About child to parent abuse

Child-to-parent abuse can involve children of all ages. It is important to remember that this form of abuse, though commonly referred to as CAPVA, can not only include parents, but also those with parental responsibility, siblings, or grandparents.

All forms of domestic abuse may occur, and it can lead to fatal consequences. Adults experiencing CAPVA will feel worried, upset and fearful for their safety from the child. So, it must be treated seriously and not seen as a parental failure.

Is CAPVA Domestic Abuse?

Yes and No! The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 clearly states in its statutory definition of domestic abuse, that both the victim and perpetrator must be aged 16 years or over.

So yes, if the CAPVA is occurring where a child aged 16 years or over is causing harm to an adult relative, then it is domestic abuse.

If the child is aged below 16 years old then no, this does not meet the statutory definition of domestic abuse. Instead, this is considered a child protection concern.

What Support Can I Offer or Refer To?

If the child is aged 16 years or over

Always complete a DASH risk assessment for the adult victim. Then using this make a referral for the victim as appropriate (consent dependent on risk) to the Somerset Domestic Abuse Service.

Make a referral (with consent) to the Somerset Domestic Abuse Service for the child.

If the child is aged under 16 years

Complete an Early Help Assessment and refer to the Effective Support document.

Where it is known that the child has also witnessed domestic abuse, then a referral can be made to SIDAS who may be able to offer an intervention to both the child and support to the parent. This is because the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 states that children under 18 years old are classed as victims when they have witnessed domestic abuse.

Where it’s either not known or is the case that no domestic abuse was witnessed by the child, then this would not fall within the remit of SIDAS. Support would normally be via Children’s Services.

Get More Information

Complete the free domestic abuse training online here

This includes a module specifically on Adolescent to Parent Abuse together with modules to help you understand more about domestic abuse and how to respond.

Last reviewed: September 11, 2023 by Jennifer

Next review due: March 11, 2024

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