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.
Over the last weeks I have been involved in a number of long conversations with people about the harsh realities of living with a violent child, and their sometimes exhausting journeys to finding help and advice. This is truly one of those things that people struggle to understand unless they have been personally touched – it is such an alien notion and no-one can really understand the violence and rage a child can show until they have witnessed it first hand.
Over the years, research around the world has started to uncover the extent of the problem, to speculate on causes, characteristics, correlations …. but all (as far as I am aware) has come from academics and professionals in the field. Now a parent experiencing violence within their own family is seeking to promote understanding of the issue, initially by surveying parents in a similar position and then using the data gained to commission further research and services. Al is an adoptive parent but wants to open this out to all families experiencing violence and abuse, whatever their situation, and to include grandparents and other carers too. You can read the rationale for the survey here, or go straight to the survey here. This is aimed at families living within England and Wales in the first instance.
There is of course some guidance for professionals already published, specifically the Home Office Information guide on adolescent violence and abuse, which forms part of the VAWG strategy; and amongst the small number of books available there is also discussion of different approaches. Nevertheless, while some professionals are now very much on board and fully supportive of families, there are sadly too many still unaware of the degree of violence experienced, the impact on family life and the harm caused to both parents and child without proper support.
Please do support this new venture by completing the survey yourself if appropriate, or by passing it on to others you know. Thank you.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED
Watch the video «A Home For Maisie» uploaded by wynharlow on Dailymotion.
I know I’ve banged on about adoption for quite a lot of the time recently, and I need to be reminded that there are so many other families also experiencing violence and abuse from their children. And I also know that each family is unique, even when apparently following a similar path. There is no violence and abuse competition. For each family at the time the violence and abuse is too awful and it is a struggle to get through it.
Having said all of that, I do want to bring this video to your attention because it is so informative about the effect of early trauma, and the way that violence plays out, affecting so many people in its wake. It is long, but be prepared to watch all of it for the joy at the end!
I was privileged last week to have a conversation about child to parent violence (CPV) with Al Coates, adoptive parent, social worker and adoption expert, as part of his series of podcasts on the website Misadventures of an Adoptive Dad. Al has kindly allowed me to reblog the podcast here, but please do go over to his website and check out the other posts and interviews. The full version of his post can be found here. Al gives a thoughtful, informed and sometimes rawly honest account of fostering from both sides of the fence.
CPV is a big issue for many adopters (see the report : Beyond the Adoption Order), and it has been interesting to watch over the last couple of years as parents have gradually felt more at ease in discussing their experiences on line. It is important that these conversations continue in order to support one another, but crucially also so that other people hear the extent of the struggle, fear, anguish and exhaustion; and start to develop proper resources.
What happens when it is no longer safe for a child to remain at home? Sometimes children go to live with another family member, perhaps an absent parent, or a grandparent, aunt or uncle. I have heard of a young man going to live at his girlfriend’s parents’ house. These sorts of arrangements can work well, particularly if the violence and abuse is very specifically directed to only one person. But if it is more general, then the chances are it will re-emerge in the new home and this arrangement will also break down. Some young people may find themselves admitted to hospital where their risky behaviour is considered to be caused by mental ill health. Some may end up in youth custody as the result of a very serious assault. Others, perhaps the majority, will be taken in to the care of the local authority, whether as a voluntary agreement or on a care order, as “beyond parental control”. (Where you end up then seems sadly to be something of a lottery and must be the subject of future posts.) Continue reading
Filed under Discussion, Law