Tag Archives: Nicole Westmarland

How can I be sure? Developing a standard for work with families experiencing child to parent violence and abuse

  • How do I choose between different training and trainers?
  • Can I be sure this service will really help my family?
  • What would make me choose to commission one programme rather than another?

All questions I have been asked over the years – some more recently than others – and all very valid!

How do you decide between different providers, now that the number of agencies offering training and provision around child to parent violence and abuse is growing at pace, and with so many programmes being designed from scratch? With so much offered online now, there is no longer the easy decision about travel time, though budget-size might still feature as a legitimate concern. And there remains limited research citing clear evidence of the long term effectiveness of different approaches.

Parents will be offering each other tips and guidance of course, but that relies on being part of an existing network, which is certainly not the case for all families. Up to now my website has offered listings of providers, and some notes on the philosophy behind different approaches, but I still give a disclaimer that I cannot guarantee the services offered. Is it time to resurrect the work on standards and accreditation which a group of us began back in 2015 and which I reported on at the time? Reading back, I see that the concerns have remained remarkably similar over that period!

The working group was chaired by members of Respect, who are well known for their work developing a Standard for work with adult perpetrators (and more recently with male victims). “The Respect Standard is a quality assurance framework for safe, effective, and survivor- focused work with perpetrators of domestic abuse.” This Standard has been reviewed by Nicole Westmarland and Zuzana Zilkova of CriVA at Durham University, and you can read the full report, published last week, here. Comments pointed to the importance of being assured that work was safe and effective, whether from the user or provider point of view, with stand-out words such as confidence, consistency and rigorous underlining the value of such a measure .

Work with families living with violence and abuse from children and young people surely deserves the same oversight and guarantees. It is important that all involved, whether as family members, as practitioners or in funding the provision of services, can be sure that what is on offer will go some way to mending relationships and not to causing further risk and harm.

If you are interested in developing such a standard, you are welcome to contact me to discuss it further.

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Keeping safe: #CPV and lockdown.

Around the world, families are discovering just how stressful it can be to live in close quarters 24 hours a day, with no end in sight. Sharp words, spoken in haste, throw fuel on to anxiety, anger and frustration, often with no other room to separate people off. And there is only so much screen-time you can allow! Most families will hopefully come through this relatively unscathed; changed perhaps but still ok, still safe. But there has rightly been a lot of concern by government – and in the media – about supporting and monitoring the most vulnerable children now that schools are closed, those for whom school is their safe space or where they get their main meal of the day. There’s been lots of encouraging noise for parents about not having to recreate school, but to focus at this time on keeping kids feeling safe and secure, since these are things that are needed before any learning can take place. But what about the parents whose anxiety is about having the children at home for the next foreseeable because THEY don’t feel safe? What about the families experiencing child to parent violence, now quarantined or social distancing WITH their child? What advice and support do they need? The things we suggest for other families feeling tired and emotional start to sound rather trite and patronising. Continue reading

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