Tag Archives: CPV

CPV Lockdown Reflections #2

As we emerge out of lockdown in Britain, I have been musing about what we’ve learned in this period about the issue of child to parent violence and abuse, and about some possible answers to the kinds of questions we are always being asked: Is it getting worse, why is it getting worse – you know the ones!

Each of us has experienced lockdown in a unique way, according to our circumstances, but there are many commonalities. People have reported poor or troubled sleep, the intensity of living in close quarters with the same people and the “pressure cooker” effect as tensions build; the anguish of not being able to touch or hold people we are close to, not feeling able to comfort people in distress, increased anxiety with loss of control over our situation and lives. Many people have also experienced bereavement, financial difficulties or poverty of resources. Some have seen a huge increase in work and all that brings, while others have been left wondering about their long term employment. There have been concerns about the length of time children are spending on their screens, and about the mental health of both old and young. For some there has been the stress of supporting school work, for others the relief of fewer demands to comply with rules and expectations. There has been a notable rise in reports of domestic abuse during this period, and, alongside greater interest in the media, more people have come forward too to talk about the abuse they experience from their own children.

So, while we wait for the results of the various pieces of research, what can we draw out of this in an admittedly anecdotal way? Here are my tentative proposals:

  1. Loss/lack of control over your environment is extremely stressful
  2. Stress is indeed a factor in children’s abuse of their parents
  3. Increase in stress is likely to make the abuse worse and may be the start of abuse for some families
  4. Different families find different things stressful
  5. Changes in society have impacted on how families relate to each other
  6. The thing about not being able to hold people and be held. This has made me think more about children in school particularly who may use behaviour to “get attention” even to the point of “restraint”

In the past (BC!) I would have offered a vague answer to the question of whether CPV is getting worse – about  not knowing for sure because the data is so thin, and maybe talked about changes in society that have taken place that may offer some insight into different pressures faced by families. Now I believe we are able to offer more definitive answers and commentary.  Looking at the different characteristics, and trigger points, we can start to see how important it is to know the family’s individual circumstances, how there are very many different contributory factors, and how these work together. This is not particularly new understanding, but the new world situation and the new observations have offered confirmation of what many people have long suspected or suggested.

And some other thoughts:

  1.  Not being able to access a face-to-face service has added to stress for some families
  2. Many agencies have found that the move to an online offer went more smoothly than they had feared, but this depends on technological resources and skills.
  3. Some services were already operating online and this has underlined the potential effectiveness of this model
  4. Training opportunities have blossomed as services went online, along with greater access and affordability! Is this the way ahead?

As we embark on the long summer holidays, some parents are already tweeting about their anxieties facing six weeks with everyone at home again and fewer opportunities for activities and holiday clubs to keep everyone amused than in the past. As schools plan for return in September, there remains great uncertainty about what this will look like. Different headteachers have different priorities and philosophies, which will either encourage parents to think that everything will be OK, or drive more people in to exploring home-schooling full time. Will there be a second spike and lockdown? Is this with us for the long haul? What lies ahead? What can we take from this new understanding as we move forward?

We will shortly have the benefit of much COVID-specific research to add to our bag. And we have opportunities now to build on the coverage we have received, and the knowledge we have developed. We must not lose the momentum, but work now for the next stage of understanding, resourcing and provision!

 

 

 

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Lockdown reflections

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything here (though I’ve been busy on other pages) but I thought I would treat you today to some ramblings and reflections. Like many people I am sure, over the last 3 months I have experienced both periods of intense, pressured work to tight deadlines, and days of feeling bereft of direction and purpose. Conferences, training events and report launches have been cancelled, and it is too easy to forget the hours of work and preparation that will have gone in to them by all involved. For some families, lockdown has brought a relief as stresses have been removed, and more harmonious relationships are formed and developed. For others the pressure cooker environment has increased fear and risk. Practitioners have been forced in to new ways of working – at short notice and without always having the kit or the skills – and yet some of those ways have paid dividends as they have learned to communicate with young people electronically – on their own “territory” – for a change. Being in Lockdown has intensified the sense of importance of what we do, but also the despair that things take so long to accomplish. Continue reading

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Updating the APVA Guidance Document

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.

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“Powerful but dangerous”: telling stories about #CPV

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

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CPV, Home to School and Back Again

This is the second in a recent series of guest posts. Nikki Rutter writes about the overlap between violence and abuse from children in education settings, and in the home. Nikki is an ESRC-funded Doctoral Researcher at the department of Sociology at Durham University. Her research interests include: Child-to-parent violence, domestic abuse, violence against women and girls, grounded theory. She is a member of Durham University’s Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA), and Communities and Social Justice Research Group at Durham University. You can contact Nikki on twitter. See more details of her work on the CPV Research Directory.

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Compassion and responsibility

On Monday night the BBC aired Responsible Child, a drama, based on a true story, directed by Nick Holt. The programme had been heavily trailed, and so it is not offering too many spoilers to say that twelve year old Ray, the main character, is involved in the murder of his stepfather, and the story follows his trial in the adult court in the context of his early life. Children’s services and education do not come out of it particularly well. Rather the compassionate responses are those of the legal team and a particular member of staff at the secure unit where Ray finally ends up Continue reading

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CPV Research Directory

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!

 

 

 

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CPV: Everyone knows someone affected (probably)

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

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CPV, starting to count at last!

On August 7th, The BBC published a story on their website – and also covered it on national and local radio – titled Domestic Violence: Child-parent abuse doubles in three years. The BBC piece is clear and succinct, with a straightforward laying out of the statistics, comments from Young Minds and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), a brief case study concerning a parent of an 11 year old girl and the help received from the Getting On Scheme in Doncaster, and a short video highlighting the work of Break4Change in Brighton. The figures were obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the police for the period 2015 – 2018, for records of adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA). Of 44 forces contacted, only 19 collect the data in a way that is able to separate out APVA specifically. Continue reading

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CPV: when it’s too shameful to speak the words …

Joining a growing library of leaflets and booklets designed to help parents understand and obtain help around child to parent violence, is a publication from South Tyneside Adults and Children Safeguarding Boards. Ranging from a simple one page leaflet, to more comprehensive booklets, these publications typically give information to parents and carers to help identify whether they might be experiencing abuse, explanations of why abuse might be taking place as well as steps they can take to minimise it, and local or national contact details. Continue reading

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