About Child to Parent Abuse

parent abuse

Parent Abuse (PA), Child/Adolescent to Parent Abuse (C/APA) or Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (APVA), are terms used to describe a pattern of abusive behaviour, which may include physical violence, from a child towards a parent.

These patterns of behaviour often start from adolescence and may include threats and violence, damage to property, verbal and emotional abuse, and even financial abuse.  PA often involves coercive control, however this is not always the case and each circumstance is unique.
As PA tends to occur within a family unit, it is possible that other family members may also experience, or be affected by the abuse, such as siblings or grandparents.
PA is a complex issue and, although it is common for abusive children to have experienced trauma, often with a background of domestic violence or child abuse, this is not always the case and PA can affect families from any background.

The relationship between parents and children can make the issue of PA even more complicated and make it difficult to define the boundaries between ‘perpetrator’ and ‘victim’. Parents are likely to feel guilt and often shame about experiencing PA and may blame themselves for the abuse. They may feel isolated and fear that their parenting skills may be judged if they report the abuse. In addition to this, they may prioritise concerns for the abusive child over their own wellbeing, and fear that reporting the abuse could lead to criminalisation or have a negative impact on the child's future, or even that the child could be removed from their care.

Despite a growing prevalence of Parent Abuse, unfortunately, there is still very little awareness, or support available and it may be difficult to know where to turn for help. At Domestic Abuse Survivors' Alliance we have experience of PA and we can provide a safe space for anyone who might want to talk about their experiences and feelings with people who understand. However, although we are a peer support group, we are not a Domestic Abuse Advise Service and are not able to offer official advice or intervention. If you require further support, there are some links below which might be of help.

Information guide on Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (APVA)

Brighton & Hove Council Family Services Directory

Responding to child or adolescent to parent abuse.

Supporting parents, grandparents, carers, young people and professionals.