Five years ago, after many months of creative debate and editing, we launched the Home Office guidance document on Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (APVA). It was part of the government’s commitment through the VAWG strategy, but also fulfilled a need identified at the launch of the findings of the Oxford research project into APVA.
The last five years have seen new developments in understanding, with more awareness of the wider age range affected; with growing appreciation of the difficulties experienced by families with children who are neuro-diverse; with more research into CPV within adoptive families; and sadly the disappearance of some projects and programmes while others have come on line. There is more literature available than before: significantly more research papers, but also a growing library of books. There has been a certain degree of disappointment that the government’s interest has not really developed beyond the publication in that time, but the Domestic Abuse Bill (and accompanying consultation response), which we must hope will make it through eventually, specifically gives a commitment to:
… draw together best practice and develop training and resources to improve the response to victims of adolescent to parent violence.
… promote and embed existing Home Office guidance and general principles in addition to working with experts to develop service-specific guidance.
So, last week a group of us met with members of the Home Office to begin the process of updating and redrafting the guidance. With an amazing amount of both expertise and commitment in the room, we have to remain optimistic about where this will end up! We looked at where positive things have happened, and where there is still significant room for change; what can happen quickly; what the priorities might be; and where we anticipate the blocks. The need was agreed for a document that is both concise and clear, and for specific guidance to be developed further within each sector, with debate around how it is used at present, and how greater engagement with it might be achieved.
The previous document took many months to produce. I have no expectations that this updating will take any less time – and indeed it is right that the review should be thorough. So, don’t expect any news in the near future, but do watch this space!
I would be interested to hear from others what experience they have had in using the current guidance document:
- Was it easy to find? How did you come across it?
- Why did you access it?
- Was it relevant to your situation?
- What changes would you make?