The issue of child parent abuse was highlighted in SEN 115 as something that was often overlooked in the education sector. Now, employer support for parents being abused by their children is set to be stepped up thanks to the launch of a national covenant.
PEGS – an organisation set up to support families impacted by Child to Parent Abuse – has partnered with the Department for Work and Pensions to create the CPA Covenant, in a bid to ensure organisations were able to effectively support both staff and service users.
PEGS’ Founding Director Michelle John explained the main aim was to ensure employers included CPA in their policies and practices around domestic abuse, as well as bringing the often-hidden issue to the attention of more organisations across the UK.
“We wanted to ensure managers and HR teams were supported to learn more about CPA, discover how it could be impacting their service users and own staff, and implement effective policies and practices which are going to truly support those affected by this issue,” she added.
The term Child to Parent Abuse covers a range of abusive and violent behaviours displayed by a child of any age (including adult offspring) towards their parent, carer or guardian. Often other family members such as siblings are impacted too, and experts believe between 3% and 10% of UK households could be affected.
CPA includes physical, financial, verbal and even sexual abuse – and often has a profound impact not only upon family life, but also the parent’s relationships, physical health, mental health and employment.
Among PEGS parents, in excess of 40% have been forced to reduce their hours or leave work altogether as a direct result of the abuse.
Michelle added: “Staff members may not feel comfortable disclosing to their employer that they are being abused by their child, especially if there’s no support structure in place. In many cases, their manager may not have even heard of CPA, and it’s even less likely that they have existing CPA-focused policies and practices.
“We’ve been training organisations such as local authorities, police forces and charities for the past 18 months so we know it’s something that managers are willing to learn more about once they realise the significance. After most sessions I lead, at least one of the professionals being trained discloses that they have been impacted by CPA, which is why it’s important that organisations look to support their own staff as well as service users.
“There are so many ways organisations can assist – such as implementing different working patterns or enabling their employees to access support services during their working day; but most of all, parents experiencing CPA simply want to be listened to and believed. A supportive atmosphere where they feel comfortable to disclose their situation makes all the difference.”
Organisations signing up to the Covenant will be able to access a free exclusive one-hour webinar with Michelle, which will cover the basics of CPA and ideas of how they can begin to implement CPA policies and practices – as well as a wealth of information and resources to help them do so.
Tony Hyland, Senior National Account Manager for the DWP, said: “The DWP is delighted to support in the promotion of the CPAC which, building on our work in establishing the Care Leaver Covenant (CLC) and the Employers Domestic Abuse Covenant (EDAC), will not only provide affected parents with practical assistance – but will also engage our National Employers and Partners in highlighting this issue and signing up to the Covenant itself, thereby working with PEGS on an ongoing basis.”
PEGS is a not-for-profit organisation which focuses on supporting parents, carers and guardians through drop-in sessions, advocacy, one-to-one tailored assistance, a range of parental programmes and a peer support group. Parents receive free support regardless of the age of their child.
The organisation also trains professionals on recognising the signs, responding appropriately, and signposting effectively. In addition, Michelle and her team raise awareness through speaking at events across the UK, and have already been responsible for influencing regional and national policy – including advising on the statutory framework guidance documents for the new Domestic Abuse Bill.
To sign up to the CPAC, simply visit pegsupport.co.uk/CPAC