14th June 2015 CHILD TO PARENT VIOLENCE by Ruth Adams

It came out of the blue, her first violent incident and I wish I could recall clearly the earlier events of that day.

We’d visited grandparents on the coast and had stopped for petrol at a service station on the way home. An argument between my two ‘forever’ daughters as we went inside to pay, about which one should go through the door first, continued on into the area near the toilet. My youngest daughter managed to get into the toilet first and locked the door behind her. As I came alongside her sister, who was waiting outside, she lashed out, kicking me between the legs, hitting me across the face and screaming and shouting. As I tried to calm her, protect myself and diffuse the situation, she continued kicking, punching and hitting me. Then when her sister came out of the toilet, she ran in, sat in a corner and refused to move. We were still 100 miles from home!

Something had triggered this violent response to a seemingly small spat between siblings. Had something happened to upset her, during what I thought had been a pleasant and fun day at the beach, when we had been together all the time? Was it to do with her sister going in through the door first? If so, why? I will never know what triggered it, but from that point on, the attacks became more frequent. As soon as she perceived she was being challenged or questioned or asked to do something she didn’t want to do the potential for violence was always there.

As she got older the attacks became more frequent and more violent and back then no-one talked about CPV – Child to Parent Violence.

How I wish the report, published last week, ‘Responding to Child to Parent Violence’ had been available then. It’s well worth reading at www.rcpv.eu. It’s a cross country mapping of the extent and knowledge of CPV in England, Spain, Bulgaria and Sweden. It states that ‘Child to Parent Violence (CPV) is the most hidden, misunderstood and stigmatised form of family violence. It involves teenage and younger girls and boys who use physical, psychological, emotional and financial abuse over time to the extent that parents/carers live in fear of their child’.

Thankfully this problem is now being acknowledged and training and resources are available to support families who live with the effects of CPV.

Do get in touch if we can help you with this.

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