Tag Archives: adolescent to parent abuse

CPA by any other name…

I have always welcomed guest posts on this blog, and so it was good to be able to invite Michelle John of PEGS to contribute to our mutual learning and understanding of the issues. Michelle is the Founding Director of PEGS, and has the rare combination of a background in domestic abuse advocacy, lived experience, and the willingness and ability to speak up for her fellow parents. Michelle and her team support hundreds of parents impacted by CPA, alongside delivering impactful training for organisations such as police forces and local authorities, campaigning nationally for policy change, undertaking speaking engagements and raising awareness of the issue.

When it comes to describing abuse directed towards a parent, carer or guardian, there are so many phrases in circulation. While to some extent, what we call the abuse is secondary to the action we are taking to reduce it and support those impacted by the issue, it is important that we use words which don’t lead to misconceptions.

When I set up PEGS, myself and my team made the decision to refer to CPA or Child to Parent Abuse. At the time, this was at odds with the definition of ‘Adolescent to Parent Violence or Abuse (APVA)’ used in Home Office guidance and other professional literature. But the crux of our decision was the potential of shunning the majority of parents if we promoted that our services were for those experiencing APVA. An adolescent is a person aged 13 to 18. By contrast, you are always your parents’ child – whether you are 1 or 51. Finding organisations set up to support them, and then taking the leap of actually asking for the help they need, is incredibly difficult for all parents impacted by CPA; with that in mind, we wanted to make sure our language was as inclusive as possible so we didn’t put off anyone whose child had either not yet entered their teen years or had already reached adulthood.

The results of our first parental survey – undertaken in November 2020 – back up the general consensus that many cases of CPA start well before the teen years. More than half of our families had started experiencing abusive or violent behaviour when their child was aged 12 or below – and a significant number had children who were just 5 when the CPA began. We’re currently mid-way through our second survey so the results haven’t yet been collated, but looking at the data from the responses we have so far supports the fact that CPA really is happening within all types of families.

We know that CPA is under-reported (and historically under-researched) so it’s really important for all of us involved in campaigning, supporting and/or researching collectively eradicate this perception that the problem is limited to a handful of teenage boys being physically abusive. Both research and anecdotal evidence are beginning to build up a picture of every single type of family being impacted by CPA.

Even if their child is not tall enough or strong enough to physically overpower them, CPA takes many forms and coercion, threats, stealing and many other types of abuse are not restricted by the size or force of the person displaying the behaviours (or the person on the receiving end). 

That’s why at PEGS, we’ll continue to use the term Child to Parent Abuse and encourage others to do so, too.

Many thanks Michelle, for your insights and your support for families. We look forward to further posts from her in the future.
If you would like to contribute anything, whether from your work or experience, learning or practice, please do get in touch!

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Does the Domestic Abuse Bill go far enough in addressing adolescent to parent abuse?

Coinciding with the third reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill in Parliament, Caroline Miles and Rachel Condry argue that, as it stands,  it represents a missed opportunity in the development of understanding of and provision for families experiencing adolescent to parent violence. (published July 6th 2020)

Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-2021: Does the inclusion of ‘relatives’ go far enough in addressing the issue of adolescent to parent violence?

 

  • The Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-2021 covers violence and abuse from children (aged 16 and over) towards their parents but stops short of identifying violence from children towards parents as a specific subtype of domestic abuse.
  • The omission risks adult to parent violence remaining an invisible phenomenon that is not readily identified, recorded or counted, and also misses an opportunity to develop a national policy response.
  • The Bill creates an offence covering 16-18 year old perpetrators but no guidance as to what police powers should be used to deal with domestic violence and abuse by children, especially when perpetrated towards parents.
  • There needs to be a coherent and strategic police response to adult to parent violence, which addresses the needs of parents but also recognises the safeguarding needs of adolescents.

Read the full blog on the University of Manchester website here.

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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

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CPV: Looking forward with hope

Well, it’s been an interesting year, culminating in a hectic last few weeks!

Thinking about what to write today I flicked back through old reports, including that written by Parentline Plus ten years ago, “You can’t say go and sit on the naughty step because they turn round and say make me”. In some ways it feels as if nothing has changed, the same stories from parents, the same understanding of background risk factors, the same difficulties in accessing help. But what does feel different is the volume of coverage, and the gradually changing tone. Continue reading

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Something to read

I’ve read a number of useful papers and other documents recently, which I have tweeted and also added to the Reading List page, but I thought it worth bringing them all together here as well.

