Tag Archives: Break4Change

“Sharper focus and more detailed planning” needed for parents experiencing CPV

The need to work remotely during the Covid19 pandemic – and particularly during lockdown – has been challenging for practitioners and families alike. Some have managed to embrace new ways of working, even questioning the assumptions of old methods; others have struggled whether because of the vagaries of technology, skills, specific needs or the particular group of people being supported. Research into ways of working through the pandemic has already revealed much that is good and much that needs improvement, and so I was interested to read the HMIP report into the Covid19 Inspection of Youth Offending Services: A thematic review of the work of youth offending services during the COVID-19 pandemic Nov 2020 

For many years now, youth offending services have strived to deliver services for families experiencing child and adolescent to parent violence (CAPV), supported by the YJB with awareness raising, promotion of training and provision and sharing of resources. Some services have run a discreet programme (RYPP, Break4Change, Who’s in Charge?). Sometimes a bundle of support has been designed in situ. This has been facilitated and supported by regular training and by practitioner meetings.

Right from the start of the report, the issue of CAPV is highlighted as being not new, but having greater significance during the restrictions. While some young people were observed to have used the time to reflect on, and make changes to their behaviour, it was noted that the “majority have struggled to cope with the effects of the restrictions, and this period has exacerbated their often-complex needs. For these children, the pandemic is an additional trauma on top of an already extensive list.” (p4) As we know, for many young people their use of violence is associated with difficulties in regulating their emotions and in responding to stress, so it was not surprising to see a rise in both frequency and severity of abuse during the lockdown period (as reported by Condry and Miles).

While some services – and indeed individual practitioners – had adapted reasonably smoothly to a virtual offer, it was recognised that it is easier to do that with some elements of the work than others. It seemed that there was less confidence about this aspect of the work, and whether practitioners were able to cope either with the increase in CAPV, or with the specific needs to support both the young person and the parent, and to keep everyone safe. 

We were, however, concerned about the experience of parents who were victims of child and adolescent violence. This is an area that needs a sharper focus and more detailed planning for the protection of parental victims. The nature of this abuse and age of the perpetrators means that the arrangements for adults that would normally be part of victim safety planning and multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARAC) don’t all apply. Victims were advised to call the police if they were under threat or being attacked, but there are specific difficulties for parents when the perpetrator is their own child. There is also a potential conflict when the YOT worker is trying to reduce the child’s challenging behaviour and support the victim at the same time. We believe that a new approach is needed to tackle this issue. (p8) 

Attention is drawn in the report to the complexity of delivering this sort of service online, with problems in particular in the ability to monitor risk, and also in the response to it. Creative practice was referenced in a team who had bought a lockable toolbox for a parent to store knives in, and another where the additional capacity was given to the parenting worker, but there was concern about the level of support on offer generally, with an emphasis on parents accessing help when needed, putting them in a potentially conflictual and unsafe position –  and reinforcing the supposition that it is their own responsibility to remain safe (my comment).

Finally there are some comments about the future that are worth noting. CAPV is identified as an area that needs a sharper focus, and more detailed planning in the protection of victims. Recommendations include for the Youth Justice Board to support the development of a specific approach to managing child and adolescent to parent violence that protects the victim during periods of lockdown; and PCCs should “work with partners to understand the levels of child on parent violence in their areas and ensure that help is available to support and protect parents who are victims”. (p10) I can’t complain with a recommendation along these lines!

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A message of hope for 2020, Break4Change in Rochdale

When I sent out an invitation in November for people to write something for me, I never expected to receive such interesting contributions!  I’m thrilled to be able to start a new year with the first of these contributions from Emily Nickson-Williams, who I have been following on twitter after seeing some very positive comments about the work her team were engaged in around child to parent violence. Emily is the lead for the ‘Relationships Revolution’ at Rochdale Council.  She has worked in Children’s Services for the last 17 years and has pioneered a number of initiatives for vulnerable families.  Her work has been described as ‘inspirational’ and her more recent efforts developing work around the relationships agenda, including responses to child to parent violence and abuse, led to her receiving the Innovation Award in 2017. Emily brings us a letter from a parent who has attended one of the Break4Change programmes running as part of this work.

I think that for me this open letter is a message of hope.  Hope for other families who may be too afraid to come forward to speak to someone because of the fear of consequences from Children’s Services and the Police.  The message we would like to give families living in Rochdale is this… Continue reading

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CPV, starting to count at last!

On August 7th, The BBC published a story on their website – and also covered it on national and local radio – titled Domestic Violence: Child-parent abuse doubles in three years. The BBC piece is clear and succinct, with a straightforward laying out of the statistics, comments from Young Minds and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), a brief case study concerning a parent of an 11 year old girl and the help received from the Getting On Scheme in Doncaster, and a short video highlighting the work of Break4Change in Brighton. The figures were obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the police for the period 2015 – 2018, for records of adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA). Of 44 forces contacted, only 19 collect the data in a way that is able to separate out APVA specifically. Continue reading

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CPV Conference Season!

I do love a good coincidence! It seems we are in CPV conference season at the moment, just as the political parties get going on theirs, but more impressively, the themes that are emerging for me resonate from one event to the next.

I attended the Break4Change Annual Network Event in Brighton in September, and one of the key themes of the day was the need for collaboration across services in the delivery of support for families experiencing child to parent violence. Ideally, this was seen as taking place in a multi-disciplinary project, such as B4C Brighton where Children’s Services, the Youth Offending Service, Rise (domestic abuse) and AudioActive (an arts and media charity) not only work together on a day-to-day basis but are all represented on the Steering Group. More particularly to this project, it was considered that it should be embedded in the local authority in order to be delivered effectively. Continue reading

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Child to parent violence and abuse: new thinking and approaches

The field of child to parent violence and abuse is a rapidly changing one, as new learning and understanding emerges to challenge our way of thinking and service delivery. This makes it an exciting field in which to be working – but also requires us to be on the ball with new research and training opportunities. This last year has seen important work from Dr Hannah Bows into parricide and eldercide; and more findings from a survey of parents by Dr Wendy Thorley and Al Coates, including a challenge to the definition currently in use. Have we got it wrong when we draw distinctions between children, young people and adults in the use of violence towards parents? Should we be using different approaches where children have a diagnosis of ASD or ADHD? Is this a different thing all together, or are there huge overlaps within the community of young people using violence and abuse in the home? Should we be representing this with a giant Venn diagram? Continue reading

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Child to parent violence: the voice of the young person

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. Continue reading

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Research round-up

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

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RCPV: The final conference

Brighton last week saw the final conference for the Responding to Child to Parent Violence Project, the second largest funded project from the Daphne111 programme, and one I have grown to feel very close to. It was something I blogged about in my very first post here, and the team have been very gracious in allowing me to ‘hang out’ with them over the last three years. The closing of a project might seem a sad occasion, but it felt more like a celebration, as each of the partner countries (England, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Bulgaria) and programmes presented their achievements and aspirations – and indeed the growth and development of understanding and resources will continue as well as the friendships forged through work together. Continue reading

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Daphne RCPV Conference in Galway

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

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“The family unit is supposed to be a safe place”

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

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