• Cyberharassment Awareness Course (Cybac): influences from domestic abuse perpetrator programmes for its design and function

      Conradie, Liesl; Pitchford, Melanie; Myers, Ellie; Barnes, Jim; Short, Emma; Open University; University of Bedfordshire; Fatima College of Health Sciences, Abu Dhabi (International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 2020-06-30)
      Cyberharassment as a crime has increased significantly in recent years and is covered by legislation in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Cyberharassment can be targeted towards individuals or groups of people. Perpetrators can be unknown or known to their victims and the methods of harassment are diverse. The use of domestic abuse (DA) programmes for first time or low risk offenders are employed to reduce recidivism and to safeguard victims. A first step in creating a cyberharassment awareness course identified the aspects that appear to contribute to the effectiveness of these DA programmes. Various aspects contributed to the success of domestic abuse programmes and they were influential in the development of the cyberharassment awareness course. The main aspects considered and included or recommended are the need for treatment readiness, excluding some perpetrators, multi-agency working, and the location and intensity of the programme. The programmes that proved successful made use of a group contract and included individual and group work aspects, all of which were mandatory. Cognitive behaviour therapy formed the backbone of programmes and empathy awareness training was considered. The needs of individual perpetrators were to be catered to and victims included where possible.
    • Hapless, helpless, hopeless: an analysis of stepmothers' talk about their (male) partners

      Roper, Sandra; Capdevila, Rose; University of Bedfordshire; Open University (SAGE, 2020-03-31)
      The identity of stepmother is, in many ways, a troubled one – constructed as “other” and often associated with notions of “wickedness” in literature and everyday talk. This paper reports findings from a study on the difficulties faced by stepmothers and how they use talk about their (male) partners, often constructing men as hapless, helpless or hopeless, to repair their “troubled” identities. The data were collected from a web forum for stepmothers based in the UK and 13 semi-structured face-to-face interviews with stepmothers. The analysis took a synthetic narrative-discursive methodological approach, underpinned by feminist theory with particular attention to the discourses that were drawn on by participants and the constraints that these imposed. This paper presents these findings in relation to three constructions of their partners through which repair work was attempted: men as in need of rescue; men as flawed fathers; and men as damaged. The paper concludes with some suggestions for supporting stepmothers by challenging dominant narratives around families in talk, in the media and in government and institutional policies.
    • #mothersday: Constructions of motherhood and femininity in social media posts

      Capdevila, Rose; Dann, Charlotte; Lazard, Lisa; Roper, Sandra; Locke, Abigail; Open University; University of Northampton; University of Bedfordshire; Keele University (SAGE Publications Ltd, 2022-08-03)
      Images and representations of parenting, and particularly mothering, have become commonplace on social media platforms over the past decade. These displays, however, take place in the context of popular contemporary discourses around gender and parenting that are in many ways prescriptive. This paper explores the constructions of mothering online through an analysis of posts about mothers on Mother’s Day from 2018 to 2020. Data were collected from Instagram and Twitter using hashtags such as #mothersday, #happymothersday and #motheringsunday. Both content and thematic analyses were conducted. This paper will consider three main themes that were identified in the data: “Beauty & biology”; “Grief & loss” and “Care (& COVID)”, with a focus on constructions of gendered parenting and family through the explicit celebration of the lives and roles of mothers. The findings provide insight into normative constructions of gender and how these are mediated through the affordances of social media platforms in a neoliberal context.
    • The need to improve fertility awareness

      Harper, Joyce; Boivin, Jacky; O'Neill, Helen C.; Brian, Kate; Dhingra, Jennifer; Dugdale, Grace; Edwards, Genevieve; Emmerson, Lucy; Grace, Bola; Hadley, Alison; et al. (Elsevier, 2017-04-08)
      Women and men globally are delaying the birth of their first child. In the UK, the average age of first conception in women is 29 years. Women experience age-related fertility decline so it is important that men and women are well-informed about this, and other aspects of fertility. A group of UK stakeholders have established the Fertility Education Initiative to develop tools and information for children, adults, teachers, parents and healthcare professionals dedicated to improving knowledge of fertility and reproductive health.
    • A systematic review of parenting interventions used by social workers to support vulnerable children

      Vseteckova, Jitka; Boyle, Sally; Higgins, Martyn; Open University; University of Bedfordshire; London South Bank University (SAGE, 2021-11-09)
      This paper reports on the findings from a systematic review of parenting interventions used by social workers to support vulnerable children in the United Kingdom. The study focused on children from birth to 11 years and 11 months based on Munro's rationale for early intervention. From the 423 papers initially identified, twelve met the inclusion criteria for this review. Four common themes were identified: developing relationships, the effectiveness of parenting interventions, societal impact on families and health and psychological concerns. The importance of effective relationships between parents and social workers was identified as key to effective parental interventions but there was limited evidence of improved outcomes for children despite this. A common factor in the studies was the level of parental deprivation which in many cases was associated with a range of mental health issues frequently seen in association with drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. The review identified a number of successful outcomes across a range of parenting interventions. However, what was surprising was the limited input from the children themselves within this review. Applying our findings to practice, the authors recommend a number of ways to contribute to the development of parenting interventions.