The recent publication of the paper, Under the Radar: The Widespread use of ‘Out of Court Resolutions’ in Policing Domestic Violence and Abuse in the United Kingdom, by Westmarland, Johnson and McGlynn, once again draws attention to the differences between adult perpetrated DVA and child to parent violence.
While much comment is made about the similarities – in how it feels to parents particularly, the apparent gendered nature, clear links to previous experience of domestic violence within the family, and to the adaptation of the Duluth wheel in many programmes addressing CPV; the active promotion of the use of elements of restorative practice is where the two clearly diverge. (Or so we thought – the report suggests that RP elements are more widespread in adult DV work than expected.)
I have posted about comparisons with IPV and about the use of restorative practice in CPV in the past (here, here and here for instance), and of course the book by Routt and Anderson, Adolescent Violence in the Home: Restorative Approaches to Building Healthy, Respectful Family Relationships, considers the way in which an important element of work with young people is to maintain them within the family if possible. The Step Up project in Seattle was designed specifically as a diversionary measure, and so it is interesting to compare the way we understand and respond to this issue at different points in the lifecycle.
Work with young people is founded on an understanding of their vulnerability, the often past existence of trauma, the plasticity of their thinking at this stage in their life, and the supportive elements of being part of a family unit in terms of changing behaviour and healing relationships. Which for me raises interesting questions about when these issues cease to be pertinent – what age is the cut off? We know that many young people can be helped to change their behaviour and to remain within the family unit; but we also know that some will continue to abuse family members and will go on to be abusive to partners. Are we looking at two completely different issues or does one morph into the other, or is there an overlap?
I welcome comments from those engaged in work in the field.
In one of those serendipitous ways this topic has cropped up in a lot of separate conversations recently so I thought I’d gather a few thoughts together.
I am indebted to Carole Williams, Parenting Officer in Ipswich and with many years experience as a Who’s in Charge? trainer, for her help in putting this piece together; and also to Cathy Press, Who’s in Charge? trainer, therapist and DA consultant with Awareness Matters, for her input. Although these comments come particularly from experience of working in group situations, many are relevant to one-to-one work also. Continue reading
Please note that the details of the Hull story have been amended since this was first posted.
In my last post I ruminated on the importance of keeping the momentum going, so that the issue of parent abuse does not get forgotten or move out of the public consciousness. The last weeks have certainly seen a number of news articles, training events and publications that have contributed to maintaining a good level of awareness. Continue reading
I am pleased to post the following announcement, sent to me by Greg Routt and Lily Anderson.
Announcing the publication of a new book from Routledge on July 12, 2014 by the creators of Step Up in Seattle, Washington. Adolescent Violence in the Home Restorative Approaches to Building Healthy, Respectful Family Relationships Gregory Routt and Lily Anderson
Adolescent Violence in the Home examines a form of violence that has a profound impact on families but is often overlooked and frequently misunderstood: teen aggression and violence toward members of their family—especially parents. Adolescent Violence in the Home uses a restorative framework, developed by the authors and in use in court systems and organizations around the world, to situate violent behaviors in the context of power and the inter generational cycle of violence. Readers will come away from this book with a profound understanding of the social and individual factors that lead youth to use violence and how adolescent violence affects parents, and they’ll also learn about a variety of interventions that specifically address teen violence against parents. Continue reading
The Youth Justice Convention, hosted over two days in Birmingham, UK, at the end of November, included this year a seminar on children’s violence to parents (CPV). The convention is an annual event – this was the fourteenth – and is an opportunity to debate and discuss the latest youth justice policy developments. All the seminars are archived online and can be accessed here.
The CPV seminar, number 20 in the archive, was chaired by Paula Wilcox, with Martyn Stoner of Break4Change, and Paul Morris and Vicky Hodgson, from Hull Youth Offending Service, where a Step Up project has been piloted. Each gave a presentation of their project with a discussion at the end about differences and similarities. Continue reading
I have just spent an exciting and inspiring morning with representatives of the Youth Offending Service across the East Midlands at their first Regional Practitioners Peer Learning Event in Nottingham. Around 50 – 60 had gathered to learn more about responses to adolescent violence to parents, and – importantly – to formulate action plans for their own areas before they left.
I was privileged to open the session, setting the scene with an overview of parent abuse, before Anne-Marie Harris from the Youth Justice Board spoke about upcoming developments at a national level. The feasibility study on the introduction of special domestic violence courts within the youth court system is not due to report until December, but Anne-Marie indicated that a number of practical and ethical difficulties have been identified around this direction of travel. Nevertheless, opportunities remain for creative thinking around service delivery, including programmes similar to the Step Up model. Continue reading