The recent publication of the paper, Under the Radar: The Widespread use of ‘Out of Court Resolutions’ in Policing Domestic Violence and Abuse in the United Kingdom, by Westmarland, Johnson and McGlynn, once again draws attention to the differences between adult perpetrated DVA and child to parent violence.
While much comment is made about the similarities – in how it feels to parents particularly, the apparent gendered nature, clear links to previous experience of domestic violence within the family, and to the adaptation of the Duluth wheel in many programmes addressing CPV; the active promotion of the use of elements of restorative practice is where the two clearly diverge. (Or so we thought – the report suggests that RP elements are more widespread in adult DV work than expected.)
I have posted about comparisons with IPV and about the use of restorative practice in CPV in the past (here, here and here for instance), and of course the book by Routt and Anderson, Adolescent Violence in the Home: Restorative Approaches to Building Healthy, Respectful Family Relationships, considers the way in which an important element of work with young people is to maintain them within the family if possible. The Step Up project in Seattle was designed specifically as a diversionary measure, and so it is interesting to compare the way we understand and respond to this issue at different points in the lifecycle.
Work with young people is founded on an understanding of their vulnerability, the often past existence of trauma, the plasticity of their thinking at this stage in their life, and the supportive elements of being part of a family unit in terms of changing behaviour and healing relationships. Which for me raises interesting questions about when these issues cease to be pertinent – what age is the cut off? We know that many young people can be helped to change their behaviour and to remain within the family unit; but we also know that some will continue to abuse family members and will go on to be abusive to partners. Are we looking at two completely different issues or does one morph into the other, or is there an overlap?
I welcome comments from those engaged in work in the field.
If you’ve not come across child to parent violence before; if you don’t know anyone affected; it’s easy to misread the signs. Sadly, we have come to accept that adults can experience intimate partner violence. Folk may not all fully understand what is going on and why, but they get that it happens. So when you hear shouting and screaming noises through the wall from the neighbours, or when you see bruises, it would be natural to draw that conclusion.
Bear with me as I wander around thinking out loud here.
I recently attended the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies’ Troubled Families conference, in London.
Over the course of the day a number of eminent academics from across the fields of history, social policy, social work, sociology, economics, criminology and law presented papers on the origins, evaluation and policy context of the Troubled Families Programme. While the focus of the day was on the way that the Tory government had defined and presented a particular problem; and then gone on to provide a solution to it, regardless of evidence in either case, there was inevitably much to ponder in a more general sense, and much specifically relevant to work with child to parent violence. Continue reading
This is an issue that has raised its head a lot recently in connection with child to parent violence, and about which The Open Nest charity has already developed significant resources. This fact finding survey is circulated for all adoptive parents in Britain and closes at the end of February.
The survey is now closed and I have been asked by the organisers to pass on thanks to all who took part: “Many thanks to everyone who supported and/or completed the recent restraint survey examining the experience of adoptive parents. The findings will be published once collated, and I will make contact with those who expressed a willingness to participate in follow up interviews in due course” – Lee Hollins PGCert Health Research, BSc (Hons)
At the end of November 2016, Al Coates, an adoptive parent and social worker, put out on social media a survey asking parents about their experience of child to parent violence. You can read more about it here and here. He received 264 responses over a three week period, largely – unsurprisingly given the main mode of dissemination – from adoptive parents. The collation started straight away and a first paper was put out at the start of the new year. First Impressions is available from the CE< website, part of the University of Sunderland. Dr Wendy Thorley, of the University of Sunderland, is a member of what might broadly be termed the Steering committee for this project, and she has helped to edit the report.
The survey asked questions about a family’s experience of child to parent violence, and about the age at which it started, the impact on the family, and about the help that had been offered – or not. Continue reading
As a new year begins most of us hope for better things to come. The last year was considered by many to have been particularly vicious in an inanimate sort of way. I do believe there is always something to celebrate if you look hard enough; and for those working the field of child to parent violence there has been, within the UK at least, an encouraging interest in training, and a period of consideration of what I have termed nuance – understanding that not all experiences of child to parent violence and abuse will be the same, with a corresponding need for varied responses.
But there have also been personal setbacks for some, with a fear that no one understands their situation. It may have been an unanswered plea for help; or they may have been at the sharp end of an investigation with false allegations made by a child against them. It is right that procedures then roll into action – allegations must be taken seriously, but this should involve a thorough and proper investigation of what has supposedly taken place. Sadly, for one mother in Tennessee, events took a rather different turn, as reported here. Whether out of prejudice, misogyny, or sheer ignorance, is not clear at this stage, but, thankfully for her, her lawyer has supported her all the way and is now calling for a review of procedures in this instance, and in general. The lawyer’s letter follows: Continue reading
Manchester Metropolitan University are offering a PhD scholarship, beginning in September 2017. The project will explore the context and impact of child to parent violence. Its primary focus is how social care conceptualises and responds to child to parent violence, currently an under-researched area, in order to add new perspectives and inform policy and practice.
This timely research will explore the following objectives:
- To review the evidence base for child to parent violence, including where there are gaps.
- To explore the social care policy context for child to parent violence, with a focus upon how it is conceptualised, understood and explained.
- To understand how far child to parent violence is related to other forms of violence and abuse, including whether and how it differs.
- To explore how young people explain violence towards their parents; what led to it happening; the impact upon them and their families and how it was resolved.
- To understand how social care professionals conceptualise the issue and operationalise responses to it. (How they seek to intervene to prevent it, stop it and ameliorate the effects of it on both the child and parent.)
- To identify some of the policy and practice implications of child to parent violence for children’s social care and other key agencies.
Open to applicants from the UK and EU, more details are available here.