We* are all feeling a little emotional at the moment (covid, Strictly Come Dancing final, new grand daughter, Christmas songs on the radio), so I might be forgiven for maybe shedding a tear when I read the letter from Nikki Rutter to her co-researchers, published in entanglements. Please read it yourself – I won’t try to comment on it.
The last year has seen incredible advances in many ways in people talking about child to parent violence and abuse, in media coverage, in government funding for the development of support, and in the publication of new research. But the months of covid have, we know, also been difficult beyond our imagination for those living with this as part of their daily lives. This knowledge MUST temper our celebrations. And it should also sharpen our determination to listen to your voices, to learn from you and to hear what works, what makes things worse, what brings hope and what makes you angry or despairing. That should be our new year resolution if we make them, and that will be my hope for the next year of writing.
In the meantime, I was going to write something fairly bland and dry about opening hours over the holiday. I’ll just leave you with these links to organisations offering support at this time. Wishing you peace, and hope for 2022.
Capa First Response
* Royal we, meaning me, obviously!
I feel very strongly that school-based family workers are ideally placed to offer parents support, where there is child to parent violence (CPV). Let me tell you why.
Writing in the Metro last week, Soaps Editor, Duncan Lindsay revealed an interesting up-coming plot line in the soap, Hollyoaks.
Hollyoaks spoilers: Son and mother domestic abuse storyline revealed for Imran and Misbah Maalik. Duncan Lindsay for Metro.co.uk Wednesday 6 Dec 2017 Continue reading
(Screenshot. See below for link to the interview).
This week saw huge progress in the drive to make child to parent violence less of a hidden problem, with a headline story on Monday’s Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC2, presented by Joanna Gosling.
A film, produced by West Midlands journalist Noel Phillips, led the story, and there was studio discussion from me, alongside Ann Ramsden of the Rosalie Ryrie Foundation and Seamus Oates, Executive Head Teacher of TBAP, representing the Youth Justice Board. The Family Lives helpline was offered for anyone seeking more support or information, and Anastasia de Waal chair of Family Lives answered questions throughout the day on local radio stations also picking up the story. If you listen to local radio you may also have heard stories from other families experiencing violence, and local practitioners discussing their work.
The film features interviews with a mother whose son was eventually removed from the home following violence to her, two young lads speaking candidly about past violence and abuse towards their mother, interviews with Cherryl Henry-Leach, leader of the Doncaster programme – Getting On, and Peter Jakob of Partnership Projects.
I have been asked about the figure of 4 million families being affected, offered by Noel Phillips early on in the film. This comes from the 2012 4Children report, The Enemy Within, based on a YouGov survey, which asked families about their experience of conflict and violence.
We are all very excited to have been involved in this, and look forward to further development of these stories being taken up in the same way in the future.
As the Coronation Street story line featuring Simon’s abuse of his step-mum Leanne Battersby rolls on, Radio York featured child to parent abuse in the “Georgey Spanswick at Breakfast” show last week. For those not following the soap, there has been considerable exploration over the last months of the difficulties in the relationship, and things came to a head after an argument over the washing up when Leanne was knocked unconscious.
With three segments, (at 00.13, 01.08 and 02.07) Georgey, and reporter Sarah Irwin, interview “Kitty”, a parent who has experienced violence from her young son, and Sarah Hill, Director of York IDAS; Sandra Hiller of Family Lives; and Angela Whitlock, Parent Coach in Ripon. Continue reading
People have been much exercised over recent weeks by an apparent huge rise in the number of younger and younger children being involved in serious crime; and bundled in with this is the issue of these children’s violence and abuse towards their parents. Both the Daily Mail and Telegraph published items around this theme, and I saw the same story covered by the website Dad info.
What are we to make of this?
First, we must be cautious about the meaning we ascribe to crime statistics, as to any data. Crime figures have always been affected by reporting behaviour (of both victims and police), societal attitudes (some would like to attribute it to parents giving up their parenting responsibilities to the state), by targeted programmes, categorisation, and also – certainly in the past – by the practice of “manipulation”. The figures, too, come on the back of reported “very large reductions in serious youth violence” in the previous year, reported also by the Youth Justice Board, in January of this year; though there may be some localised variations in this. Scepticism is important, but we need to also acknowledge real changes society, such as an increase in the use of children by gang members seeking to evade the law themselves, or to the impact of different exclusion policies adopted as the picture of school governance changes across the country, which may act to drive up figures of real crime. Continue reading
I have recently been sent links to new and additional published articles in the field of adolescent to parent abuse; and have updated the Reading List page accordingly.
A paper by Caroline Miles and Rachel Condry, Adolescent to parent violence: the police response to parents reporting violence from their children, further develops the discussion arising from the findings of their three-year research project. This paper specifically examines police responses and suggests a way forward that offers support and restorative action for families. (Abstract here.)
Declan Coogan has a paper entitled Responding to Child-to-Parent Violence: Innovative Practices in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, in the Health and Social Work Journal, Special Issue: Child and Adolescent Health. (Abstract here) He considers obstacles in the recognition of, and response to, child to parent violence, and proposes the Non Violent Resistance Programme as a positive way forward.
Sally Donovan’s second book about the experiences of adoptive parenting, The Unofficial Guide, offers a further raw and powerful account of living with children traumatised by earlier life. She offers practical steps and guidance for parents, but the book is well worth reading for anyone involved in the adoption or CPV field.
I’ve also tidied up the links to the Family Lives / Parentline reports as I have been told they have been difficult to find on the website. Hopefully that is now improved.
Please do let me know about any other books or articles to add to the list. It is not exhaustive by any means, and certainly does not include early work, which I should get round to adding at some point!
In the meantime, Happy Reading!
Following on from the fantastic UK media coverage of parent abuse in the second half of last year, the radio features and interviews have continued through January.
This week both Eddie Nestor, on his BBC Radio London Drive Time programme (01.21.50 – 01.26.26), and BBC Radio Oxford’s Phil Gayle with the Breakfast show (01.40.18 – 01.44.48) have brought children’s violence to parents to the attention of listeners. Continue reading
Great to see a piece in Woman’s Own magazine (April 8th 2013) covering parent abuse. Media interest flourished in the wake of the announcement of the grant awarded to the University of Brighton to study child to parent violence, and this is one of the results. The piece includes two case studies, the finding from the Metropolitan police area that reports of child to parent attacks account for three percent of all domestic violence cases, and detail from PAARS, who found that more than half of the abusive youngsters they worked with were boys and aged 13 – 15. Jeremy Todd of Family Lives also adds some comment about possible reasons for the violence, and advice to parents about what to do when an argument breaks out; and there is a link to this website. It’s good to hear that the violence has now ended for the two families featured.
Parentchannel.tv presents a series of videos discussing parenting issues. You can search by age or by topic and they include tips and advice on a whole raft of topics dealing with normal behaviour and expectations, through all the possible questions you can think of, and also importantly – from our point of view – aggression in the home. This five minute video, produced by Family Lives, is presented by Kate Iwi, of Respect, and looks “into the factors that can cause a teen to become threatening in the home and the signs that things are going too far, with tips on how to take control of the situation” Continue reading