When we think about domestic abuse and violence we usually think about this happening between partners in an intimate relationship. Whilst this accounts for the majority of incidents of domestic abuse, it is also possible for parents to be abused by their children. This is known as Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse, and because of the family dynamic is recognised as a form of domestic abuse. The kinds of abuse used by a child against a parent are much the same as those used by older abusive individuals.
Domestic abuse is complex and APVA is no different. There are many factors that may contribute towards a child abusing their parent, but there is no definitive explanation for it. Sometimes there may be no identifiable reason. Contributory factors may include (but this is in no way an exhaustive list):
- a history of domestic abuse and violence in the family
- substance misuse
- mental health problems
- learning difficulties
- being a victim of bullying or involvement with a gang
Parents who are abused by their children may not report it because they are ashamed as they see it as a failing of their parenting ability; that they don’t want to get their child into trouble or be taken into care. Some parents, however, do want to access help and support because the abuse or violence is so bad that they live in fear of their child.
More information, help and advice can be found on the Family Lives website.
If you need local help and support, please contact Torbay Domestic Abuse Service. In an emergency, always contact the police on 999.
If you are a professional looking for information, visit the Training & Resources page to read the Government’s guidance on Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse.