Non-violent Resistance Programme


This training pack uses principles of non-violent resistance to help carers resist violent behaviours and establish a warm and containing parental presence.


Non-violent Resistance Programme includes ten sessions for people working with parents and carers of children and young people with violent, destructive and harmful behaviours. It uses the principles of non-violent resistance (NVR) to help carers to resist violent or out of control behaviours and to establish a warm, loving and containing parental presence with their children.

The programme is designed to be used with groups of parents, but the concepts and activities can be used with individuals.

Key features:

  • Based on a evidence-based model of good practice
  • provides a tried and tested programme which brings about positive change
  • powerful video role plays to illustrate principles in practice
  • engaging materials and activities for parents and carers.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2006) recommends group-based parent training/education programmes in the management of children under 12 with conduct disorders. GPs, social workers, children’s mental health services and voluntary organisations receive many requests for help from parents and carers who are concerned about extreme behaviours in their children (violence, school refusal, drug taking, social withdrawal, criminal behaviour).

Many of these young people have other difficulties, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (CD) or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or have experienced family breakdown or domestic violence. NVR is a new type of intervention derived from the work of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and developed in the last 10 years for children and young people with extreme anti-social behaviours.

Rather than focusing on modifying behaviour, the aim is to bring about changes in the parent-child relationship and to help parents, grandparents, foster carers and informal carers to create positive relationships with their children in the long term.

This NVR programme teaches parents essential skills that help them resist out-of-control and violent behaviours and develop a collaborative, solution-focused approach to problems (for example, de-escalating conflicts, increasing parental presence, announcing their decision to make a stand, sit-ins, developing support networks). They learn to counter giving into their child’s demands or responding in a reactive way which can lead to even more violence.

Non-violent Resistance Programme consists of ten 1.5 hour sessions which include mini presentations, outcome-focused activities, discussion and video role plays. Structured homework tasks help reinforce the ideas from the session and make an active connection to situations with their children. Facilitators should have some experience of group work and training, ideally in a therapeutic environment.



This resource contains a programme for people working with the parents and carers of children and young people with violent and destructive behaviour. The programme is suitable for use by social workers, child and adolescent mental health workers, workers in youth offending services, looked-after children’s services, fostering agencies, faith organisations, and community and voluntary organisations. The programme is designed to be used with groups of parents, but the concepts and activities can also be used with individuals.


ISBN: 9781841962665
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media
Publication: 01 March 2010
Content: Non-violent Resistance Programme resource comprises five parts.

Part 1: Introduction
Introduces you to the programme and tells you what the resource contains.

Part 2: How to run the programme
This section tells you everything you need to know to set up and run a parent group programme. It covers the planning and practical aspects of running this programme, as well as giving an overview of the main elements.

Part 3: Background information for facilitators
This section gives you information on the background and principles of NVR, the role of parenting programmes in addressing violent and destructive behaviour, the theory and practice informing multi-parent groups, how adults learn, how to set objectives, and how to review and evaluate a programme.

Part 4: The programme
This section tells you how to run each aspect of the programme. Each session has aims and objectives and a detailed outline of timings, activities and handouts, as well as tips for managing problems you may encounter during the sessions.

Part 5: Online Resources

  1. Handouts for use in the sessions
  2. Parent Workbook
  3. Parent Booklet
  4. Administrative resources (referral forms, registers etc)
  5. Further reading, which includes essays written for this pack by Haim Omer and Peter Jakob, recommended further reading to support the programme, a reference list and a list of other NVR practitioners across the world.

The film contains seven role plays, which illustrate:

  1. Joint escalation
  2. Giving-in escalation
  3. Asking a supporter for help
  4. Making the announcement
  5. Doing the sit in
  6. Parental presence outside the home
  7. Helping a younger sibling tell their story.

The film was produced by Inspirational FilmWorks – a group of mental health service users who have been professionally trained in film-making processes. The role players are facilitators from the NVR programme, graduate parents (who have completed the NVR programme) and colleagues.


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