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European Domestic Violence Conference 2017 -DVIP representation

There are regular opportunities to apply to present a paper or workshop at national and international conferences on domestic violence or child protection, and it is good to hear from people who have taken up the gauntlet and travelled afar to take part in wider opportunities to learn and share good practice. Recently a team from DVIP travelled to Portugal, and I am pleased to post this review of the conference by Maria Duah, one of the presenters from the DVIP team, who works as a trainer with Silenced. Some interesting thoughts here about the way the issue of child to parent violence is conceptualised in different countries, and the corresponding differing responses. My work at the Domestic Violence Intervention Project takes me all over London – sometimes outside of London! On this occasion there were no complaints from myself or my colleague Nathan, we were more than happy to travel to Portugal to deliver a workshop on Child to Parent Violence at the European conference II on domestic violence . It was a 3 day event held at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences of the University of Porto (FPCEUP), Portugal. The Conference was a collaboration between FPCEUP, UMAR – Women’s Association Alternative & Response and APAV – Portuguese Association for Victims Support, and is held bi-annually.

In the morning I attended a workshop hosted by Advocacy after fatal domestic abuse and the Ministry of Internal affairs (Portugal) on domestic homicide reviews, looking at UK practice & Portuguese practice. It was a very interesting workshop hearing and learning how different countries have, and are, continuing to develop legislation around domestic violence homicide reviews. There were quite a few people from Ireland in the workshop and they expressed their concern about Ireland’s process of handling domestic violence cases and that many of the perpetrators are painted in a good light in the media …’he attended church regularly’, but not commenting on the true crime and the victim (there wasn’t enough time to debate domestic violence and Catholicism which is a whole topic/workshop in itself – which I would have attended)

DVIP’s workshop was in the afternoon and our group consisted of workers from Iceland (mainly social workers and one police officer) and Norway (alternative to violence project). Whilst speaking with the group from Iceland they explained that any incident concerning a child is referred to child protection, so if it is ‘child to parent violence’ it is seen as a form of self harm. What came out of the workshop was the different ways in which countries view ‘child to parent violence’ and how the young person is seen perhaps as more of a victim opposed to someone who is a victim that also uses abusive behaviours and/or violence; also the support that is available for parents, families, carer’s and young people varies as does the approach and agencies available to support them. The conference also offers the opportunity for budding academics to submit ‘abstracts’ for oral presentations during the conference, which I think is a great opportunity to showcase new thoughts & approaches to domestic violence. Nathan and I really enjoyed the conference (thanks DVIP) and thanks to Nathan who helped me partially conquer my fear of heights by walking with me over Ponte D. Luís I bridge!

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