Category Archives: Discussion

CPV, starting to count at last!

On August 7th, The BBC published a story on their website – and also covered it on national and local radio – titled Domestic Violence: Child-parent abuse doubles in three years. The BBC piece is clear and succinct, with a straightforward laying out of the statistics, comments from Young Minds and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), a brief case study concerning a parent of an 11 year old girl and the help received from the Getting On Scheme in Doncaster, and a short video highlighting the work of Break4Change in Brighton. The figures were obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the police for the period 2015 – 2018, for records of adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA). Of 44 forces contacted, only 19 collect the data in a way that is able to separate out APVA specifically.

First of all, one of the most exciting things about this story for me was the number of people who got in touch to tell me they had seen it – word is getting out there about the issue! More important though was the analysis and commentary which followed across social media, showing a good understanding of the issues. So has it doubled?

Although the headline makes claims that APVA has doubled, the article itself includes commentary from the NPCC that makes it clear that this is a somewhat dubious claim. What has actually happened in these three years has been a change in recording practices as more and more police forces have recognised this as a separate issue demanding attention, and sought to capture incidents under a separate code. When Condry and Miles researched the phenomenon of adolescent to parent violence, as recorded by the Metropolitan Police 2009-2010, they had to count by hand, trawling through records to find the data they wanted. Some forces have been separating this out for a while now. As long ago as 2015 I blogged about the West Midlands response to CPV, and it’s good to see their figures among the 17 who were able to respond. Let us hope that the remaining forces take this on board soon.

A second change which will show in the figures is the growing levels of public awareness. With more attention in the news and other media, including soaps, parents are increasingly hearing and talking about the issue, whether experiencing it themselves or not, and consequently may feel more able to report it and seek help. In the second video featured, Jane Griffiths of Break4Change talks about a 10% rise in referrals to the service year on year. Even so, the stigma attached to the issue means that many families still don’t come forward for help, or only when the situation reaches an extreme level, and contacting the police in particular may indeed be a last resort, making us believe that the true figures will be significantly greater than those recorded by the police. I would not want to celebrate in any way figures that suggest an increase in pain and distress; and yet at some level this apparent increase is good news, representing increased awareness of, and attention paid to, an issue many of us have been banging on about for a long time.

The article reports correctly that there is no legal definition of APVA. Although it comments that APVA falls within the wider category of domestic abuse (DA), within Britain the DA legislation will only capture young people aged 16 and 17. The piece itself discusses adolescents, but draws on the experiences of the family of an eleven year old and it is not clear whether this situation would have been recorded within the FOI requests. Furthermore we are learning that children as young as 4 may demonstrate behaviour that is violent, frightening and persistent to the extent that it would fall within our concerns. Once again, we see that the figures reported here are likely to be a significant under-representation.

Finally, while the article quotes Tom Madders from Young Minds who says, “People are reaching out for support and not getting it and often having to resort to calling the police as the only line of support” it is also clear that there are a growing number of resources around the country which families are able to access. I know there aren’t nearly enough, but services often get a bad press and so I feel duty bound to remind us all that there are increasing numbers of people working hard to support families through their experience of violence and abuse, finding ways to restore healthy family relationships.*

We have often bemoaned the fact that, “if you can’t count it, it doesn’t count” – here we have proof that it is starting to count!**


* If you need help yourself, or for someone else, it is not easy to know where to go. There may be specific issues which will help direct you to a specialist agency. Otherwise you are welcome to look at my Directory page.

** I heard recently that the organisation Childline has now also introduced a separate code for recording child to parent violence, a very positive move.


Filed under Discussion, news reports

ACEs: Not a winning hand after all?

When the concept of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) broke onto the scene, with the dissemination and discussion of the CDC-Kaiser ACE study, this seemingly common-sense understanding of the link between painful experiences in childhood and poor outcomes later on in life was embraced by many as the new Holy Grail.

This American study had apparently found evidence across a large sample group of the impact of ten specific childhood experiences on adult health functioning; and the greater the number of adverse experiences, the worse the outcome. And it made perfect sense that someone taking an interest in you and your welfare early on might enable you to have a more secure sense of self and improve your life chances. The concentration on ACEs was timely, linking in with a focus on trauma-informed work, and the growing understanding of the the changes in the brain and the later outworking of developmental trauma by young children and even adults. Continue reading

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Safety Work

My son is now 15 and is going to live with his dad. I should have done it a long time ago. (Marley Carroll, November 2018)

At this point I am simply counting the days until she is 18. (Witsend, March 2019)

There are plenty of other similar comments on the Silent Suffering blogsite, and many other places where parents meet up to vent their pain and frustration, and to seek advice and help. An understandable response from a parent,  if the problem is one of regular and increasing violence and abuse over a protracted period of time; rather shocking that it has come to this point where parents feel they can no longer carry on; but ultimately not the preferred outcome if what we are aiming for from the start is greater safety all round. Continue reading

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CPV around the world: discussion and support.

I keep my eyes on a number of websites, discussion forums and journals, looking for content about child to parent violence. If you haven’t come across the website, Raising Devon, from Keri Williams, it’s well worth a look for information, comment and colour about living with children with conduct and attachment disorders in particular. Continue reading


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#CPV on Drivetime

A huge thank you to Eddie Nestor, of BBC Radio London Drivetime, who devoted more than half his programme yesterday to the topic of “children who hit their Mum.” You can catch the programme by following this link. The show is available till the end of May. Eddie starts off by interviewing Yvonne Newbold from about 1:21.00 and then takes calls from around 1:48:00.

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A response to the proposed changes to Domestic Abuse legislation in Britain

These comments are my own and do not necessarily represent those of other parties working and interested in the field of child to parent violence.

I have used the terms adolescent to parent abuse (APA), adolescent to parent violence (APV), child to parent violence (CPV), and parent abuse (PA) interchangeably, except where this has been made clear, to reflect the different usage at different times and by different people.


This week the Government published their landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, alongside the response to the Consultation, Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse. The Consultation looked at four specific areas:

  • promoting awareness
  • protecting and supporting victims
  • transforming the justice process and perpetrator response
  • and improving performance.

The Consultation Response and the Bill have been welcomed by many, particularly for the inclusion of economic abuse within the definition, recognition of the harm afforded to children and young people affected by domestic abuse (DA) within the family, for the protection afforded to victims and witnesses in court, and for the commitments to secure tenancies for those being rehoused. Nevertheless, there has been significant concern expressed about the need to translate words into actions, with adequate funding of services. Particular interest groups have rightly pointed out areas where they feel commitments could have been stronger, or where a change of direction is needed. Continue reading


Filed under Discussion, Law

CPV: Fighting for a kinder, person-centred response in the future

For the last few years it seems, in amongst all my other CPV posts, I have thought, discussed, and posted a lot about the experiences of adoptive parents experiencing violence or abuse from their children, but this year feels already like there’s going to be a lot of attention – rightly so – given to those struggling with the behaviour of their children with learning difficulties or disabilities. With the treatment of children and young people in assessment units very much in the news, expect to hear even more! For many, the conflation of this type of behaviour – identified as a response to anxiety and stress in the face of unreasonable (and often very reasonable) expectations – with deliberate, manipulative acts of violence and control from some neuro-typical children does not sit easily. Indeed, Yvonne Newbold has coined the term Violent Challenging Behaviour to make this distinction.

This post, Time to breathe out, from a mum blogging about Life with Aine, starts us off. Continue reading

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