Research Objectives

‘Investigating Adolescent Violence towards Parents’ has five key objectives:

1. To map the contours of the problem of adolescent to parent violence. What are the different ways that the problem of adolescent to parent violence is constructed and understood? What proportion of domestic violence cases reported to the police involve adolescent to parent violence and how often does it arise in youth justice? What are the similarities or differences to intimate partner violence? Can we understand parents who experience violence from their adolescent children as victims of crime, with specific victims’ rights? How might we reconcile this with notions of parental responsibility for offending? How is this form of violence gendered and how does gender intersect with kin relationship and with other important factors such as ethnicity and socio-economic status?

2. To explore how adolescent to parent violence is experienced and negotiated by parents. There is very little research that examines the problem from the perspective of parents. How has the violence developed in the parent-child relationship? How does the violence affect relationships with and between parents, siblings, and other family members, and where does the problem fit in the trajectory of their family lives? How do parents understand the problem and its causes? How do parents manage and negotiate living with violence or the threat of violence? What influences decisions to report the violence? Have parents received support from any agencies in the past and what has been their experience of this?

3. To explore the perspectives of adolescent perpetrators. Adolescents rarely appear as participants in the literature on adolescent to parent violence. How do adolescents understand the episodes of violence within the trajectories of their family lives? How do adolescents understand the problem and its causes? How do adolescents describe their family relationships and their experiences with the police and youth justice and other agencies?

4. To investigate how violent assaults committed by adolescents to parents within the home are currently processed and managed within and outside of the criminal justice system. The focus will be particularly on police practice and youth justice. Why is it such a hidden and unarticulated issue? Is it treated as domestic violence, and if so what are the similarities and differences in how the problem is managed? Is domestic assault by adolescents within the home processed in the same way as violent assault by adolescents outside the home? Does this vary with offender age? What other services do the police and youth justice services utilise to support these families? How cases progress, what are their characteristics, and what are the outcomes?

5. To develop practical policy recommendations for parents and young people in families experiencing adolescent to parent violence, police, youth justice, and others who work with these families. What might be the most effective ways of managing adolescent to parent violence cases? How might these families best be supported? What interventions might be appropriate and effective? How might interventions be sensitive to cultural, gender and socio-economic differences?


Research Methods

Investigating Adolescent Violence towards Parents draws upon the following data sources:

1. Metropolitan police data – to gauge the prevalence and nature of reported cases and the socio-demographic characteristics of families who report APV to the police.

2. Police case file data – police files of reported cases of APV provide an insight into the nature of incidents that are reported to the police, the socio-demographic characteristics of families who experience APV, and how reported cases are responded to by the police.

3. Interviews with police, youth justice case workers and expert practitioners from outside the criminal justice system explore issues such as how APV is understood, how it is identified and responded to, what kind of a response or help families experiencing APV want or expect, and what kind of barriers there are to reporting APV and accessing help and support.

4. Interviews with parents and adolescents explore how APV is experienced and understood, how it fits in with and affects family life and relationships, barriers to seeking help and support, how and when it is reported and responded to, and what kind of support these families need.