Managing Violence in the Home

Training for Foster Carers, Adopters and Parents in Managing Violence

Workshop-based Training and Guidance about Last-Resort Protective Interventions with Children who present with Distressed or Dangerous behaviour in the home environment.

Managing Violent Behaviour in the Home Context

Foster Carers and Parents Physical Interventions Workshop

Our course Managing Violent Behaviour in the Home Context, for Foster Carers and Parents can be tailored to the needs of a specific child/family, however we cover key concepts from the Fostering Services Regulations related to the Children Act 1989 and the Human Rights Act 1998 so that those interacting with the child will be able to make the best possible decisions about the management of conflict and the use of (last-resort) protective interventions if they become necessary.

We throughly recommend that you consider joining the following Facebook Group:

We are working with the National Association of Therapeutic Parents to deliver ‘open’ courses in Violence Management at Home.

Topics covered on Managing Violent Behaviour in the Home Context:

  • Non-escalation:  Verbalisation skills for dealing with common situations without escalating them.
  • De-escalation in high-risk conflict or crisis situations.
  • Duty of Care:  Discussing how to balance safety for the child, for the parents and the other children at home.
  • Government Guidance:  What is expected by the national authorities who advise on best practice for restraint
  • Risk Awareness:  What are the risks of a restraint intervention and how to reduce or avoid them
  • Reasonable Force Rules:  Understanding the WHY, WHEN and HOW of Reasonable Force for Protective Interventions
  • Principles for Physical Protection:  Options for protecting yourself from injury when a child directs physical violence at your body
  • Principles for Physical Control:   Options for last-resort protective interventions when the need for physical control  is unavoidable

At the end of this Managing Violent Behaviour in the Home Context course learners will be able to:

  1. Explain the Paramount Principle of children’s welfare and best interests
  2. Understand the key aspects of the Human Rights Act which apply in managing violence.
  3. Understand the importance of the the child’s history.
  4. Explain Duty of Care issues in the care of children (statutory and everyday)
  5. Describe the importance of Avoidance, Dialogue and De-Fusing to the care of children
  6. Define the 5 principles of using constructive dialogue to defuse situations
  7. Identify “exceptional circumstances” in terms of incidents where someone might be harmed
  8. Appraise how emotional responses to situations of high stress can effect behaviour
  9. Explain excessive or unreasonable measures of control, restraint and discipline
  10. Illustrate how withdrawing from a situation is sometimes the best (safest) initial response
  11. Understand the principles of Reasonable Force
  12. Deploy a small number of principle-based last-resort physical tactics for Protection
  13. Deploy a small number of principle-based last-resort physical tactics for Control
  14. Explain the principle of Containment as a last-resort temporary safety measure

The Managing Violent Behaviour in the Home Context course was useful and I feel more competent to manage aggressive situations as a result, I also feel more secure within my ‘rights’ to look after myself and the other children.”

Foster Carer – Peterborough City Council Fostering Services – August 2016

Why we developed this Workshop Course

“Managing Violent Behaviour in the Home Context”

For years carers of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties have asked us for help with certain situations at home.   Sometimes their children become frustrated, angry and upset and can present with challenging physical behaviours which could hurt another child in the home or perhaps even the carers themselves (Foster Carers, Guardians or natural Parents).  This Managing Violent Behaviour in the Home Context course was developed and evolved to meet their needs.

Often, the local authorities and health boards are unhelpful in giving advice to parents for Managing Violent Behaviour in Children and Adolescents, and so we have over the years developed a workshop-format course where a group of parents can discuss common issues and have advice from an expert conflict management and physical restraint trainer about approaches to take in certain situations.

We throughly recommend that you consider joining the following Facebook Group:

We are working with the National Association of Therapeutic Parents to deliver ‘open’ courses in Violence Management at Home.

Please read the following piece from author and expert on Therapeutic Parenting, Sarah Naish.

Violent behaviour – Danger of denial

The issue we get asked about the most is how to deal with child to parent violence and child on child violence. At the same time we see many supporting professionals appearing to deny the need for parents to be properly equipped to manage this very real issue, which destabilises families and creates unnecessary labelling for traumatised children.


I understand that the idea of having to hold on to a child to prevent them from seriously hurting themselves or others is an uncomfortable one. It is however a REAL dilemma which happens daily in many thousands of homes across the world.


We know that unfortunately, supporting professionals are often ill equipped and lack the necessary training to give the correct advice around strategies to manage children from trauma. I say this as a former social worker.


