Adolescent to parent violence has remained underexplored and largely unarticulated within the fields of youth justice, domestic violence, policing, and criminology, particularly in the UK. It is sometimes referred to as ‘parent abuse’, ‘child-to-parent abuse’, ‘child-to-parent violence’ or ‘battered parent syndrome’.

This website has developed from the ESRC-funded research project ‘Investigating Adolescent Violence towards Parents’ based in the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford. The site shares findings from the project and draws together knowledge and experience of APV from research, policy and practice.

‘Investigating Adolescent Violence towards Parents’ is a three year research project and the first large-scale study of APV in the UK. The research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number RES-061-25-0392].

The project aims to map the contours of the problem of adolescent to parent violence, exploring how it is defined, experienced and negotiated by parents and adolescents and how violent assaults committed by adolescents within the home are currently processed and managed within the criminal justice system. The research aims to increase the visibility and understanding of adolescent to parent violence and to develop clear recommendations for effective policies and appropriate interventions for these families and the criminal justice agencies they encounter.

A commonly used definition of this problem is ‘any act of a child that is intended to cause physical, psychological or financial damage in order to gain control over a parent’ (Cottrell, 2001: 3 ). For the purposes of this project, APV is defined to include any acts of violence, threats of violence, or criminal damage in the home by an adolescent (aged 13-19) towards a parent/carer.

APV is under-researched in the UK and there are no officially recorded data. However, evidence suggests that it is a significant problem and increasing numbers of parents report physical and/or verbal abuse from their children. A Parentline Plus (2010 ) survey revealed that the helpline received 22,537 calls from parents who were being abused by their children between June 2008 and June 2010. Our own research found almost 1900 cases of APV recorded as offences in the Metropolitan Police area in a one year period (Condry and Miles, 2013).

APV poses significant challenges to parents as it inverts traditional familial relationships of power and control. In addition to living in fear of assault, parents who are abused by their children report feelings of shame and blame and are reluctant to report the problem out of a fear of the consequences for their child. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding surrounding APV and little official policy or guidance on the issue. Current responses are inadequate and there is a lack of appropriate support for parent victims. Our project aims to raise awareness of the issue and develop recommendations for effective policy to help families experiencing APV.

The purpose of this website is to disseminate findings from our research project on APV and to bring together information and develop a network of academics and practitioners working in this field.

We welcome your comments and contributions – please click on join us or contact us for more information.

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