Tag Archives: Adolescent to parent violence

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. You can also find a job advertisement for the role of Postdoctoral Research Associate for this project, on the Student page of this website. 

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.

However, while there are of course many parallels with CPV, there are other important issues which require consideration. For example, the kinship care relationship may have been unexpected, and grandparents may have complicated feelings about their own caring role. Relationships with the grandchild’s parents may be strained, and the same Australian study cited above found that many of the carers were also coping with violence towards them from the child’s parent(s). The kinship care context often means further structural challenges: we know from research that kinship care households are more likely to experience poverty, and that the child is twice as likely to be experiencing a long-term health problem or disability. The disruptive family context also needs to be taken into account: the most common reasons for the placement are parental mental health problems and/or substance misuse, parental incarceration, child protection concerns (including domestic violence) and parental illness or death. Given this context, supporting the grandparent must also mean supporting the child (and indeed the whole family), both of whom may require support in processing some of these very difficult, and potentially traumatising, sets of circumstances.

Practitioners who are running very effective support groups for CPV have told me that they are concerned that they may not always be responding to grandparents in the best way. What support needs do grandparents have, in addition to the support needs of parents who attend the CPV sessions? How do grandparents feel about coming to the groups? Do they feel alienated from the other parents, given their own special circumstances? And how do grandchildren feel about attending? There may be additional work to do in processing identity roles (“Am I his Mother or his Grandmother?”) and in working through their own complicated feelings towards the child’s parent(s). Perhaps there are ‘generational norms’ that shape how grandparents perceive ‘parenting advice’ that might exacerbate feelings of alienation.

I want to find out more about this issue. This is not only to develop the scholarship in this much marginalised form of family violence, but also to help practitioners to develop best practice for working with this group. I have been funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust to interview grandparents who are (or who have been in the past) experiencing abusive and/or violent  behaviour from their grandchildren. The research project has been approved by the University Ethics Panel and is being overseen by an expert advisory board. I would really like to hear from practitioners who work with any grandparents (even if they just work with one) and who may be willing to share information about this project with the grandparent. I have produced some information flyers that can be distributed to potential grandparent participants that tells them more about the project. Interviews would be face-to-face or over the phone, and at a time to suit the grandparent, and we offer grandparents a £20 shop voucher as a thankyou for their time. Please contact me for any further information, or if you would like to discuss the project.

Contact Amanda by email at her University of Roehampton address.


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Adolescent Family Violence Research in Australia, report launch

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

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“Hollyoaks Spoiler: Son and mother domestic abuse storyline”

Writing in the Metro last week, Soaps Editor, Duncan Lindsay revealed an interesting up-coming plot line in the soap, Hollyoaks.

Hollyoaks spoilers: Son and mother domestic abuse storyline revealed for Imran and Misbah Maalik. Duncan Lindsay for Metro.co.uk Wednesday 6 Dec 2017 Continue reading

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Exploring Child to Parent Violence: PhD opportunity at Bradford University

This PhD is particularly concerned with adult children, where those children have learning difficulties or ASD diagnosis, and their violent, challenging behaviour is directed towards parents.

Project Description

To what extent is child to parent violence recognised within the legal system, as adults with challenging behaviours commit acts of violence against their parents and how is this experienced as an everyday occurrence?

Adolescent to parent violence (APV) has, in recent years, been recognised as something different to domestic violence. This is often due to the fact that those experiencing the violence are the parent, more often the mother, and therefore do not want their ‘child’ to face charges and go to prison. However, in the context of learning difficulties and ASD people who are violent towards family members are not always under 18 and so do not fit within the adolescent to parent age group.

What can we understand about this phenomenon? How does a parent, more often a mother, manage these practically volatile emotionally charged encounters? What can social care do to support these families without fear of the incarceration for their son or daughter? How can this contribute to a ‘safeguarding’ agenda?

We are looking for PhD students who would be able to carry out qualitative research with family members, offenders, or those who work within this challenging area.

 PLEASE NOTE: This opportunity is for self-funded students.
More information and application details here.

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Adolescent to parent violence – take part in this new research project

A team at Monash University is conducting new research into Adolescent Family Violence and seeks participants. Although focus groups will only be conducted locally in Victoria, responses to the survey are invited from around the world.


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Investigating adolescent family violence, an Australian research programme

Always good to hear about new research starting up, and so it was great to hear from Rachel Condry about a major piece of research beginning in Australia in February 2017.

Investigating adolescent family violence


Investigators: Dr Kate Fitz-GibbonProfessor Jan ColesAssociate Professor JaneMaree MaherProfessor Jude McCullochDr Deborah Western

Adolescent family violence (AFV) describes violence perpetrated by young people against family members. This distinct form of family violence has a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of families. To date, there is limited research examining AFV, and few tailored responses and programs to address it.

Investigating adolescent family violence  is a project being conducted by a multidisciplinary team of Monash University researchers from the School of Social Sciences, the Department of General Practice, and the Department of Social Work. It will explore attitudes towards, patterns of, and the impact of AFV in Victoria. The project builds on, and compliments, work being conducted in the United Kingdom (titled Investigating adolescent violence towards parents).

This is a pilot project, funded by a Monash Affinity grant, which will build knowledge in this complex area, and form the basis of a national project. The findings will be of relevance to all Australian jurisdictions, and have the potential to inform and reform legal, health and social responses to AFV, and provide a greater understanding of ‘risk’.profile-condry-rachel

Associate Professor Rachel Condry, Oxford University, the lead researcher on the UK project will conduct a workshop with Monash researchers in February 2017.

(reblogged from the Monash University website)

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Government launches the new VAWG strategy

Last week, on International Women’s Day, the Government published their revised VAWG strategy, Ending Violence against Women and Girls, to run from 2016 to 2020. Much trumpeted by the government, the strategy was also met with approval by crucial organisations such as Women’s Aid and Safe Lives.

With the input of £80 million, a focus on early intervention and prevention services, improvements in commissioning services with a National Statement of Expectations, and addressing the behaviour of perpetrators, it seems a little churlish to be writing anything negative. Nevertheless, we must remember that this comes against a background of savage cuts to services over the course of this government, which has seen closures in refuges across the country, with the loss of support for women which must be made good before any real gains can be claimed. Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham and shadow minister for preventing abuse and domestic violence writes in the Huffington Post that warm words are simply not enough. Continue reading

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