Tag Archives: Child to parent violence

That piece in the Sunday Times

Last Sunday there was an article in the Sunday Times, by Megan Agnew, titled “We had to hand our adopted child back – we had no choice.” The article is behind a paywall and I appreciate it may not be accessible to everyone, so I can tell you that it includes material from interviews with a number of adoptive parents, from Adoption UK, Nigel Priestley, Professor Stephen Scott and a spokesperson from the Department for Education. It talks about the changes in the adoption system over the years, about the need for support for families from the very start of the process because of the early experiences of children, and the tragic circumstances of families who no longer feel able to provide safety and security for their children and the rest of their family. Some of the families concerned were able to access support that was helpful, some went on to ask Children’s Services to accommodate their child under s20. In some situations this was seen as a success story; in others the plight of the child and the family became even worse. Essentially the piece is highlighting the need for proper support for adoptive families to enable them to stay safe and stay together; the reality of child to parent violence for many families driven by trauma and mental health difficulties; and the post code lottery of support available. In that sense it is not a new story, but by retelling it there is a hope that one day things might improve.

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National Congress on Child to Parent Violence in Valencia

After a delay of 2 years because of the pandemic, the National Congress finally met in Spain last week, attended by around 200 experts in the field. You can read a report on the gathering in the University of Valencia News, and there were people tweeting throughout the event, for more coverage.

“Within the last 20 years there have been many advances. Even though this still is an invisible problem its gaining visibility, and society is becoming more aware of this type of problem. Now we have intervention programmes specialized in child to parent violence and this is a huge step forward in hepling families and young people. We can also state that now there is an agreement among the professionals that it is a relational problem, that is necessary to work with the families and to involve the parents. It is also important to point out that at the beginning the phenomenon was only considered to be tackled from the judicial sphere and now the focus is on prevention and awareness”, María José Ridaura, vice-president of SEVIFIP and psychologist at Fundación Amigó, said.

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A Response to the Review of Children’s Social Care

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care has been published less than a week, but there have already been many, many responses, analyses and commentaries. Most speak from their own particular interest angle, and that is what I will try to do, though I would like to make some general comments first. 

As a social worker I have thoughts on the whole report and – full disclosure – my first qualified job was within a patch team where we served a small neighbourhood, working to build protective relationships and activate community initiatives, as well as providing direct support and intervention; so I am all in favour of small, locally based teams working together across different disciplines in a way that is defined by the neighbourhood itself, intervening early on before difficulties are entrenched or crisis point is reached. 

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London Mayor welcomes ground breaking report into CAPVA

Over the years there have been a number of studies investigating the issue of child to parent violence within defined geographical regions, sometimes in response to specific incidents (Northumbria for instance) and sometimes commissioned by a particular body (this work in Lancashire for instance). In 2013 Condry and Miles published the first major work in the UK, which took as the main source the Metropolitan Police data over a 1 year period. 

Each of these have shed light on our knowledge and understanding of particular aspects of this issue. However, the London VRU report, “Comprehensive needs assessment of Child/Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse in London”, launched last week and welcomed by the Mayor of London is the first to offer a comprehensive examination of the prevalence and characteristics of child / adolescent to parent violence and abuse (CAPVA*) within the capital, and to scope out the help available for families affected by this form of violence and abuse.

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Opening up the issue of abuse from children over the age 16

Following on from my last post, and in one of those pleasingly serendipitous moments, it was great to hear the announcement this week from Professor Nicola Graham-Kevan and team at UCLancs, who have been researching child to parent domestic abuse from children over the age of 16, in conjunction with the Lancashire Constabulary and Lancashire Violence Reduction Unit, in a Home Office funded project: Understanding Child to Parent Domestic Abuse in Lancashire.

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Some seasonal thoughts

We* are all feeling a little emotional at the moment (covid, Strictly Come Dancing final, new grand daughter, Christmas songs on the radio), so I might be forgiven for maybe shedding a tear when I read the letter from Nikki Rutter to her co-researchers, published in entanglements. Please read it yourself – I won’t try to comment on it.

The last year has seen incredible advances in many ways in people talking about child to parent violence and abuse, in media coverage, in government funding for the development of support, and in the publication of new research. But the months of covid have, we know, also been difficult beyond our imagination for those living with this as part of their daily lives. This knowledge MUST temper our celebrations. And it should also sharpen our determination to listen to your voices, to learn from you and to hear what works, what makes things worse, what brings hope and what makes you angry or despairing. That should be our new year resolution if we make them, and that will be my hope for the next year of writing.

In the meantime, I was going to write something fairly bland and dry about opening hours over the holiday. I’ll just leave you with these links to organisations offering support at this time. Wishing you peace, and hope for 2022.

Capa First Response

PEGS

Family Lives

Young Minds

Samaritans

* Royal we, meaning me, obviously!

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Understanding CAPVA: a rapid literature review

Last week saw the launch of a report commissioned by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s Office and produced by Respect, Understanding CAPVA – a rapid literature review of child and adolescent to parent violence and abuse (CAPVA). I was privileged to co-author the report with Dr Vicky Baker, who recently completed her PhD at UCLan, exploring young people’s accounts of using violence and abuse towards parents.

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Positive feedback

People who know me will probably tell you that I tend to shy away from conflict. Not quite “peace at all costs”, but nearly so. I’m sure it’s something I’ve carried from my childhood and, as I’m more aware of it, I reflect on when it can be a helpful stance to take – or not!

It’s something I hear of a lot, listening to parents who are living with violence and abuse from their children, as they become more and more restricted in the space they have and the lives they live in an attempt not to trigger ‘an incident’. Something that can seem helpful at the time perhaps, but ultimately this is going in only one direction. 

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Child to Parent Abuse Covenant

Time and time again I hear about the impact that child to parent violence and abuse can have on a parent’s ability to maintain employment. Whether in terms of embarrassment about injuries or taking time off sick; or having to be at home to supervise a child excluded from school, many parents have told me about the strain this places on their working life, often leading to a decision (not always voluntary) to leave a job, with all the changes this brings in terms of finances, social contact, and even housing.

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CPV: Challenging (my) assumptions

In early research it was reported (Charles) that child to parent violence (CPV) was an issue more likely to be found in white families, as black or Hispanic parenting practice was considered to offer greater protection through a more rigid and traditional style. And yet, in Britain, we see Afro-Caribbean young people over-represented in the police statistics when the figures are broken down. For many years now, children and young people’s violence and abuse towards their parents has been documented right around the world, whether through research or via media reporting. When I was studying the issue in 2005, I came across stories from Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, Malta, and Nepal. Amanda Holt references work from both north and south America, Europe, Australia, South Africa, Iran, India, and Sri Lanka; and of course we have research too from New Zealand, Japan and Egypt. Simmons et al suggest that this is a phenomenon of industrialised nations wherever they are. But how do we interpret this sort of information, and what conclusions do we draw? What do assertions and data such as these really tell us about what is going on? What assumptions underlie the work we do?

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