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Final paper of report into impact of CPV published

Published: 17.02.17

The final paper of a report into how Child on Parent Violence (CPV) impacts upon parents individually and their respective family unit collectively, has now been published.
Final paper of report into impact of CPV published

The report, which can be read by clicking here, builds on the overview of Thorley and Coates (2017) Child-Parent Violence (CPV): an exploratory exercise which provided a first impressions review of survey data generated at the end of 2016, to open up more extensively discussions around CPV. 

Al Coates (pictured above), co author of the report, released a podcast interview with parent abuse specialist Helen Bonnick, via social media on 7th November 2016, in which they discuss CPV.

Mr Coates, an adoptive father to six children and a social worker, said: "The response was unexpected and opened up a diverse and complex discourse exploring both the issues and the family impact of CPV for families within the UK. This was particularly highlighted for those who were adoptive families."

The response received suggested CPV was an issue that was instrumental in family crisis and family difficulty. As a consequence of this response, Mr Coates constructed a survey in 2016 to generate further discussion and exploration of CPV. The exploratory exercise generated 264 responses in the three-week release period.

Almost all of the parents (98%) who took part in the survey said they had experienced CPV. Those surveyed were made up of 224 adopters, 17 foster carers, 15 birth parents, seven special guardians, five kinship carers and two family members. The average response to the question 'How much impact has CPV had on your family?' (0 = no impact and 5 = very significant impact) was '4'.

To see the responses in black-and-white is heart-rending

Mr Coates, who is the author of the online blog Misadventures of an Adoptive Dad, continued: "The survey was completed predominantly by adopters and as such reflects their experience but it has relevance beyond that.

"I was surprised at the number of responses that highlighted the younger age than is often acknowledged in other studies. I thought it was just our family, or just a coincidence with families that I knew. The survey indicates otherwise for adoptive families. The data raises questions of ethical recruitment and preparation for adopters as they embark on their adoption journeys. 

"The impact of child-on-parent violence is significant, no surprise, but to see the responses in black-and-white is heart-rending."

Mr Coates said that overall, the exploratory exercise did not so much expose new knowledge or concerns, rather it allowed voices of parents to be heard and reinforced studies to date in raising awareness of the impact of CPV, not only on the child but also the parent themselves.

More to unravel

He explained: "This report acknowledges there is a direct and lasting impact not only on the family concerned but also for communities and for society (via employment and health indicators for parents living with CPV). More importantly this report highlights that the impact on parents in five areas that are intrinsically inter-related and as each impact increases individually, the collective impact has long-term implications for all involved."

Another feature was the inconsistency of response and limited effectiveness of support.

Mr Coates continued: "No surprise but sobering to think of families struggling. It's been said before but the survey highlights the need for professional awareness to be raised for all practitioners that are in contact with adopters, foster carer, guardians, kinship carers and guardians."

He added: "There's more to unravel that will hopefully validate the experiences of potentially up to a third of adoptive families and inform practitioners."

Adoption UK was awarded a government grant in 2015 to deliver peer-to-peer support to adoptive families in England who were experiencing CPV. At the end of its first year, the project, which was piloted over four regions (South West, West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside), has already helped 100 families. 

Almost half of all of the families, who received peer support services from us in 2015/16, did so because of significant physical and/or verbal aggression from child to parent.

Adoption UK's chief executive Hugh Thornbery CBE said: "Concerns about child on parent violence have been known to us through the experiences of our members and were starkly evidenced in the research report by the University of Bristol, Beyond the Adoption Order, which found that only 3% of adoptions disrupt but many others were in crisis due to extreme behavioural problems.

"Child-on-parent violence can have a major impact on adoptive parents so we welcome further research into CPV as it not only allows the voice of these parents to be heard but also helps to raise awareness of the impact of CPV."