Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse

1. Definition of Adolescent Parental Violence and Abuse (AVPA)

There is currently no legal definition of adolescent to parent violence and abuse however it may be referred to as: Adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA) '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.

It is important to recognise that APVA is likely to involve a pattern of behaviour. This can include physical violence from an adolescent towards a parent and a number of different types of abusive behaviours, including damage to property, emotional abuse, and economic/financial abuse. Violence and abuse can occur together or separately. Abusive behaviours can encompass, but are not limited to, humiliating language and threats, belittling a parent, damage to property and stealing from a parent and heightened sexualised behaviours. Patterns of coercive control are often seen in cases of APVA, but some families might experience episodes of explosive physical violence from their adolescent with fewer controlling, abusive behaviours. Although practitioners may be required to respond to a single incident of APVA, it is important to gain an understanding of the pattern of behaviour behind an incident and the history of the relationship between the young person and the parent.

2. Risk Assessment with Young People perpetrating APVA

There are specific factors to consider when working with young people who are involved in adolescent to parent abuse:

Environmental factors:

  • Is there a history of domestic abuse within the family unit?
  • Is the young person in an abusive intimate relationship?
  • Are adult services involved with the family?
  • Is the young person being coerced into abusive behaviours?
  • Is the young person displaying heightened sexualised behaviours?
  • Is the young person associating with peer groups who are involved in offending or older peers?
  • Are Children's Services currently involved with the family?
  • Should a risk assessment be conducted on the siblings to see if they are at risk of violence and/or contributing to the violence?
  • Is the young person isolated from people and services that could support them?
  • Is there a risk that the young person is being bullied?
  • Are there BME issues that need to be considered or that may affect a victim's disclosure?

Emotional self-regulation:

  • Does the young person have difficulties in forming relationships?
  • Does the young person have mental health issues, self-harm or suicidal tendencies?
  • Is the young person disengaged from education?
  • Is the young person misusing substances?
  • Does the young person display an obsessive use of violent games or pornography?
  • Does the young person have poor coping skills or engage in risk taking behaviours?
  • Does the young person identify their behaviour as abuse?

3. Response to the Young Person

It is important that a young person using abusive behaviour against a parent receives an appropriate safeguarding response as well as the victim.

Young people may need support from a wide range of local agencies. Where a young person could benefit from coordinated support from more than one agency (e.g. education, health, social care, and police) there should be an inter-agency assessment. These early assessments (such as the use of the early help assessment (EHA)) should identify what help the young person requires to prevent their needs and behaviour escalating to a point where intervention would be needed via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989.

A RIC Screening Tool has been developed to help your assessment.

4. Response to the Victim

Where adolescent to parent abuse involves a victim who meets the Care Act safeguarding adults definition i.e.

A person who:

  1. Has needs for care and support(whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs);
  2. Is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  3. As a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

Adult Safeguarding procedures should be followed. This will allow multi agency information to be gathered, a shared risk assessment to be collated and a safety plan agreed for the family.

5. Strategy Meeting

As part of the adult safeguarding procedures, a strategy meeting will be convened to which all interested parties will be invited. Children's services will be integral to this meeting and it will be expected that where the child has an allocated worker from children's social care, then that worker will be in attendance. Where the case is not previously known to children's social care, the Senior Practitioner or Team Manager for the area in which the child lives will attend so that the meeting can benefit from local service knowledge.

Working Together states that whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm, there should be a strategy discussion involving the local authority Children's Social Care (Social Worker and their Manager), the Police, Health and other such relevant bodies, such as the referring agency. This may take the form of a multi-agency strategy meeting or telephone calls. The Strategy Meeting must take place within two working days of the identification of the significant harm concerns.

The Strategy Discussion/Meeting must include adult care representation.

The Strategy Discussion/Meeting should decide as to whether the threshold is met to initiate a Section 47 child protection enquiry and a Child and Family assessment.

6. Assessment and Initial Child Protection Conference

If an Initial Child Protection Conference has not been held, consideration should be given to the multi-agency Care Team completing a Vulnerability Checklist for consideration by the multi-agency Risk Management Group. This decision must take into account the age and stage of development of the child or young person (generally, children and young people under 16 would not be subject to the RMG) and be proportionate to the perceived level of risk.

As a minimum, a Child and Family assessment should be completed on all cases where there are APVA and must include the multi-agency contribution of all relevant professionals known to the family.

The Care Plan must clearly set out the immediate and longer term actions and safety plan required to safeguard and support the family, the visiting frequency; including the detail of any direct work to be undertaken with the child.

The Care Plan must also be formally reviewed 4-6 weekly by the multi-agency Care Team/Core Group with 4 weekly formal supervision from the Senior Practitioner or Team Manager. Where the plans are not progressing or the risks are increasing, the Team Manager must share and discuss this with the Senior Manager.

7. Safety Planning

Safety planning is a practical process that practitioners can use with anyone affected by domestic violence and abuse. It should be a core element of working in partnership with victims and other agencies, taking into account the outcomes of risk assessment and risk management. Safety planning involves more than assessing potential future risk; it can help create psychological safety, space to recover and freedom from fear. Other members of the household's responses to questions about what they do when there is violence or abuse should be considered in safety planning. Risk assessments can assist safety planning and should aim to:

  • Help to understand the parent's fear and experiences as well as the fears of the young person;
  • Use and build on existing positive coping strategies;
  • Provide a safe physical space to recover;
  • Link to the relevant assessment framework being used by the agency and provide a holistic approach to safety and well-being;
  • Be part of a continuous process and ensure that safety planning links into the overall plan for the victim and is not completed as an isolated process;
  • Ensure safety plans are tailored to the individual. A 'one size fits all' approach is ineffective and potentially dangerous.

Trix procedures

Only valid for 48hrs