Initial findings from a gender analysis of child-to-parent abuse

Ms Cristina Tambasco1

1University Of Melbourne, Carlton, Australia

Child-to-parent abuse (CPA) is a gendered form of family violence, the experience of which differs distinctly between males and females. This research examines the relationship between gender and CPA to understand the nature of this type of family violence and the effects on those involved, including the difference in the experiences of mothers’ and fathers’ and adolescent males and females involved in CPA. The interplay between gender and other factors – including mental health, trauma and intergenerational violence – are also explored. This qualitative research seeks to understand families’ experiences through up to 30 in-depth narrative style interviews with parents, adolescents, other family members, and practitioners working in this area, in Melbourne and outer Sydney, Australia. Data is analysed through a gender and feminist constructivist lens. Preliminary findings highlight clear differences between mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of abuse by their child. These differences shape the divergent ways mothers and fathers construct the problem, and how they understand their experience of abuse and its ramifications. By understanding the gendered nature of CPA, this research has strong implications nationally for family violence policy development and service provision.  The research aims to generate knowledge to guide the development, tailoring and funding of programs to better support families seeking help.


Cristina Tambasco is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, where she is supervised by Dr Diana Johns and Professor Stuart Ross. Her research is focused on the gender dynamics of adolescent family violence, specifically child-to-parent abuse. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Psychology and a Master’s degree in Criminology from RMIT University. She has wide-ranging volunteer experience with youth services and sports organisations.


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