Child to parent violence: “a constant battle with no-one to turn to”


Domestic abuse continues to be a challenging social problem in the UK today. But whilst violence perpetrated by an abusive partner, or a child abuser, are recognised forms of aggression, a different form of domestic violence is on the rise in homes across Britain – child to parent violence (CPV). Nima Green takes an in-depth look into a growing problem affecting families that is both under-reported and easily misunderstood.

“He hit me at school, it was horrible and I didn’t know how to stop it. There was no-one to turn to, there were no services and it was hard for both of us.”

That was Amy. She lives with her 15-year-old son Will in North East London, and from the age of 10, Will was physically and verbally abusive towards her.

“She tried to control me but I wasn’t with it, I tried to hit her. I hit her in the face…I flipped out real bad. I’ve kicked my mum, punched my mum, and broken quite a lot of stuff in the house.” Will said.

Amy and Will are not alone.

In September this year, the first study, investigating how prevalent child to parent violence is in the UK, found that between 2009 and 2010, there were 1,890 cases that were reported to police in London alone.

Parents reluctant to go to police

Dr Rachel Condry, from the Oxford University’s Centre for Criminology, concluded that the real number of child to parent violence, also known as adolescent to parent violence, is likely to be much higher, due to reluctance by parents to go to the police because of “feelings of shame for not being able to establish discipline within the family.”

Currently there are only a handful of support services in the UK who deal with CPV.

And the challenge for parents is that the usual message for domestic violence victims is to move on from violent relationships.

But you can’t really do that with your own child.

ORIGINALLY BROADCAST on the Russian World Service UK Bureau on Mon 25th Nov 2013.

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