legislation, Yvonne Nugent hopes that one outcome of her research into child to parent violence will be the reform of legislation. Based at Loughborough University across the fields of law and social science since 2007, Yvonne originally began this work in 2005.
At the Respect National Practitioners’ Seminar in Nottingham this October, Yvonne presented some of her findings and considered how we can best work within the current legislative and policy landscape. With not even a working definition of parent abuse, the response by agencies is at best ad hoc. It was suggested that both the Every Child Matters framework (within the UK) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (3.1) currently offer possible support for work with abusive teenagers and their parents, since it is never in the child’s best interests to be involved in an abusive relationship.
Yvonne hopes that it will not be too long before the UK follows New Zealand in developing both a legal definition of parent abuse and a reform of the safeguarding legislation to include abuse of parents by children under the age of eighteen within its aegis.