Child on parent violence

Child on Parent Violence (CPV) or Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (APVA) is any behaviour used by a young person to control, dominate or coerce parents.  It is intended to threaten and intimidate and puts family safety at risk.  Whilst it is normal for adolescents to demonstrate healthy anger, conflict and frustration drawing their transition from childhood to adulthood, anger should not be confused with violence.  Violence is about a range of behaviours including non-physical acts aimed at achieving ongoing control over another person by instilling fear. 

Most abused parents have difficulty admitting even to themselves that their child is abusive. They feel ashamed, disappointed and humiliated and blame themselves for the situation, which has led to this imbalance of power. There is also an element of denial where parents convince themselves that their son or daughter’s behaviour is part of normal adolescent conduct.

Although specific programmes to address CPV/APVA are in their infancy, help and support for abused parents is available through local Early Intervention and/or Domestic Abuse services.

The Information Guide: Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse is the culmination of research and practice pointers that have been developed in response to practitioners identifying the need for bespoke interventions that incorporate the specific circumstances of families where there is CPV/APVA.

The Home Office took the lead on the development of this document in 2014, when guidance was incorporated in the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Action Plan. The Information Guide received Ministerial sign off in March 2015; it outlines the complexities of CPV/APVA, the challenges this poses and the identification that there appears to be no clear single or set of pathways into this form of familial violence. Equally, that there is no one response to CPV/APVA. Research demonstrates that practitioners have adapted or moulded existing services or programmes as a way of providing interventions. It was also identified that while there are some pockets or examples of specific and excellent programmes that are specifically designed to tackle CPV/APVA, but these are few and far between, and most existing programmes do not meet the needs of these families. The launch of the Information Guide is a strong beginning and marks an acceptance and recognition of CPV/APVA together with the need to work to support families who experience it. 

This is a really important start in officially recognising adolescent to parent violence and abuse as a serious issue affecting many families, and in laying a practice foundation on which to build. We hope that organisations and departments will now take this and run with it – and individualise it according to their own knowledge base, skill sets, and areas of practice. [Holes in the Wall]