So, we have ended up in a situation where parents struggle daily with violence and when they turn to supporting professionals to provide them with the necessary means to protect themselves AND the child they are often met with a blanket response of ‘you are not allowed to hold the child.’


This fear comes from an era when children were restrained forcibly and unnecessarily in the most horrendous situations. Now there seems to be a lack of confidence and trust in therapeutic parents to implement these strategies effectively and safely. So instead, parents are likely to be told that they cannot have training.


What does this mean? Well it means that the violence continues, the parent is more fearful and lacking in confidence and therefore it is more likely there will be an assault resulting in real physical injuries, or an incident where the child will hurt themselves.


I have spent the last two years carefully looking at a way to incorporate therapeutic parenting into strategies which help parents to properly manage violence and also to feel confident in those situations when the child is putting themselves in danger and must be prevented from doing so. I.e. about to jump out of a window or run into a road. It is astonishing how many times situations escalate which could have been prevented simply due to the parents fear and lack of training around when and how to hold a child safely.


The course we have now managed to put together (with a partner company,) after a great deal of careful thought and planning, ‘Managing Violent Behaviour’, has been met with enthusiasm and a huge sense of relief from parents. The reaction from supporting professionals has been mixed. While some also welcome the new course and realise how useful it will be in helping children to stay in their families, others have greeted the course with dismay. Some have said that they ”can’t let carers access any training where safe holding is shown”. I wonder if perhaps that means they are therefore condoning ‘unsafe holding’ or running away?


Our course makes it really clear that we only ever hold children when there is NO other alternative and where there is serious risk to the child or others. It is not a light-hearted or casual approach. Of course we include all the preventative measures and deescalation strategies too.


Parents and carers need to be trained and given some credibility that they will use these techniques in the way they are trained to use them and as a last resort. Parents and children need to be protected from violence and from aggression arising from children when they are dysregulated.


This real issue needs a strong solution. The weak solution is merely denial and will continue to place children and their carers at significant risk


If supporting professionals continue to bury their heads in the sand on this issue, someone is going to come and bite them on the bum. This is NOT going to go away!


Be brave people.

Sarah Naish

Saturday 16th December 2017

When: usually 1 full day in addition to specialist Therapeutic Parenting training offered by our partner company.

Who:  Groups of up to 12 parents are led by each Dynamis trainer (larger groups by request) OPEN courses are run in partnership with and available through the National Association of Therapeutic Parenting (NATP)

More information about NATP is available on their international Facebook Group Visit:

We are working with the National Association of Therapeutic Parents to deliver ‘open’ courses in Violence Management at Home.  Visit:

Where:  Training is held at your choice of venue (usually a classroom or local hall)

How:  Our trainers deliver this course using a mix of lecture/presentation, Q&A, physical practice and scenario rehearsal.

Why:  Matched to your needs     Led by Professional Trainers     Legally Audited     Fully Risk-Assessed     Values Dignity and Respect     Safeguards Children’s rights     Offers Parents Practical Options     Compliant with Government Regulations     Value for Your Investment

Recommended Courses Like Managing Violent Behaviour – in Children and Adolescents: Please take a look at our Conflict Management or Personal Safety training, or both depending on your risk level.

Course Feedback 

” “I felt empowered by the understanding of violence I gained from this course. I feel more confident in how to de-escalate aggressive behaviour and stay calm myself. I went on the course to primarily learn how to restrain a violent child. But I learnt so much about why/how violence happens and how to avoid it, I feel it much less likely to need to restrain.”   –> Foster Carer and Course Attendee Plymouth October 2018

“It was an excellent day trainer was really knowledgeable in giving me tools to control my child,I only did the course yesterday and already used a couple of these actions last night.  The trainer was also very helpful in giving us legal advice which I wasn’t expecting”   –> Parent of Boy with Complex Needs, Workshop March 2017 in Knowsley

“I’ve had team teach training for work… and this was by far better than anything else …. I will be recommending this to anyone I know in a similar position to my family!! I attended this as a parent and it was totally worth it! I feel more parents should have this training.  –> Parent of Young Woman with Complex Needs, Workshop March 2017 in Liverpool

This has made me think about how I could de-escalate my young person before he starts.  Phrases and concepts I could try.  It gave me confidence in handling potential situations differently.  This is a valuable course which should be part of the core training”   – Foster Carer – Peterborough City Foster Care Services, Aug 2016


“we concentrated on one to one handling, which was really relevant to what we need at the moment. Well explained and shown several times for people like me who don’t pick up thing very quickly.”  — Carer for Young Man with Complex Needs – Home Care Support – June 2016


