Working with Child to Parent Violence and Abuse

Many practitioners working with children and families will have received training in some areas of family violence. Identifying and responding to Child Abuse in families is likely to have been part of their foundation training.  Domestic Violence training has been available to those who support families for many years now. Other forms of violence -such as Elder Abuse- have also been identified and public campaigns on these types of family violence and abuse have been rolled out. However, Child to Parent Violence and Abuse (CPVA) is a relatively new category of family violence that has been identified in recent years. Beginning in Ireland with the work of Dr. Declan Coogan (NUIG) , CPVA is now being discussed in many Irish child welfare arenas. Dr. Coogan’s research in Ireland and his work - alongside Eileen Lauster - as National Lead in a European Project on CPVA ,culminated in the adaptation of the Non-Violent Resistance Programme for use in the Irish Context. A detailed account of this European Project and the implementation of the NVR programme can be found at and

Our colleagues in child welfare and family support are talking about an increase in child to parent violence, abuse and aggression. Many of these situations are presenting to Social Work departments around the country.  However, it can be difficult to identify this type of family violence. The child is generally presented as the problem. Practitioners may hear extensive evidence of how the child is so difficult, 'hard to reach', 'out of control', 'beyond talking to' and so on. Parents often locate the difficulty firmly within the child. The response may be to place the child on a waiting list for assessment. With long waiting lists, this can be a missed opportunity. The NVR programme does not require the cooperation of the child or young person and yet it has been shown to have very good results in reducing violence from children towards their parents. The NVR programme has increased awareness of many Irish professionals about this type of violence and has equipped them to deal more effectively with it.

Our service provides training in the use of the NVR programme for those working with children and families. This training consists of two full days. In addition, we offer seminars and workshops to raise awareness of this type of violence and to equip those working with families to help parents to end the cycle of child to parent violence and abuse.