“Am I Really a Bad Parent?” from Nancy Brule and Jessica Eckstein, looks at a communication management model of stigma and explores how parents’ responses to abuse can be understood within this framework. It has some cautionary reminders about the search for causes of adolescent to parent abuse, and also some comments on the impact on siblings. There is not so much written about this aspect of family interaction and so this is a welcome inclusion.

Caring for those who care for violent and aggressive children, is a paper from Adapt Scotland. There are some statistics relevant to the Scottish situation, but the remainder of the paper gives a very concise and helpful understanding of aggressive behaviour in children. Adapt Scotland offer trauma and attachment based mentoring and therapeutic work for families and professionals.

Supporting Adolescents on the Edge of Care. The role of short term stays in residential care, is an evidence scope from Dixon, Lee, Ellison and Hicks for the NSPCC and Action for Children. It asks what is meant by the term “edge of care”, considers different models of residential care, both in Britain and elsewhere; and looks at the usefulness or otherwise for young people (and families) of such an experience. With much debate around the use of Care for children who are violent towards their parents and other family members, I found this an interesting paper to read.

I will continue to publicise other reports and papers as I come across them, and always welcome suggestions and recommendations!

 

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Adolescent to parent abuse as a form of DV?

Two recent things of interest from Amanda Holt:

A journal article looking at similarities and differences between adolescent to parent and intimate partner violence; and a seminar addressing this issue at Oxford Brookes University last month. You can hear Amanda and see the slides from this presentation here.

 

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A PhD in Adolescent to Parent Violence?

A double treat today from bits and pieces I picked up last week.

First, the opportunity to study for a PhD in adolescent to parent violence with Amanda Holt, at Roehampton University from this September.

parentabuse PhD

More details on this available here.

Secondly, news that Coronation Street will feature a storyline about child to parent violence later this year.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 09.07.28

As soon as I hear more detail about the timing of this I will be sure to let you know!

 

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New Year, New Reading

I have recently been sent links to new and additional published articles in the field of adolescent to parent abuse; and have updated the Reading List page accordingly.

A paper by Caroline Miles and Rachel Condry, Adolescent to parent violence: the police response to parents reporting violence from their children, further develops the discussion arising from the findings of their three-year research project. This paper specifically examines police responses and suggests a way forward that offers support and restorative action for families. (Abstract here.)

Declan Coogan has a paper entitled Responding to Child-to-Parent Violence: Innovative Practices in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, in the Health and Social Work Journal, Special Issue: Child and Adolescent Health. (Abstract here) He considers obstacles in the recognition of, and response to, child to parent violence, and proposes the Non Violent Resistance Programme as a positive way forward.

Sally Donovan’s second book about the experiences of adoptive parenting, The Unofficial Guide,  offers a further raw and powerful account of living with children traumatised by earlier life. She offers practical steps and guidance for parents, but the book is well worth reading for anyone involved in the adoption or CPV field.

I’ve also tidied up the links to the Family Lives / Parentline reports as I have been told they have been difficult to find on the website. Hopefully that is now improved.

Please do let me know about any other books or articles to add to the list. It is not exhaustive by any means, and certainly does not include early work, which I should get round to adding at some point!

In the meantime, Happy Reading!

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Some book reviews

A couple of reviews for Amanda Holt’s text, Adolescent-to-Parent Abuse: Current Understandings in Research, Policy and Practice, have been brought to my attention recently.

Janet Jamieson has a review in the journal Youth Justice, and Sarah Galvani in Social Work Education: the international journal.

Both are very positive, commenting on the dearth of available literature, and drawing attention to the usefulness, to those from many backgrounds and fields of work, of the text itself.

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Everybody Hurts: Parent abuse on Radio Sheffield

The top story on the Radio Sheffield breakfast programme yesterday morning (October 3rd) was to do with the launch of a support group for parents being abused by their children in the Sheffield area. Toby Foster gave a very sympathetic hearing to “Anne”, who established the group to reach out to parents in the same position as herself. She has a son, now 14, who has been violent towards first his sister and then herself and others since he was 7 years old. He now has a diagnosis of Aspergers, but Anne stressed that violence to parents  was not only perpetrated by young people with health issues. Continue reading

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