“We have used Dynamis 3 times and each time he adapted it to the challenges we are experiencing now. I was impressed with the containment strategies for one person, this helped me personally. Overall I felt I leant a lot and feel more sure for future incidents.”  — Parent of Young Man with Complex Needs – Home Care Support – June 2016

I learnt a lot on this training course and would highly recommend it.  Exceeded expectations, excellent knowledge from the trainer and appropriate to the real scenarios I face in my work”  — Foster Carer – London Borough of Barking and Dagenham – September 2016




Training For Foster Carers of Paramount Importance – Sheriff

Fostering Agency Sued in £700,000 negligence case.

The death of a foster carer who was killed by a boy she was looking after was avoidable, an inquiry has found.  Dawn McKenzie, 34, was stabbed by the 13-year-old at her home in Hamilton in 2011. He was later detained for seven years after admitting culpable homicide due to diminished responsibility.

A fatal accident inquiry found that Mrs McKenzie’s death was not foreseeable.   It may have been avoided, however, had her fostering agency taken proper account of her inexperience.

screenshot-2016-09-25-12-33-36“With the benefit of hindsight … it is now known that tragedies such as that which befell Mrs McKenzie can occur in foster placements, and there is no doubt from the evidence which I heard that lesser attacks on foster carers can and occasionally do take place.

The area of training of foster carers is clearly an important one.  Whereas I am prepared to accept given the evidence which I heard, that [conflict communications and physical intervention training] is more effectively given after foster carers have commenced their caring … felt strongly that it ought to be offered to new carers at the outset of their fostering career because that was when they were at their most inexperienced or vulnerable.  I find no fault with that argument.

I can see no reason why such training cannot be given at the outset of a foster carer’s fostering career and repeated perhaps to more effect after a year or two years when they have more experience.

The Care Inspectorate feel that training is of paramount importance in relation to all placements to equip foster carers with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the needs of the children placed with them.”


Sheriff of South Strathclyde

Fatal Accidents Inquiry into the Death of Dawn McKenzie

screenshot-2016-09-25-12-32-55The family of a foster ­carer killed by a ­teenager have launched a £700,000 legal action against the company which housed the boy with them.

The action at Hamilton ­Sheriff Court had originally included a claim against ­Glasgow City ­Council, but that has now been dropped by the family.

The family are seeking £500,000 for Mr McKenzie in compensation for Dawn’s death and £200,000 for her mother, Ray Byrne. Both claims seek damages for loss and injury as a result of alleged negligence.

Mr McKenzie told a fatal ­accident inquiry into the ­killing that they had not been given enough ­information about the boy and had been let down by social workers. Sheriff David Bicket ruled that the carer’s death could not have been predicted, but might have been avoided had the firm taken proper account of her inexperience.

Read more 

  • The training course from Dynamis fulfilled or exceeded expectations 99.6% 99.6%
  • Our Dynamis instructor had a very good or excellent level of knowledge and competence 98.2% 98.2%
  • The theory and knowledge components helped me professionally 98.9% 98.9%
  • The techniques and tactics were appropriate to real scenarios in our work 98.6% 98.6%
  • Our Dynamis trainer observed good Health and Safety practices 100% 100%
  • The Dynamis training course was of the right duration to gain the skills and knowledge I needed 91.2% 91.2%

“‘Fostering is an immensely challenging career, and foster carers need to be properly skilled, trained and supported to carry out the invaluable work that they do. In all circumstances foster carers must be given all the available information about every child…they must receive ongoing bespoke training and support that is tailored to the needs of each child.”

Sara Lurie

Director, The Fostering Network

Well worth it!

“I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for opening up those places on the restraint awareness course to parents.  This evening is not the first time I have used a technique from the day to prevent Sophia getting hurt, without upsetting or hurting William either. Well worth it!”  — Heather, Parent of teenage boy with autism in Surrey, May 2016.


“The [school-based] training was excellent whilst working in our everyday setting. The only suggestions I could make would be to possibly deliver a course to parents of profound young adults who like myself deal with challenging behaviour and fragmentation in our daily lives and have to cope with this challenging and physical abuse daily.  I have to live with this behaviour daily from our profoundly autistic daughter, often on my own”

I feel more secure

The course was useful and I feel more competent to manage aggressive situations as a result, I also feel more secure within my ‘rights’ to look after myself and the other children.”  — Foster Carer – Peterborough City Council Fostering Services – August 2016

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