07/05/21 – APPG Member Patrick Myers writes:
Reducing Parental Conflict Reports
The Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme aims to help avoid the damage that parental conflict causes to children through the provision of evidence-based parental conflict support, training for practitioners working with families and enhancing local authority and partner services. The programme seeks to address conflict below the threshold of domestic abuse.
The key aim of the RPC programme evaluation is to understand what support works to reduce parental conflict in disadvantaged families. The evaluation consists of 3 strands which correspond to 3 programme elements:
- face-to-face intervention delivery: To assess how the face-to-face provision of evidence-based interventions in 31 local authorities, clustered in 4 geographical areas, is implemented and delivered and the impact of the interventions in reducing parental conflict and improving child outcomes
- training: To study whether and how the training of practitioners and relationship support professionals has influenced practice on the ground. Focusing on the identification of parents in conflict, building the skills and confidence to work with, or refer, parents in conflict and the overall support available
- local integration: To examine whether and how local authorities across England have integrated elements of parental conflict support into mainstream services for families and with what success
Understanding the impact of parental conflict and substance misuse on children
The review finds that there is consistent evidence of an association between substance misuse and parental conflict. Some studies point to this association being causal. Most longitudinal studies support the view that substance misuse increases the incidence of parental conflict though there are other studies that highlight how parental conflict can lead to substance misuse. In all cases there is less evidence regarding the mechanism by which one leads to the other and how it interacts with other stressors. The relationship is likely to be complex.
The nature of the negative outcomes for children in families experiencing both substance misuse and parental conflict appears to be the same as for those in families experiencing either substance misuse or parental conflict alone, i.e. mainly externalising or internalising behaviours. There is, however, consistent evidence that children affected by both parental substance misuse and conflict are more at risk of presenting these behaviours. A number of other stressors (including housing, financial instability, crime, schooling or parental mental health) can act cumulatively to increase a child’s risk of negative outcomes.