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.
I’m really pleased to let you know that the reports for the Daphne RCPV project are finally completed, and these, along with related resources are now available on their website. These include conference presentations, CPV evaluation framework and tools, self-efficacy questionnaires, toolkits including those for Break4Change and NVR, and the RCPV films: “Defining CPV” and “Project Findings”. The website will be updated twice a year, so do check it out from time to time for new material. Some of these reports are also available in Spanish, Swedish and Bulgarian. Continue reading
The recent conference in Galway, hosted by the National University of Ireland in Galway, was an opportunity to hear about progress on the RCPV project and to meet the participants from around Europe, to learn more about NVR, and to meet practitioners from Ireland in particular who are already engaged in work with families experiencing violence from their children. Continue reading
Mapping support for parents
News at last about the mapping project I have been talking about for ages!
A group of interested people is now meeting regularly to try to get his moving. We aim to produce some sort of directory of all the services across the country supporting families experiencing child to parent violence, by the end of the year. It is not clear at this point what form this will take or who will be able to access it initially, but this is huge progress. Between us we know of a considerable number of projects and services working with parent abuse across the country, but no doubt there are many we are missing. It would be great to make this as comprehensive as possible. If you know of services in your area, or indeed elsewhere, please do email me via the Contact page. Thanks. Continue reading
A couple of years ago I was asked to write something about child to parent violence with reference to adoptive families. For a variety of reasons I wrote something with an entirely different focus, and in retrospect I’m glad I did. I had met and interviewed an adoptive mother as part of my Masters research but, while acknowledging that an adopted child might bring issues from their early life to a new family, I had no real understanding at that time of early trauma and its effect on attachment and behaviour. Continue reading
The Responding to Adolescent to Parent Violence conference in Kent last week was envisaged as a step in the process of developing a multi-agency county-wide strategy in addressing APV, and the organisers, Kent Integrated Youth Service, are to be commended for the thought with which the day-long event was planned.
Participants from the integrated youth service, the police and secure estate, health, education, children’s services, and voluntary organisations were first given a broad sweeping introduction to the topic, before hearing from a range of projects currently engaged in work, and having a chance to make their own contribution. Workshops included listening to a presentation of the work of various groups and then considering how their approach could be adopted or adapted in Kent. Continue reading