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Adolescent to Parent Violence. Oxford Conference 23rd September 2013.

On the 23rd September 2013 Rachel Condry and Caroline Miles presented their findings from a three year research project. The ESRC funded research is the first large scale investigation into adolescent to parent violence conducted in the UK.

The findings were based on the analysis of 1892 cases reported to the Metroploitan Police in 2009-2010. There were also extensive interviews with parents, adolescents, Police, Youth Justice Workers, and practitioners from outside the criminal justice system.

The report highlights the difficulty in responding to this form of abuse:

  • the lack of figures available due to not having parent abuse recorded on the police database
  • not having a recognised national definition of what constitutes parent abuse
  • lack of specialist services who can respond to parent abuse leaving many parents with nowhere to turn
    • The research has had a big impact in raising awareness of this issue in the media. There have been many articles and broadcasts on parent abuse in the last two months. At PAARS we fear that this issue will soon be lost as it is no longer flavour of the month. The majority of the media seem to want to focus on the physical violence parents are subjected to. In our experience the verbal,psychological and emotional abuse is just as damaging if not more so. The figures are just a small sample of the size of this issue, the figures focused on physical assaults and criminal damage. We know from experience that many parents do not call the police for fear of criminalising their children. When a parent does take this drastic step it would be after suffering from many more incidents that go unreported.

      At PAARS we believe that to provide support to families we need several things to happen:

      • we need a working definition of parent abuse.
      • work needs to be done with the whole family and information shared with all agencies involved
      • statutory agencies trained in recognising and dealing with parent abuse
      • a multi-agency approach to the problem along similar lines to Domestic Violence

        • referrals sent to a panel where the best support can be decided on.
          • parents to feel less stigma and shame by raising awareness of this issue so they feel less isolated
          • a police response whereby the young person is not criminalised but are made to take part in an intervention to reduce the abuse
          • the work with families needs to tackle the factors that led to the abuse this may mean help with education, employment skills, involvement in positive activities, budget planning. If these factors are not addressed the abuse is likely to return.
          • when a family have left an abusive relationship work needs to be ongoing for the children who have witnessed the abuse in the home. A very high proportion of our child clients have witnessed previous domestic violence and there is a risk that this cycle of abuse will continue if not dealt with.

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