Sheriff puts fears over parent abuse in focus

Shropshire’s High Sheriff has been raising awareness of adults being abused by their children as part of efforts to tackle the issue.

Shropshire High Sheriff Dean Harris
Shropshire High Sheriff Dean Harris

It is estimated that up to 10 per cent of families experience child to parent abuse which is also known as adolescent to parent violence and abuse.

Throughout her year in the post, Dean Harris has been highlighting the work of PEGS – a national charity based in Shropshire which assists professionals and affected families.

Now, she is hoping to encourage everyone particularly the county’s business leaders to learn more about the issue and the support available for families.

Mrs Harris said figures have revealed a 70 per cent rise in the number of incidents reported last spring during the first coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s encouraging to see domestic abuse being talked about more openly, but we need to include child to parent abuse within those conversations," she said.

“There may be feeling of guilt, shame and embarrassment associated with child to parent abuse, but it’s only by encouraging victims to speak out that we can start to change that.

"It is a little-known and often misunderstood issue, with parents sadly all too often blamed.

"It is an invisible phenomenon with behaviours including physical acts hitting, kicking, throwing things, emotional – coercion and control, refusing to attend education, threatening to harm themselves or others, financial by constantly demanding money, stealing from the household, taking out credit cards in parents’ names and leaving inappropriate images on view.”

Michelle John, founder of PEGS, said: “Our parents have spoken about how they fear lockdown, as they know the abuse will get worse, while others have said they are in fear of being further punished by schools or the police as they are unable to keep their child in, get them to follow Covid restrictions or attend online learning.”

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