I am very aware when writing and collating material for training purposes, that while we have significant contributions from parents affected by abuse and violence from their children, there is much less attention given to the voices of the young people concerned.
We are not without this completely. Interventions such as Break4Change specifically video young people as part of the programme, using their voices as part of a conversation with parents. Some of this material has been available in training and research reports. Television shows, such as My Violent Child, have at times included direct interviewing of the young person concerned. Books such as Anger is my Friend mediate the teenage voice though years of practice experience. Research reports may include testimony from young people, though often it will be as reported or interpreted by their parent. But Barbara Cottrell is unusual in devoting a whole chapter to the actual teenage voice in her book: When Teens Abuse Their Parents.
I was interested then to read today the recent findings of some research looking at the way professionals gate-keep young people taking part in research. Blogging on the NSPCC website, Dr. Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, Dr. Elly Hanson and Pat Branigan discuss the challenges presented by professional gatekeeping – and how to overcome them, to ensure even vulnerable young people are heard.
Certainly all the issues identified in this paper pertain to work with children using violence themselves, but is it true also to say that in the case of child to parent violence there are other issues that make it more difficult than normal? Naturally we need to be aware of the possibility of escalation or of creating further difficulties for the family when we have finished; and parents may be justifiably cautious about allowing researchers to meet with young people because of specific diagnoses that would make interaction with strangers problematic. I do believe though that in many cases there are ways of getting round these difficulties with creativity and sensitivity – as well as good ethics and professionalism. If we are to completely understand the issues affecting children; and to find the most appropriate ways of working to bring about change, we cannot neglect such an important part of the family system.
Please allow me a moment of self-indulgence as I celebrate 5 years of this website, Holes in the Wall, ‘born’ in May 2011 out of a desire to make a contribution to the understanding of children’s violence to parents, known sometimes as parent abuse. As a present to myself I have ordered shiny new postcards to leave with people at conferences and events, explaining how ‘Holes’ came about and how you can be part of the community!
With many papers and now two books to her name, Amanda Holt is a leading voice in the field of adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA), not just in the UK, but also around the world. APVA is a small but developing field, where networking provides a key method of information exchange, and it was through discussions with other academics and practitioners that the idea for this book was born. Working with Adolescent Violence and Abuse Towards Parents: Approaches and contexts for intervention explores both the different theoretical bases and approaches to the work, and the very different contexts in which it takes place. Continue reading
Over the last few months I have been conscious that this blog has focused very much on events in the UK, with some coverage of Australia and the US and little from elsewhere. But I am also aware that the readership spreads right across the world; and so I would like to try to bring some broader content to “balance” things out a little. I know that there is important work going on in many other countries, from reading bibliographies and from following news and events, through colleagues attending international conferences as well as from a google alert.
In this post I want to bring together some information regarding work on child to parent violence (CPV) in Spain. I would value any comments or contributions on this to further expand my knowledge. Similarly, I hope that practitioners and researchers from around the world will take the time to let us know what is going on where they are. We can all be encouraged in hearing of the progress and developments of others. Continue reading
An excellent training day in Bournemouth on Tuesday, attended by around 70 practitioners from around the Bournemouth and Poole area. Eddie Gallagher presented findings from his extensive research into child to parent violence (CPV). Lots of thought about the issue of parent blaming and specific reference to his Who’s in Charge Groups, a programme that he has developed in Melbourne, Australia. The group for parents runs for 8 weeks, with a ninth follow-up session, and aims to bring about a decrease in CPV, and improvement in family relationships, as parents start to become more assertive. Eddie also counsels both parents and teens as individuals – and occasionally together if they agree! Continue reading