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Keywords:

  • adolescence;
  • parenting/parenthood;
  • policy/management;
  • violence;
  • young people

ABSTRACT

Parent abuse is becoming recognized as a serious problem in some families. It can have a damaging impact on physical and mental health, family relationships and employment and has been found to be implicated in other past, current and future forms of family abuse and violence. For this reason, many frontline practitioners who work with troubled families frequently find incidents of parent abuse in their caseloads, but we know little of how they respond to it. This study used in-depth interviews with nine practitioners who work in a range of agencies in one large county in England and explored how they each identify, conceptualize, explain and respond to parent abuse. In a context where there is no national guidance regarding how agencies should respond to this problem, this study finds that practitioners must ‘make do’ without appropriate resources or policy guidance to help them. The study concludes with suggestions for change for the benefit of families who seek support but who currently find little effective response.