I was interested to read this paper from the Chief Social Workers for England, when it was published at the end of February. A spectrum of opportunity: an exploratory study of social work with autistic young people and their families looks at three things:
- how responsive social workers were to the needs of young adults and their families
- what barriers there were to enable more effective interventions
- how things could be done differently to improve outcomes
I won’t go in to detail about the main body of the report – it is straightforward and easy to read, so I recommend it to you. It talks about what works well and what needs to be done better. Unsurprisingly, it points to the importance of the development of specialist knowledge in social workers, joined up work across agencies, and earlier intervention and proactive support to provide help before things go wrong; with the centrality of long-term trusting relationships between families and workers. Sadly, there is mention once again of parents’ fears of being labelled as ‘bad’ or ‘failing parents’.
Welcome to 2021 as we in Britain face the prospect this week of further restrictions, even as the COVID vaccine becomes available! This time last year many of us would have been very sceptical about delivering services online, or even working from home, yet here we are – struggling with some aspects admittedly, but wondering whether some things work better in fact, and vowing to keep them on in future; and so I bring you the third part in a series looking at issues around taking services for families experiencing CPVA online. The last few months have seen the publication of numerous reports into life and service effectiveness under the pandemic, and I am particularly conscious of recent research highlighting the problem of parent participation in work with children’s services around child protection. While different circumstances pertain to work with families experiencing violence from their own children, this has also highlighted issues of power in the relationship with those who use our services, which we do well to remember and attend to in all our plans and delivery.
Back in July and August I spoke with a team delivering the Who’s in Charge? Programme online, and with a parent, and remained keen to examine the impact of the changes for those working directly with young people causing harm in the home. This was reinforced for me by the recent HMIP report, highlighting the need for changes in the delivery of support to families experiencing child and adolescent to parent violence, so it was good to be able to speak to a practitioner using the Respect Young People’s Programme (RYPP) for IDAS in Yorkshire. Continue reading
The need to work remotely during the Covid19 pandemic – and particularly during lockdown – has been challenging for practitioners and families alike. Some have managed to embrace new ways of working, even questioning the assumptions of old methods; others have struggled whether because of the vagaries of technology, skills, specific needs or the particular group of people being supported. Research into ways of working through the pandemic has already revealed much that is good and much that needs improvement, and so I was interested to read the HMIP report into the Covid19 Inspection of Youth Offending Services: A thematic review of the work of youth offending services during the COVID-19 pandemic Nov 2020 Continue reading
I am pleased to bring you this post from Neil Blacklock, Development Director at Respect, who has been following recent developments in Northumbria.
In November 2015, in Northumbria a mother was murdered by her 16-year son. The resulting Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) reported that safeguarding structures designed to identify and protect victims of domestic abuse were not attuned to pick up and respond to Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (APVA) and that agencies had not fully understood the risk that her son posed. Continue reading
The 10th Respect National Practitioners Seminar took place in London last week.
In the morning we were treated to an excellent presentation from Carlene Firmin on her research into peer on peer abuse. Unlike the other presentations, Carlene’s will not be available on the Respect website as the research is still ongoing, but much of her work can be found on her own website, MsUnderstood. There were many points at which she could have been talking about child to parent violence – so many cross overs. I will have to give this some more thought, but to be going on with:
- Peer on peer abuse straddles many different concepts and fields and so remains hidden.
- The importance and power of friendship groups as young people move into adolescence.
- The offer of parenting programmes because that is what is available rather than making a proper assessment of need.
- The problems that arise when violence becomes normalised.
- Limitations to changing individuals without wider social change.
- Issues around child protection and safeguarding.
The overall tone was optimistic however. As we learn more we have more opportunities to intervene earlier. Continue reading
The Respect Young People’s Programme (RYPP) has been running for just over a year now, and so it seemed like a good time to catch up with the director of the programme to hear how it’s been going. RYPP is an intervention for 10-16 year olds and their parents where the young person has used violence or aggressive behaviour towards a parent. Many thanks to Neil Blacklock of Respect, who has written this End of Year Report, with especial attention to lessons learnt. I was particularly interested to read about the management and organisational lessons, as this is an area which we do not address so often. Continue reading
Returning to the topic of themes that emerged from the recent conference on domestic violence by children against parents, in Nottingham, I’d like to look at 2 more ideas that caught my attention.
Launching the conference, Jo Sharpen, from AVA, described it as very timely, and indeed, throughout the day, speakers referred to a series of events that support our focus on the issue of child to parent violence at this time. The changed definition of domestic violence in England and Wales (with the publication of the Home Office Guidance to which AVA contributed), was highlighted and declared helpful in recognising that under 18s could be abusive, though bringing parent abuse within the domestic violence umbrella was also considered problematic, because of the important differences between CPV and IPV and the potential criminalisation of young people (see my earlier post for more details). March also saw the publication of the UK Government Action Plan: A call to end violence against women and girls, and the launch of the EVAWGUK policy. Though parent abuse is sadly still not specifically mentioned, it does offer opportunities to discuss the issue more widely. Continue reading