Opening up the issue of abuse from children over the age 16

Following on from my last post, and in one of those pleasingly serendipitous moments, it was great to hear the announcement this week from Professor Nicola Graham-Kevan and team at UCLancs, who have been researching child to parent domestic abuse from children over the age of 16, in conjunction with the Lancashire Constabulary and Lancashire Violence Reduction Unit, in a Home Office funded project: Understanding Child to Parent Domestic Abuse in Lancashire.

Aiming to form distinct typologies of child to parent domestic abuse, the team used a systematic literature review and examined recorded domestic abuse cases over the 26 month period from November 2018 to February 2021. They found that over 10% involved abuse from a child towards a parent, a figure which is thought probably to be underestimate because of reluctance to contact the police in such circumstances, and issues around the way such abuse is interpreted. Indeed there is a suggestion that incidence may be on the increase because of changing demographics. Also significant was the range of issues identified, including neuro-diversity, mental health diagnoses and substance use, which led to the suggestion that this is far from straightforward in terms of our understanding of such abuse.

Recommendations include the development of a more nuanced form of assessment tools recognising the specific issues around abuse from child to parent, followed by a set of interventions that take this relationship into account.

This is the first part of the research project and the second phase, which takes a longitudinal approach and examines the profile of those using abusive behaviours, is expected later in the year. You can download the first report here, and listen to a discussion about the research on Woman’s Hour here. (41.35- 52.20).

It is tremendously encouraging to see this new aspect of CPA being investigated, opening up further our understanding of the complexities of family relationships; and to see how this is very much a topic for discussion within the media, promoting greater awareness and understanding.

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