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Parents who live in fear of violent and abusive kids

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Debbie McDonagh of the Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force, Regional Family Support Co-ordinator, with the Family Support Handbook launched recently. Photo: Iain McDonald.

Lifestyle – Dearbhla Geraghty attended the Child to Parent Violence Seminar in Galway and heard of a growing prevalence of the issue

Parents are living in fear of violence and abuse at the hands of their own children – which has seen a massive increase, with incidents in Galway now in line with those on an international level.

The Child to Parent Violence Seminar, held in the Menlo Park Hotel last week, was one of a number of events organised by the Western Region Drug & Alcohol Task Force for its annual awareness week.

“There is a difference between childhood testing of boundaries – that is totally normal,” says Eileen Lauster, trainer on the NVR (Non-Violent Resistance) programme.

“The difference is the power – manipulation, abuse, where parents feel afraid in their own homes; when they don’t feel in charge any more, and the child is coercing, controlling, and dominating. The child can also be abusive towards siblings.”

She describes this as “an emerging problem” for families and practitioners, not helped by the fact that many parents/guardians deny or minimise the issue, or blame themselves – leaving them in a very isolated place.

Ms Lauster drew comparisons to 10-15 years ago, when domestic violence was a taboo subject, but asking a person if they felt safe at home was often enough to encourage them to speak about it – the same applies to professionals approaching parents who are subjected to violence at the hands of their own children.

She says that they are reluctant to talk about the issue until it reaches unbearable levels, due to a strong impulse to protect their child from coming to the attention of Gardaí or the health services.

For this reason, the statistics underestimate the actual numbers involved – figures from the UK suggest that this type of violence affects 18% of two-parent families, and 29% of one-parent families (similarly reflective of the situation here in Galway).

“Bear in mind, that parents are very desperate when they do actually call the police,” Ms Lauster added.

And, most interestingly, this is not a class-related issue – it affects all socio-economic and cultural groups, although mothers parenting alone are more susceptible.

“There are well-educated, middle class parents with ‘over-entitled’ children – spoilt – and they would have been told ‘yes, yes, yes’ to everything, but when they hit the age when their parent says ‘no’, they become manipulative and abusive.”

One delegate revealed that she dealt with so-called ‘out of control’ teenagers in Mayo, and that the majority of cases occur in ‘over-indulgent’ two-parent families.

NUI Galway lecturer, Dr Declan Coogan, began making efforts to address this issue in Ireland eight years ago, but found that this country was far behind Spain, which includes it in its legislation and has specific social services for this area.

One of his earliest cases here involved a 14 years old girl who was drinking, using drugs, going missing for long periods, and being aggressive towards her parents and siblings.

“Sinead and her mother went through the NVR programme; they had their blow-ups, but by the end of the process it was completely diminished, there was less abuse, and the mother had taken more control in the relationship, which benefited the whole family,” Ms Lauster said.

“The problem of violence in the family is openly talked about, and denial and minimisation are no longer issues, and the parent’s sense of isolation is reduced.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Inspectors from HIQA praise management of maternity unit at University Hospital

Denise McNamara

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The gynaecology theatre at UHG.

The maternity unit at University Hospital Galway has been given a clean bill of health by inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The only ‘bone of contention’ concerned the lack of specialists ringfenced for the labour ward, where infrastructure was also found to be lacking.

The maternity unit was fully compliant with seven national standards and substantially compliant with a further three, with inspectors praising the department for having “a clearly defined and effective leadership, governance and management structure”.

“There was good oversight of the quality and safety of services by senior managers at the hospital who used multiple sources of information to identify opportunities for improvement.

“The hospital’s senior management team monitored performance data including patient outcomes, service user feedback and patient safety incidents and benchmarked its performance against other similar sized hospitals,” the report found.

Inspectors did find a limited number of areas that needed to be improved. They found there were an insufficient number of consultant anaesthesiologists at the hospital to provide a dedicated obstetric anaesthetic service, which needed to sufficiently resourced in line with national standards.

The anaesthetic service in the maternity unit was led by a consultant anaesthesiologist with specialist training in obstetric anaesthesia.

“However, the hospital did not have a designated obstetric anaesthetic service in line with national standards. The anaesthetic service was largely staffed by anaesthesiologists from the general anaesthesiology rota at the hospital.”

While an audit had found that times for an anaesthesiologist to attend the Maternity Unit were “timely”, inspectors had been informed that the anaesthetic team was not always informed about the level of urgency when contacted to attend for an emergency caesarean section.

“This information is required by the anaesthetic team so that they can prioritise their workload. The absence of this is of concern and should be addressed by the hospital,” the report states.

Hospital management has submitted business plans to recruit additional consultant anaesthesiologists so that a 24-hour dedicated obstetric anaesthesiology service could be provided. This had yet to be progressed. They had recently applied to the HSE for funding for two additional consultant anaesthesiologists.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Nuns seek inspiration on proposal for new convent

Enda Cunningham

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The existing Presentation Convent, which was built in the mid-18th century and operated as a military barracks and fever hospital.

The Presentation Sisters have been told that the site for their proposed new city centre convent is not big enough, as there are already plans for the new Our Lady’s College building there.

Earlier this year, the Sisters decided that upgrade works to the existing building would be “very invasive”.

The Sisters subsequently sought permission to construct a two-storey building with 14 bedrooms, an oratory, reception, living and dining areas, utility rooms and administrator’s apartment on the site at Presentation Road.

The plans also involve moving the existing vehicular entrance and the demolition of the extension and outbuildings at the disused national school building, which is a protected structure, and to convert the building into two residential units.

“This application is primarily for a new convent building for the Sisters within the boundaries of the current premises. It will facilitate a residency to current standards with a building suitable to meet their needs in a manner that is compliant with current building regulations.

“This arose as an alternative following an examination and feasibility of interventions and upgrades to the old convent building. Such works would be very invasive to the old building. As such, this proposal does not involve any intensification of use or occupancy of the site.

“The siting of the building is selected to minimise impacts on the gardens. The application also includes for the renovation and alterations to the derelict national school, to bring it into residential use. This will be ancillary to the use of the convent and not other residential use,” the application reads.

According to an architectural heritage assessment report, the Presentation Sisters have occupied the existing convent building since 1819. It was built in the mid-18th century and had previously operated as a charter school, military barracks and fever hospital.

“The overall works will bring it back into a sustainable use which prevents dereliction and will aid its longevity into the future,” the application reads.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pub and GAA club visits on the agenda for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Stephen Corrigan

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Two senior members of the British Royal Family are to visit Galway next month – with preparations already underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March.

Gardaí issued notice yesterday (Thursday) morning that a number of streets in the city are to be closed on March 5. Coinciding with the already announced visit of ‘Kate and Wills’ to Ireland, this caused widespread speculation that the royal pair would cross the Shannon as part of their visit.

While Gardaí and Galway City Council refused to confirm or deny the speculation yesterday, the Galway City Tribune understands that Kate and William will spend the day in Galway, and will visit Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street – as well as calling in on Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club.

The Garda notice issued yesterday alerts locals that Williamsgate Street, William Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and possibly Abbeygate Street will all be closed between 6am and 2pm on March 5 – making way for the large security operation required for a royal visit.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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