A Gender Analysis of Child-to-Parent Abuse

Cristina Tambasco1
1University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC

Family violence discourse primarily focuses on intimate partner violence, child abuse, and occasionally elder abuse. What fails to be considered is the existence or extent of child-to-parent abuse (CPA). Both males and females engage in CPA, although mothers are overwhelmingly the targets of abuse, and teenage sons are typically the perpetrator. Despite evidence indicating that CPA is gendered, limited analysis has been conducted in previous research. This research will explore the gendered dynamics and experiences of CPA, from the perspective of young people involved in AFV and their families, through a feminist, constructivist lens. In this paper I will present key gendered themes in the emerging literature and outline the qualitative fieldwork through which I propose to examine this issue. I will also briefly present preliminary findings of an evaluation of the pilot program RESTORE. This program provides family conferencing for cases of adolescent family violence through the Melbourne Children’s Court and in partnership with Jesuit Social Services.


Cristina is a first year PhD candidate in Criminology at the University of Melbourne. Her interests include children and young people involved in, or at risk of entering the criminal justice system, and issues of gender. Her current PhD project is examining the gendered nature of child-to-parent abuse.


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