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ARU research project looks at abuse of parents

Published: 15 January 2020 at 13:40

Crossed hands on knee

Study is the first in the country to focus on abuse by adult sons and daughters

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) is carrying out the first study of its kind in England and Wales into the abuse of parents by their adult children. 

Led by ARU Doctoral Researcher Thien Trang Nguyen Phan, the Dark Side of Families project aims to shed light on an under-researched and under-reported issue. Most research to date has focused on abuse carried out by adolescent children rather than by children aged 16 and over. 

The Dark Side of Families study will examine the dynamics of adult child to parent abuse, which may include verbal, emotional, financial, physical and sexual abuse. 

By better understanding the experiences of parents, the research aims to strengthen the support offered to victims and improve the responses of police and social services.

Thien Trang has spent many years working as both a domestic violence advisor and a specialist domestic abuse court support officer, and is based within ARU’s Policing Institute for the Eastern Region (PIER).

She said:

“Very little research has been done into adult family violence and in particular violence perpetrated by adult children against their parents. This has led to a lack of guidance for those dealing with this issue.  

“My experience has shown me that parents experiencing abuse from their adult children might face additional and unique challenges in seeking help and accessing support. Yet theirs remains the missing voice in this area. 

“Unless we increase the knowledge around adult family violence in general and adult child to parent abuse in particular, professionals will not have the most appropriate tools to work with in order to improve survivor safety and perpetrator accountability.”

Anyone interested in participating, by taking part in a short interview, should contact Thien Trang by email at [email protected] or by calling 07872 608 021.  Personal details will be kept confidential and further information about the research project is available here.