A large-scale study of adolescent to parent violence highlighted the hidden plight of many thousands of families across the UK, leading to new policy guidance and improved responses by statutory and voluntary agencies.

Impacts

  • Dr Condry's research prompted the first formal government policy recognition of adolescent to parent violence (APV). Her collaboration with the Home Office and Youth Justice Board led to the 2015 publication of government guidance and advice for professionals working in health, education, social care, housing, policing and youth justice. The guide is now used by a wide range of statutory and voluntary agencies and has been sent to every youth offending team in the country.
  • She increased public awareness of this previously hidden problem through extensive media coverage and two innovative films explaining the findings of the study, viewed over 5,000 times.
  • The policy guidance and research findings are being used to inform the training and practice of thousands of practitioners in youth justice, policing, domestic violence, probation services, the courts, and third sector organisations. For example, her findings were used as evidence in a successful bid for lottery funding to start a new group supporting mothers experiencing violence from their children.
  • The guidance has been used in the training of housing providers nationwide, and as a result the Peabody Trust has begun to identify and record cases of APV to better understand the needs of parents at risk of eviction due to their child's disruptive behaviour.

"Rachel's work is a concrete example of the impact social research can have on the development of effective policy and practice responses. It enabled the Youth Justice Board to support front-line youth justice services who were calling for central guidance to manage the complex issue of child-to-parent violence." (Karl Mittelstadt, Head of Policy and Development, Youth Justice Board)

About the research

Until Dr Rachel Condry's three-year research project highlighted the problem, adolescent-to-parent violence was a hidden form of family violence with mothers in particular suffering in silence. “The issue was poorly understood – there had been no official data collected and there was virtual silence on the topic in the policy realm,” she says.

Involving domestic violence organisations, youth justice services, and the police in the research project from the start, Dr Condry was able to secure a government commitment to explore the development of a policy guide for practitioners when the extent of the problem became clear. Her analysis of data from the Metropolitan police, for example, revealed 1,892 cases of 13 to 19-year-olds committing violence against their own parents in Greater London alone over a 12-month period from 2009-10. This provided the first official evidence of the problem in the UK.

"We found parents living in fear but finding it very difficult to get help from police youth teams or other agencies, because there were no defined approaches for tackling the problem," she says. Working collaboratively with the Youth Justice Board, Home Office, National Police Chief's Council, College of Policing and domestic violence organisations, Dr Condry helped in the co-design of new government guidance to fill that gap.

"We are now in a very different place to six years ago when the project started," she reflects. "Both the evidence base and understanding of the problem are developing and we have real dialogue between practitioners and policymakers on effective responses. Families no longer have to struggle with this problem alone."