Child to Parent Violence and Abuse (CPVA) is a much misunderstood problem that affects the lives of millions of families around the world, possibly as many as one in ten. Despite this, and the lasting physical and psychological damage CPVA can cause, it is an underreported issue, and one that presents serious challenges to practitioners and support services – not least because it inverts our normal understanding of abuse within the family. With this book Helen Bonnick shares the knowledge that she has built up over many years specialising in CPVA as a social worker, practice educator and researcher. She brings this complex issue out of the shadows and provides much needed guidance to practitioners.
Following an introductory chapter, setting the scene and discussing definitions and language, the book is divided into five sections, which develop an understanding of the main issues before moving on to a more structured approach to work in supporting families. ‘Five impossible things to believe’ sets out five core issues in understanding an issue that many people still find hard to accept, setting the scene for future discussions. The second section, ‘Four traps to avoid’, addresses myths and stereotypes, looking at beliefs and assumptions that can impact on the delivery of a service. The third section, ‘Three aspects of work with families’ looks specifically at assessment and models of intervention, after some important consideration of the power issues at play. This is followed by a section on the difficulties emerging from our tendency to think in binary ways: ‘Two conflicting paradigms’; and lastly, ‘One thing that everyone can do’. The book closes with a final chapter for those interested in taking their learning further.
Throughout, the easily digestible chapters are illustrated with real-life anecdotes and testimony from families who have faced CPVA. Above all, this is a book which brings the families’ lives to the fore, and documents what they say helps, what hinders, and what they want to celebrate or protest. Each chapter includes a section called ‘What you can do’, which may have questions to reflect on, or suggestions of action to continue the work of bringing greater attention and increased resources to this crucial field of family support.