Everything is amplified, there’s no escape, and it’s not just the person being hurt who’s affected, it’s everyone that sees and hears it. The other children are traumatised by seeing us hurt.
Professor of Criminology, Rachel Condry, and Dr Caroline Miles, a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Manchester, have released a report which looks at families experiencing violence from their children during the pandemic.
They said, ‘When the UK went into lockdown, we became concerned about families experiencing Child/Adolescent to Parent Violence (C/APV) and designed a ‘fast’ piece of research.'
The study of families and social workers took place nationwide between April and June 2020. It involved an online survey with open-ended questions asking parents who had experienced violence from a child aged 10-19 years to tell researchers what they were experiencing during lockdown. Practitioners who work with families were also asked to share their experiences.
The report 'Experiences of adolescent to parent violence in the COVID-19 lockdown' details the findings of the study and builds on over a decade of research by Professor Condry and Dr Miles into Adolescent to Parent Violence (APV). They say, ‘This is not a new problem. Our previous work showed that, in London alone, in 2010, there were 1900 cases of APV reported to the police and recorded as offences.'
According to more than 100 parents and nearly 50 social work practitioners involved in the study, the ‘hidden problem’ of child and adolescent to parent violence (C/APV) has seen a significant increase in the lockdown.
Parents said lockdown pressures had made the problem worse. Being confined at home with the young person was described by one parent as having a ‘cabin fever effect’ and another said lockdown had created a ‘pressure cooker’ environment in an already volatile household.
One parent told the research team:
Professor Condry says, ‘C/APV has tended to be a ‘hidden’ form of family violence, both by families who experience stigma and shame for the actions of their child, and because of a lack of recognition in government policy and service planning. It is often the ‘poor relation’ in family violence….A child using violence in the family presents an opportunity – an opportunity to intervene, and an opportunity to prevent the child from becoming an adult perpetrator.'
In a series of recommendations, the report calls for increased planning and support from central government and local authorities, to prevent young people being criminalised and families being left to cope alone, if there is ever a return to lockdown.
The project is funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund and ESRC Impact Acceleration Account through the University of Oxford’s COVID-19: Economic, Social, Cultural, & Environmental Impacts - Urgent Response Fund.