Non-Violent Resistance – Support for Parents Facing Child to Parent Violence

“The change in my house is the respect me and my son are starting to show each other. Now he respects me and I respect him and he’s starting to respect my house too and the other people who live there where’s before he didn’t.”

Violence in relationships is a serious issue in Ireland. Many people think of it in the context of partners, but child to parent violence is becoming more common. Parents can be left with few options, feeling ashamed and helpless in how to respond or get support. It is usually addressed by one-to-one therapy for the family.

In Limerick, a new approach has been taken. Le Chéile, together with Young Person’s Probation, has run a group for parents, with the aim of giving support and practical skills to deal with these situations.

Non Violent Resistance (NVR) is a pioneering therapy, which has been developed to target aggressive, violent, controlling, and risk taking behaviour in young people. Running this therapy in a group setting has ensured that parents can share experiences and encourage each others to practice the techniques. The therapy is based on the strategies used by Ghandi and Martin Luther King to oppose oppression in a firm but non-violent and assertive way.

Le Chéile’s Alan Quinn said of the pilot, “It was a fantastic group to work with and I believe everyone gained something from being involved with the group. The real power of the group came from the parents themselves. The way they shared experiences and supported each other was inspiring”.

Senior Probation Officer John Brosnahan, who co-facilitated the group said that it was one of the most powerful course he had worked with, and empowered and supported parents.

Le Chéile recently presented a workshop with the Probation Service at the Daphne Child to Parent Violence Conference recently at NUI Galway.

NVR as a programme works within Le Chéile’s circle of services of working with young people by working with their parents to manage their child’s challenging behaviour, and support parents in their parenting. Parents may be referred to Le Chéile’s NVR programmes through the Probation Service, though there may be limited spaces available for other referrals.

NVR has been the subject of research and a conference in NUI Galway’s Child and Family Research Centre ( ), and is part of ParentLine’s trained support. ( / 1890 927277 )


Further information, conferences and readings:

  • Omer, Haim, and Sappir, Shoshana London (2003) Non-Violent Resistance: A New Approach to Violent and Self-destructive Children.  Available to buy at 
  • Coogan, D (2012) Marking the boundaries – when troublesome becomes abuse and children cross a line in family violence. Feedback- the Journal of the Family Therapy Association of Ireland. July 2012: 74-87.
  • Omer, H., Schorr-Sapir, I., &Weinblatt, U. (2008). Non-violent resistance and violence against siblings, Journal of Family Therapy, 30: 450-464
  • Weinblat, U and Omer, H. (2008) Non-violent resistance: a treatment for parents of children with acute behaviour problems, Journal of Marital Family Therapy, January 34: 75-92
  • Parentline conference dealing with adolescent anger and aggression, Friday 6th December 10 a.m. – 1 p.m, Wynn’s Hotel, Abbey St.see
  • Alan Quinn, Le Chéile’s Limerick Co-ordinator spoke on RTE Radio 1’s Today with Sean O’Rourke – listen back here

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