Adoption UK believes an opportunity to secure additional support for adoptive families living with child on parent violence (CPV) has been missed as the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill Joint Committee published its report on the bill today (Friday).

AUK’s Chief Executive, Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, said: “I am disappointed to see the Joint Committee pass up this opportunity to tackle the issue of CPV which affects approximately two-thirds of adoptive families. We will continue to work with decision-makers in the hope that this changes once the bill is before parliament.

“We’re talking about trauma-fuelled violence from children who will have witnessed the unthinkable in their early lives.

“Children who have suffered the trauma of abuse or neglect have experienced the world being an unsafe and dangerous place. The child’s violent behaviour reveals extreme distress and a need to feel safe and protected. These children need a particular parenting techniques and access to therapy to overcome early childhood trauma, and they may reject any attempts at parental affection or management of their behaviour.”

Adoption UK is calling for the bill to recognise that:

• CPV is a special subset of violence at home that differs from the traditional perception of domestic abuse and therefore needs to be treated as a distinct category;
• CPV is often the expression of early childhood trauma or of poorly identified and managed neurological differences;
• Unlike partner to partner domestic abuse, with CPV intervention needs to heal and strengthen the parent-child relationship and address the causes of the child’s behaviour, recognising that brain development continues until the child reaches their mid-twenties.

Adoption UK called for greater support for those parenting children displaying violent and aggressive behaviour as well as training for social work professionals working with these families, among other things.

Dr Armstrong Brown added: “We do, however, welcome the Committee’s insistence that child witnesses of domestic abuse be treated as victims.”

You can view Adoption UK’s submission to the inquiry here.