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Case Studies

Hampshire Safeguarding children Partnership (HSCP) and its associated partners have developed several case studies to support the application of its toolkits.

Case studies are real-life stories highlighting how agencies have worked to safeguard, protect, and support children and their families. They are an effective learning tool, providing professionals with the ability to see services and tools in action, understand a situation from a different perspective and demonstrate areas of good practice.

Please find below a selection of Case Studies showing how different areas have developed their Strengthening Parental Relationships offer.  We are in the early stages of developing our offer in Hampshire, we hope these case studies provide some inspiration and areas for reflection for our practitioners.  Please share any feedback or identified training needs with Emma, SPR Coordinator:

The toolkit case studies listed below can be used for training purposes, team meetings and staff briefing sessions.

This 2 minute animation from the Early Intervention Foundation explains how frequent, intense and poorly resolved parental conflict can impact on children, and how it can prevent other services and support from working effectively.

Reducing parental conflict: Why it matters to children and why it matters to services | Early Intervention Foundation (

Conflict between parents is normal, but if exposure is frequent, intense and poorly resolved, this can have a damaging impact on children, resulting in long-term mental health issues and emotional, social, behavioural and academic problems as they grow up.

Today, there is a growing awareness of the importance of the quality of the relationship between parents – whether they are together or separated – and the need to tackle conflict in the best interests of children.

There may be lots of services in your area that focus on parenting, or the relationship between parents and children. But the ability of these services to help children is likely to be reduced if damaging parental conflict is left unresolved.

This is a problem, if it means that important local services and programmes aren’t equipped to improve children’s lives in the way we all want them to. Many practitioners and services working at the front line lack the confidence, tools and knowledge to identify and support families where damaging conflict is going on. Many parents only seek help when conflict reaches crisis point. And many families experiencing poverty or financial stress, families who are at a greater risk of experiencing damaging conflict, are less likely to get access to vital support.

Early intervention to reduce the impact of parental conflict needs to be at the heart of services, to improve outcomes for children and improve the effectiveness of other family support.

Suggested discussion points

  • How does this compare with your experience of working with families?
  • Are there families you’ve worked with where the parents’ relationship has reduced the effectiveness of parenting interventions?
  • How effective are the parenting courses you deliver when both parents are communicating effectively with each other and generally getting on ok?
  • How do you approach  and talk about the subject of parental relationships with the families you work with?
  • What works well?
  • What is difficult?
  • What would help you to talk about relationships / support families to access the Strengthening Parental Relationships resources?

OnePlusOne’s reducing parental conflict courses are designed to be used as early intervention, meaning they are most useful for couples and co-parents before conflict is entrenched. These resources are not suitable for situations where the conflict is deeply embedded conflict or where domestic abuse has been identified.

Sometimes, however, abuse will not become apparent until after you have started working with a family. It is important to maintain a professional curiosity and be aware of any warning signs. The following case study from a OnePlusOne trainer is an example of how this has been done in practice:

In a recent case, there had been a big argument between a couple and the police were called. Social care came and did a brief assessment. The couple wanted to stay together so I was called in.

I had a discussion with the family, holding a professional curiosity. The first flag was when the mum said she was doing a beauty course on Thursday evenings and the dad said, ‘I don’t know why she bothers, she’s too stupid’. This was a warning sign that there might have been psychological abuse happening.

I kept going back, having chats, focusing on healthy and unhealthy signs, and practising healthy ways of talking. The children were clingy, and I noticed that the dad was shooting the mum down, giving her looks that seemed to say, ‘Don’t say that’.

When I got the mum on her own, it started coming out that there was physical and psychological abuse. She was describing distressing incidents of physical violence and normalising them, which we know is not appropriate.

in this case, the practitioner picked up on the important difference between tit-for-tat personal insults which can be part of non-abusive parental conflict, and signs of putdowns and minimising the other person which can be indicative of psychological abuse.

The practitioner then stopped working from a parental conflict approach and followed her local authority’s procedures around reporting domestic abuse and managing risk regarding the safety of the mother and children.

When working with families in conflict, it’s important to maintain a professional curiosity. If you notice any signs of domestic abuse, follow Hampshire’s Domestic Abuse Pathway. 

Credit: OnePlusOne digital interventions: further guidance for working with parents (Nov 2022)

In Hampshire, residents and Practitioners have access to the OnePLusOne digital courses until August 2025. You can find more ideas and guidance on how to engage parents with the digital courses, and how to make the most of the content, using the Practitioner Guide.  Follow this link to set up your Practitioner account with OnePlusOne the Practitioner Guide can be found in the Extra Materials section.

Suggested discussion points

    • What other clues might suggest there is abuse or an in balance of power in a relationship?
    • How can you explore this further with the parent/s?
    • You can use the SPR Safety Net tool to help distinguish between domestic abuse and parental conflict.


Rochdale are further ahead in their RPC journey.  This is Rochdale’s story about developing a whole system approach to talk about parental conflict and address the population’s needs.

Rochdale: Starting a ‘relationship revolution’ to improve the quality of relationships for everyone | Early Intervention Foundation (

  • Interestingly, Rochdale started to see an increase of referrals and requests for support into children’s services that they concluded should be more accurately described as ‘family relationship difficulties’ – many of which were felt to be in need of a therapeutic, relational response.  Once they started recording “family conflict” in their Early Help Assessments, the data showed that, on average, 66% of all families that engaged in early help support were in need of relationship support.


Suggested discussion points

  • How does this compare with your experience of working with families?
  • How effectively do you think we capture this information / data through our assessments and work with families?
  • How confident do you feel talking about parental relationships?
  • What works well?
  • What is difficult?
  • What would help you to talk about relationships / support families to access the RPC resources?