Respect definition of Child and Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse - CAPVA

Respect uses the term Child and Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (CAPVA) to describe the dynamic where a young person (8 years -18 years) engages in abusive behaviour (by abusive behaviour we mean more than physical violence, but including emotional, coercive, or controlling behaviour, sexual abuse, and economic abuse) towards a parent or adult carer where the abusive behaviour is harmful and repeated. 
Read the full definition here

CAPVA involves a pattern of violence and abusive behaviour aimed towards a parent or carer by their child or adolescent. 

The abuse can be physical, financial, emotional or psychological. It can also include damage to property and may include abuse towards other family members particularly siblings.

The resulting impact on families can be devastating with high levels of distress, and an impact on the mental health of all those involved. 

There isn’t an agreed definition for CAPVA and reporting and recording are inconsistent. It is often recorded alongside other incidents therefore it is difficult to be confident about prevalence rates.


  • Between 6th March 2019 and the 4th of January 2020 Northumbria police responded to 515 incidents of CAPVA, an average of two per day 
  • Australian researcher Eddie Gallagher estimates that between 2-5% of young people engage in behaviour that can be described as CAPVA, where the abusive behaviour is serious and repeated.
  • Respect and Numbers for Good undertook research to understand the prevalence of CAPVA in agency caseloads. We found the prevalence in Youth Offending Service caseloads to be between 21-27%. and between 64-67% of police Domestic Abuse incidents where the suspect was under 18. 
  • We also found very significant levels in the Children’s Social Care/Early Help caseloads.

There is no isolated reason why a family will experience CAPVA. Therefore, interventions require practitioners to respond effectively to range issues that impact on family dynamics, a young person’s behaviour and their development. 

The Respect Young People’s Programme (RYPP) is well evidenced intervention designed to address CAPVA. To read more on RYPP click here.

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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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