Some reading for you to occupy the next weeks and months!
There is a lot of interest at the moment in developing an improved understanding of, and response to, child to parent violence and abuse from within the police and youth justice services. See for instance the work within the N8 Policing Research Partnership in England, and also from the state of Victoria in Australia. Another important read from Australia is the PIPA project Report, Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent violence in the home. The PIPA project aims to improve evidence regarding:
- legal responses to AVITH as it presents in different justice and service contexts
- the co-occurrence of AVITH with other issues and juvenile offending
- current responses and gaps in service delivery.
This is a post that has been a long time brewing. My thanks to a friend for her contribution in helping me work out the many issues involved. Any errors or lack of clarity in the way this is laid out are down to me.
The experience of violence and abuse from children within adoptive families has been well researched and documented. (See for instance Selwyn et al and the work of Al Coates and Wendy Thorley here and here.) Greater recognition and the provision of the Adoption Support Fund within England have made it slightly easier for parents to access help when needed within the last years, but it remains the case that many families feel let down by services who have misunderstood their requests for help, or their degree of pain, or even the mechanisms by which such violence might have come about. (If you are in any doubt about this, the website of Special Guardians and Adopters Together is a record of the anguish and anger of a group of parents who feel betrayed in this respect by the system.) I can speak personally about the individuals who have contacted me or spoken to me at events. Continue reading
Telling real human stories helps communicate hard, complicated issues to the wider public through the media, but anyone doing so should think carefully about what they are prepared to say and what the consequences might be, writes Karyn McCluskey.
I have written something similar to this in the past, but it always bears repeating … Think carefully before you put yourself and your family forward as a “case study”. Given that I myself put put shouts from time to time for people willing to speak to the press, I grant that this could be construed as hypocritical. I do believe that it is important for people to hear what it is really like to experience child to parent violence, and that without the personal stories it will take much longer for the reality of this tragedy to permeate the general consciousness. I know too that parents have heard another person speak about the help they have received, and it has been the starting point for their own journey back. But I also understand how damaging, and even dangerous, it might be if you say things you later regret, or your child finds out you have mentioned them, or your family is recognised in some way. And that’s before you start reading the comments from people after the piece is published. Some journalists are happy for interviewees to remain anonymous. Others want to use names and faces, but even the former is not without potential difficulties. Continue reading
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
A few weeks ago someone tweeted a photo of a poster in a toilet cubicle advertising domestic abuse services (in this case in Australia), and it reminded me of a plea which had been made at a conference I attended, that we should make it easier for individuals to find out about the help available to them if they are being abused by their children …
Many thanks to all those who have sent me details of the research they are currently or recently engaged in. I have started to rebuild the Research page, which will now include “Research Requests” and also the Directory. You will be able to see who is engaged in research in the field of child to parent violence around Britain particularly, but also further afield. There will be links to contact details, title of the work and more information about the projects themselves, as well as publications. I hope that this will be informative to those thinking of work in this area, and encouraging to the rest of us!
The directory is far from comprehensive as it stands, and there is more work still to do before it is as I want it, but it’s a start. Please do contact me if you would like to be included; and of course if you would like to place a request for participants or information regarding your work.
There has been some interest expressed in the development of a CPV research directory. I find it incredible that only ten years people were finding it difficult to source very much literature around the issue of child to parent violence and abuse, and yet now we have research taking place at different levels, in different disciplines, in many universities across this country and around the world. A number of students have commented that it would be useful to know of other research taking place as they embark on their own studies, whether to deepen the conversation, to share findings and insights or to ‘plug in to’ a wider community.
Over the next months I propose to contact academics and students that I know to start building up a directory which would include:
- Researcher’s name, discipline and university
- Research title
- Papers already published
- Contact details if agreed
I will then start to rebuild the Research page on my website to include this new information. I already know from social media that there is far more work going on than I was aware of, and so if you don’t hear from me but would like to be included in this, please drop me a line via my contact page.
Is this something that sounds useful to you? How would you personally make use of it? Would you like to be included? Do you know of anyone else that you could point this way? Get in touch – I look forward to hearing from you!
I am continually encouraged by the openness and indeed willingness of the BBC and other media to tackle the issue of child to parent violence and abuse. When I am contacted there is a recognition that this is an important emerging topic; and there is an understanding of the prevailing myths and that a more nuanced explanation is called for than simply attributing it to poor parenting. More than this though, I frequently hear “we covered it a while ago and promised were would come back to it later”, and ” we need to raise awareness”. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a colleague about our separate work around child to parent violence (CPV). As we rounded things up, a third person, who had been listening in, asked if they might make a comment. They told of a friend’s difficulties with their child, and commented that they had not thought about it in these terms before. I wasn’t surprised. Almost without fail, when I talk about my interest and work, whether at a conference, a party, to someone I know or a complete stranger, someone will seek me out later – ask for my contact details, request a private conversation, or perhaps share their own experience there and then. Barbara Cottrell first recorded this same experience in her book, When Teens Abuse their Parents. I have heard of similar experiences when a media outlet has covered this or another aspect of family violence. Suddenly there is much to-ing and fro-ing in the corridors, as reporters or other staff find someone safe to disclose their concerns to. Continue reading