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Adolescent to parent violence (APV)

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What is APV?

Adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA), adolescent to parent violence (APV), and child to parent violence (CPV) are recognised as a form of domestic abuse. Depending on the age of the child, it may fall under the government definition of domestic violence and abuse.

Violence and abuse can occur together or separately. It can present as explosive physical violence, humiliating language and threats, belittling a parent, damage to property, or stealing from a parent.

What do we know?

It is widely recognised amongst services, but policy has only recently begun to address the issue. It is difficult to determine the scale of APV as reports to the police will only represent a small percentage of actual incidents.

There are certain indicators which agencies should be aware of which provide an early signal of risk or propensity of risk increasing.

What are the challenges in identifying APV? 

  • Lack of awareness of APVA among the general public
  • Silence surrounding APV
  • Victims may:
    • be isolated
    • feel guilt or shame
    • worry they may be blamed or not believed
    • have concerns it will not be taken seriously or they will be held to account

What do we need to change?

  • Improve early identification of APV
  • Increase number of victims who disclose and seek help from services
  • Have a strong public message that increases awareness of APV and challenges behaviour

Prevention is better than cure – ensure early intervention to reduce the number of perpetrators.

Identifying the prevalence of risk of APV

Environmental factors, emotional self-regulation, history of domestic violence or abuse, secondary victim of DA and/or behavioural problems, substance abuse, mental health problems, learning difficulties or self- harm.

How should practitioners support victims and families experiencing APV?

Ensure the immediate safety of the victim, understand through assessment and observation, and establish what the parent/victim wants to happen.

It is important that a young person using abusive behaviour against a parent receives a safeguarding response. Multi-agency working and coordination between frontline professionals is crucial.

Best practice guidance for dealing with APV

  • Coordinated support plan and inter-agency assessment coordinated by lead professional.
  • Professionals 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.
  • Link to the relevant assessment framework being used by the agency and provide a holistic approach to safety and wellbeing.
  • 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.

Safety planning for APV

  • 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

Middlesbrough care pathway for APV

  • Complete Safer Referral (available via the Tees CPP website) – the child or young person may have safeguarding needs and need a safeguarding response.
  • In cases involving 16 and 17 year olds, professional judgement will be required to decide whether the MARAC or safeguarding route is more appropriate (for more information, see the MARAC and DASH Risk Assessment Checklist one minute guides).
  • Refer to children and young people therapeutic domestic abuse service Harbour for group or one to one support, by calling 03000 20 25 25.

Additional information and guidance

The Home Office has produced the information guide ‘adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA)’ which is available online.

Key contacts

If you suspect that domestic abuse is present, you should follow your agency’s safeguarding procedures. This may include contacting the Multi-Agency Children's Hub if there are children in the home, by calling 01642 130700 (or 01642 524 552 for out of hours).

There are leaflets about APV, as well as other sources of information and support in relation to domestic abuse, available from Middlesbrough Council’s domestic abuse website.

You can contact Cleveland Police on 101. In an emergency always ring 999. If you would like additional help and support on domestic abuse, then you can contact any of the following:

  • My Sisters Place on 01642 241864
  • Harbour on 03000 20 25 25
  • Halo on 01642 683045

If you need more information please contact Claire Moore, domestic abuse lead for Middlesbrough Council, on 01642 728691.

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