A qualitative exploration of practitioners' understanding of and response to child-to-parent aggression

Sarah O'Toole, Stella Tsermentseli, Claire Monks, Athanasia Papastergiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been limited research and policy directed toward defining and understanding child-to-parent aggression (CPA), resulting in inconsistent definitions, understandings, and responses, which has a detrimental impact on families. In particular, there have been limited qualitative studies of those working on the frontline of CPA, hindering the development of effective policy. The present qualitative study therefore aimed to explore practitioner perspectives of CPA. Twenty-five practitioners from diverse fields (e.g., youth justice, police, charities) participated in four focus groups relating to their experiences of working with CPA in the United Kingdom. Thematic analysis of focus groups revealed three key themes: definitions of CPA, understanding of CPA risk factors, and responding to CPA. Practitioners understood CPA to be a broad use of aggression to intimidate and control parents and highlighted a range of individual (e.g., mental health, substance abuse) and social (e.g., parenting, gangs) risk factors for CPA. Further, practitioners felt that current methods of reporting CPA were ineffective and may have a detrimental impact on families. The findings of this study have implications for CPA policy and support the need for a multiagency and coordinated strategy for responding to CPA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP8274-NP8296
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2020


  • Child-to-parent aggression
  • family violence
  • parent abuse
  • qualitative
  • practitioners


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