Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Doncaster's teenager to parent abuse service 'a success'

A woman with her head in her hands Image copyright PA
Image caption Research suggests abused parents are reluctant to seek help, and fear the consequences for their child if reported

A project aiming to tackle violence suffered by parents at the hands of their children has been hailed a success in Doncaster.

Cherryl Henry-Leach from Doncaster Children's Services Trust, which runs Getting On, said it was one of the only programmes of its kind in the UK.

Families work with police, the health service, voluntary sector and council to avoid violence at home.

Ms Henry-Leach said parents were often reluctant to get help.

"They feel shame and stigma attached to being a victim of domestic abuse, while also fearing the consequences for their child if reported," she said.

The programme seeks to stop children moving from one abusive relationship to another, using a "whole-family approach" unique to Doncaster to build families' self-esteem and resilience, Ms Henry-Leach said.

Violence between parents

Many teenagers on the programme have lived with domestic violence between parents so the project attempts to "de-normalise" abuse and help them move on to healthier relationships.

Mother and son, Anne and Luke (not their real names) from Doncaster, said the techniques derived from University of Oxford research taught them how to listen.

"There was a lot of swearing and abusive behaviour before," Anne said. "Luke never actually hit me, but he'd go to hit me, or push me which could be frightening.

"I can now sit down and talk to my son without us shouting at each other. We can actually have a conversation without being abusive.

Luke agreed that they have a "healthier relationship."

Five Doncaster families have now completed the nine week programme, which is funded by £3.1m from the Department for Education's Innovation Fund.

A further six families are still on the programme.

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