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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Children on parent violence

What is CPV ?

Violence and aggression from children towards their parents is one of the biggest taboos in family life. It is one of the most hidden and misunderstood of the different forms of family violence. CPV is a pattern of physical, psychological and emotional behaviour seen in children and adolescents who cannot regulate their feelings in other ways, and/or have a great need to gain control over their parent(s) or carers.


  • There are low levels of reporting of CPV. Parents may want to avoid criminalising their child. Asking for help can feel very shaming and can prevent parents seeking the help they need.
  • CPV is recognised as a risk factor in adoptive and other permanent placements.
  • Aggression is among the most common challenges reported by parents of children and adolescents with autism.
  • The most common factor by far is previous domestic abuse between adults in the child’s life.
  • Parents with mental health/drug related issues represent 42% of reported cases.
  • 35% of reported cases have an EHCP.
  • Schools are the most common referrers to support services and the place parents seek help in the first instance.

Short-term advice for schools

It is important for practitioners to believe victims and take their concerns seriously and validate the impact on them. Initial safety concerns or basic safety planning should always be addressed. Schools should approach C/APV as they would any other safeguarding issue, in line with the statutory guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019.

Longer-term advice for schools

Violent or aggressive behaviour in children is often motivated by fear and anxiety. School can be a protective factor for children and so schools should ensure that they are particularly aware that the child’s safety needs are a vital part of their response to CPV.

  • Use relational approaches e.g. Attachment Based Mentoring (ABM)
  • Make use of the Overcoming Anxiety programme
  • Use activities from the FREE2BEME packs to structure thinking and discussions around safe and healthy relationships
  • Employ Restorative Approaches
  • Look into the Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) approach
  • J W-U 2020

Further help, support and useful links

National Autistic Society: Challenging Behaviour
Post-Adoption Centre: PAC Advice Line
Creswell & Willetts: Overcoming Your Child’s Fears and Worries
Haim Omer: Nonviolent Resistance, a new approach to violent and self-destructive children
FREE2BME packs: already in school or available from the SEMH Team
ITV News: Children Who Abuse Their Parent

Download a printable version of this guide.