Child to parent violence

What is Child to Parent Violence (CPV)?

Child to Parent Violence (CPV) is an often hidden serious social problem

  • It involves teenage and younger boys and girls who use physical, psychological, emotional or financial abuse to gain power over their parent/s or carers
  • CPV reverses the usual power relationship where the parent/s or carer/s have authority in relation to their sons or daughters
  • CPV is not the kind of unruly behaviour children display but when a child persistently uses more severe abuse and or violence to get their own way
  • Parents find it hard to admit to themselves, let alone others, what they are experiencing from their child

Cottrell (2003) describes child to parent violence as “…any harmful act by a teenage child intended to gain power and control over a parent. The abuse can be physical, psychological, or financial.”
Violent behavior includes threats, intimidation, property destruction, degrading language and physical violence.

Home Office guidance concerning adolescent to parent abuse

Adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA) may be referred to as ‘adolescent to parent violence (APV)’ ‘adolescent violence in the home (AVITH)’, ‘parent abuse’, ‘child to parent abuse’, ‘child to parent violence (CPV)’, or ‘battered parent syndrome’.

The cross-Government definition of domestic violence and abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. While this definition applies to those aged 16 or above, APVA can equally involve children under 16, and the advice in this document reflects this.

There is currently no legal definition of adolescent to parent violence and abuse. However, it is increasingly recognised as a form of domestic violence and abuse and, depending on the age of the child, it may fall under the government’s official definition of domestic violence and abuse.

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