Tag Archives: domestic abuse

Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse: HM Government Consultation

The UK Government is consulting on proposed changes to the law on domestic abuse. The consultation runs from March 8th to May 31st, 2018, and you can access the consultation documents, published by the Home Office here. As well as the full version, a shorter document can also be viewed.

The consultation covers the introduction of a new statutory definition, measures to protect and support victims, and to pursue and deter predators, and ways of improving performance and the collection and use data.

Adolescent to parent violence and abuse has been officially recognised as an aspect of domestic abuse, by the government, since 2015 with the publication of the APVA Information Guide. Somewhat disappointingly, there has however been little added to the conversation since then, and so I was pleased to be invited to a recent round table discussion on the proposals. While there are seemingly similarities between intimate partner violence and child to parent, or adolescent to parent, violence and abuse, there are sufficient differences for some to feel uncomfortable about aligning the two. Nevertheless, as is recognised in the consultation document, exposure to domestic abuse as a child can have serious consequences, with 25% of children going on to exhibit abusive behaviours once the abuser has left, and so, at the very least, it is important to look at how preventive work can be developed and improved.

Within the legislation, the new definition would continue to encompass only young people aged 16 or over, but there is a question about whether this is appropriate. Maintaining this age limit is seen as important (within the document) because of the risk of “blurring lines between what is understood as domestic abuse or child abuse and the impact on the delivery of child protection and safeguarding procedures.” (p14)

Some “excellent help” is said to be found within Children’s Social Care, but there is also recognition of inconsistencies in the response. This will come as no surprise to families experiencing violence and abuse from their children. The document discusses the need for agencies to work together better, both in terms of accessing help and in providing proper support, something which is often highlighted as essential in supporting families.

Chapter 3, on pursuing and deterring predators, opened up again for me the fundamental question about whether it is appropriate to think about child and adolescent to parent abuse within this framework. With developing understanding of both the background of children and families, and a focus on restorative, therapeutic responses, this might seem an odd call. Three things to think about:

  • there are many and varied roots and routes to CPV / APVA
  • this only applies to 16 year olds and over
  • there is discussion of out of court disposals

Data collection, as discussed in chapter 4, has long been an issue within CPV / APVA and so the focus on this is welcomed.

If the document is relevant to your personal or work life, then please do take the opportunity to respond – there is no obligation to answer every question. Whichever field is the focus of your attention, there will be additional questions that are relevant, and to which you can bring your expertise. Details of how to access the government response to the consultation, once completed, are included.


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Domestic Abuse: Responding to the #WholeFamily

I was privileged to be asked to speak at the DVCN conference, organised by Standing Together, this Tuesday in London, opening up the issue of child to parent violence to an audience very familiar with the issue itself, but not necessarily aware of the range of circumstances in which children and young people might exhibit abusive behaviour, or the types of help available. It felt particularly apt to be talking about the Mapping Project, when an analysis of the findings so far has shown that domestic abuse agencies are the most likely to be offering support programmes to families. Indeed a number of the conference delegates were from agencies offering specialist work, or from parts of the country where work is already established. This represents quite a movement from a previous focus on adult perpetrators, which had the effect of making the issue of violence from children even more invisible. Continue reading

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A problem the size of Wales

Two eagerly awaited (by me) reports were published last week, coincidentally, both examining the issue of children’s violence to parents as experienced in Wales.

Beyond the Adoption Order (Wales): Discord and disruption in adoptive families, by Professor Julie Selwyn and Dr Sarah Meakings at the University of Bristol, is an important follow up to the report on adoption disruption in England last year. Very similar findings to the England report were found. All cases of disruption included APV,  typically emerging around the age of 13 years. Experiences of support from agencies, family and friends are examined throughout the process. Extensive recommendations are included at the end. Since the time of the report, Wales has established a National Adoption Service. Continue reading

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A brighter future for families experiencing child to parent violence

Continuing a mini series of interviews about different projects around the country, I have been speaking with Sian Taylor at Wish for a Brighter Future in Bristol.

Wish header


Wish for a Brighter Future (WISH) has been in operation since 2003, when a small group of Hartcliffe residents identified a need to provide domestic abuse support in their community. WISH worked for many years supporting men, women and children affected by domestic violence and abuse (DVA) within the local community before developing their parent abuse project. They found their understanding and experience of DVA were vital in making the transition from domestic to parent abuse support. While the original expectation was that the work would be with young people, delivering domestic abuse prevention work through education and group work support – and the funding* supported this plan – once the doors opened the organisation was inundated with referrals for parent abuse, and for the last year this has been the sole focus of the work. Continue reading

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The Fast TRaC programme as a response to parent abuse

I was interested to meet Emily Alison at the recent CAADA conference where she was delivering a seminar on the new Fast TRaC programme she has developed for Trafford YOS, working with young people using violence to parents.

Emily has significant experience both in Britain and in USA in the probation services and in developing work around domestic abuse and violent offending. Her original Healthy Relationships Programme came about to fill a gap in preventative work for young people who had witnessed DA, following a realisation that teens were taking on the abusive behaviour once the perpetrator had left the household. Designed to build resilience and coping mechanisms, and to offer alternative models of thinking and behaviour, there is also the recognition that young people can not always wait until the experience of domestic violence is removed from their lives before receiving support; and that early intervention can help prevent patterns of violence transmitting to the next generation. The Healthy Relationships package has now been running for over 10 years, and the programmes are used by over 40 agencies in the north west of England, particularly within the education sector. Continue reading

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Safeguarding children exposed to domestic abuse

I spent yesterday at the Community Care Live 2014 conference and attended a very interesting presentation from CAADA (Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse): Safeguarding children and young people exposed to and experiencing domestic abuse. Continue reading

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Parent abuse coverage during the international week to end violence against women

BBC Radio Northants provided a comprehensive backdrop to the NADA (Northamptonshire Against Domestic Abuse) Domestic Abuse Conference which took place in Kettering on Wednesday 27th November, during this International End Violence Against Women week. Stuart Linnell used his breakfast show to introduce the issue of parent abuse and to interview parents as well as keynote speakers at the conference. You can listen again here for the next few days. Continue reading

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