Today Respect welcomes the launch of major new research into Child/Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (CAPVA) from the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). The research was commissioned by the VRU to reveal the true scale and nature of CAPVA in London, as well as reflecting on the interventions and support available for young people and their families.

Respect has long known that families are reluctant to report CAPVA, and that when they do, the support available to them is patchy and inconsistent. This report confirms those concerns, revealing important truths about CAPVA.

  • 40% of parents or carers experiencing CAPVA refuse to report it.
  • The majority of CAPVA cases involve boys in late adolescence and their mothers, and is most likely to be physical violence
  • Parents/carers interviewed said they only contacted the police at crisis points when they felt they had no other choice and were afraid for their physical safety.
  • All parents/carers affected said they had experienced multiple incidents of violence before reaching crisis point.

The VRU’s recommendations echo Respect’s calls for a standard definition for CAPVA. Currently, children under 16 are treated as adult perpetrators of domestic abuse, which means data around CAPVA is sparse, awareness is low, and provision is uneven and poorly funded. Creating a definition would enable professionals to identify and monitor cases more easily, helping families access the support they need.

Another of the VRU's recommendations is for multi-agency collaboration. In a report commissioned by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner & written by Respect, we called on the Government to create a national policy for addressing CAPVA, which would guide agencies, services and practitioners supporting families. We are still keen to see the development of such a policy to ensure agencies know the role they need to play in addressing this issue. 

The VRU also calls for support for practitioners to increase awareness of where families can get support for this specific form of abuse. Respect supports this recommendation. We know from our work with families affected by CAPVA that creating clear pathways to tailored services (for both families and professionals) is critical in addressing this behaviour and supporting families.

We are pleased to see this research taking place in London and would like to see the recommendations embedded both in the capital and beyond.

Read the Violence Reduction Unit's full report here.

Respect is a registered charity in England and Wales, number 1141636, in Scotland, number SC051284 and a company, number 7582438. Registered address: Hubhub, 20 Farringdon St, London EC4A 4EN
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