Adolescent violence towards parents in NSW : the challenges & perspectives of secondary education professionals

Doctoral Studies Completed Theses – 2014 Archive

This page is no longer updated. Page archived on Thu, 14 Jul 2016

Ashleigh Haw

MEd (Research) thesis, conferred 2014

Adolescent violence towards parents (AVTP) has received limited attention in research and practice. Despite some empirical and anecdotal evidence suggesting that the school environment is rich in potential to support affected families, no prior studies have examined the perspectives of professionals in the education sector. This thesis explores the perspectives of six education professionals in New South Wales (NSW) with emphasis on challenges and recommendations associated with supporting affected families. Utilising a phenomenological theoretical framework guided by a social constructionist epistemology, semi-structured interviews were conducted with one counsellor, two teachers, one psychologist and two support workers employed across two independent secondary schools for youth with behavioural problems in NSW. Interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, allowing key themes to emerge from the data. Results indicated that all six participants had encountered AVTP and the majority believed that education professionals have an important responsibility to support affected families. Participants’ recommendations included: improving access to resources and professional development in schools; the implementation of holistic approaches to providing support; and the establishment of relationships between education professionals and trained service providers who can offer specialised assistance to families. The results highlighted a need for further empirical exploration of the issue in both mainstream and independent schools. Awareness-raising initiatives and training specifically focused on AVTP in schools is also recommended. With consideration of previous AVTP literature, this thesis discusses all of the current findings with emphasis on the implications for future research, policy and practice. The value of employing a social constructionist framework to examine education professionals’ perspectives is also highlighted by these findings.

Supervisor: Dr Kate Russell