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Survey reveals extent grown-up children abuse their parents

A study into the near-70,000 domestic abuse cases reported to Lancashire police in the 27 months to February 2021 found one-in-ten (10.7%) were committed by people aged 16 and over towards a parental figure.

Previous studies have primarily focused on adolescent perpetrators, but the fresh research suggests it is not just them who abuse their parents, said Nicola Graham-Kevan, the report’s lead author and professor of criminal justice psychology at the University of Central Lancashire.

“Our findings uncovered perpetrators aged between 16 and 74 years with victims aged between 30 and 98 years. The average age of perpetrators was 27 years, while the average age of the victim was 54 years.”

Co-investigator Nathan Birdsall added: “We expect that this figure of 10% will be reflected nationally and in fact, the reality is that the percentage may be much higher.

“Many instances of child-to-parent domestic abuse are unlikely to be reported because the victim does not want to criminalise their child, may feel that it makes them look like a bad parent, they feel embarrassed or guilty about reporting, or they may rely on their child to provide and care for them.”

The university conducted the Home Office-funded study in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary and the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network.

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