Who’s in Charge?

Working with :

Child to Parent Violence & Abuse

the most hidden, misunderstood and stigmatized form of family violence

(RCPV Executive Summary, 2015)

It is estimated that 3 to 5% of adolescents are seriously abusive to parents, while others suggest even higher incidence. Gallagher 2008

(Gallagher, 2008)

Met Police figures show reports of child-to-parent violent offences grew from 920 in 2012 to 1801 in 2016 – a 95% increase. Offences of GBH (grievous bodily harm) have increased from 20 in 2012 to 125 in 2016.

(Met Police, 2017)

It was hi-lighted that practitioners participating in the study were lacking in knowledge and were under-skilled as they had not received specialized training on child to parent violence & abuse.

(Wilcox & Pooley, 2015)

Eddie Gallagher has recognized that it is not always possible to persuade young people to engage in work, and that much good could be achieved by supporting parents to consider their situation and to regain a personal sense of power and well-being

Research suggests that support agencies may be unfamiliar with the issue or are not set up to meet the very specific needs of this group of parents and young people.

(Wilcox & Pooley, 2015)

Awareness amongst professionals remains limited with many families describing disbelief and scepticism when they seek support and advice. Behaviour is dismissed as ‘normal’ and just a phase that children are going through. Parents become isolated and the impact on them, their health, work and relationships was described as significant.

(Al Coates, Adoptive Parent & Social Worker)

In 2016, only 40 agencies were identified in a national mapping project – largely through domestic abuse support agencies.


How are agencies responding to CPVA across the UK?

How are agencies responding to CPVA across the UK?

In our experience practitioners are struggling to respond to CPV and recognise that conventional parenting programmes do not work for their families because the children and young people typically are non co-operative.

There are a handful of programmes being used across the UK.
It is our experience that tools and programmes are often developed using the collaboration of local agencies in the area.
This can make it difficult to replicate in other towns, districts and counties.

We have been advocating and running the Who’s in Charge? programme extensively since 2011. We are currently in the process of evaluating five years worth of anonymised data.

We have trained over 130 practitioners with roles such as: youth offending, domestic abuse support workers, social workers children & young people’s practitioners, psychologists, therapists, school staff, youth workers, parenting practitioners, early help workers, SENCO’s, service managers, mental health workers, school nurses, troubled families workers, family carers and family group conference co-ordinators.

One of the reasons we believe the Who’s in Charge? programme has a huge part to play in combating child to parent violence is that it is cost effective to run. The only costs incurred are those of the facilitators preparation, time and printing of the handouts and of course the tea, biscuits and tissues!

How prevalent is CPVA?

How prevalent is CPVA?

CPVA first came to people’s attention when Parentline Plus published their report, When Love Hurts, in 2010. Since then RCPV carried out the first ever cross-European, multi-agency, collaborative response to the serious and growing problem of Child to Parent Violence (CPV) involving Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland, Sweden and England.

Since then there has been sporadic activity around child to parent violence and growing recognition that it affect one in every hundred children. Work around CPVA is coming to the forefront mainly due to domestic abuse agencies and youth offending services.

It is a myth to assume that those children and young people using abusive and/or violent behavior have experienced domestic abuse or have a background of offending.

CPVA cuts across all parts of our community and is a consistent finding internationally as well as in our own experience of running the Who’s in Charge? programme.

What is child to parent violence & abuse?

What is child to parent violence & abuse?

Current guidance states:

Adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA) may be referred to as ‘adolescent to parent violence (APV)’ ‘adolescent violence in the home (AVITH)’, ‘parent abuse’, ‘child to parent abuse’, ‘child to parent violence (CPV)’, or ‘battered parent syndrome’.

The cross-Government definition of domestic violence and abuse is: any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. While this definition applies to those aged 16 or above, APVA can equally involve children under 16, and the advice in this document reflects this.

There is currently no legal definition of adolescent to parent violence and abuse. However, it is increasingly recognised as a form of domestic violence and abuse and, depending on the age of the child, it may fall under the government’s official definition of domestic violence and abuse. It is important to recognise that APVA is likely to involve a pattern of behaviour. This can include physical violence from an adolescent towards a parent and a number of different types of abusive behaviours, including damage to property, emotional abuse, and economic/financial abuse. Violence and abuse can occur together or separately. Abusive behaviours can encompass, but are not limited to, humiliating language and threats, belittling a parent, damage to property and stealing from a parent and heightened sexualised behaviours.

Government guidance refers specifically to adolescent to parent violence and not to younger children. Typically parents reflect that the behaviour of their teenager started years earlier. For this reason Who’s in Charge? works with parents of children who are much younger and is therefore an excellent programme for early intervention.

Why are children and adolescents violent & abusive towards their parents?

Why are children and adolescents violent & abusive towards their parents?

There is no simple answer to this complex issue. Universities are increasingly researching the subject and in most parents’ experience there is no single cause. Child to parent violence is always multi-causal. Until very recently there was no research in the UK, or internationally on this issue.

In our experience of running the Who’s in Charge? programme it is not always necessary to identify a single reason in order to resolve the issue. Many parents attending the Who’s in Charge? programme have reflected feeling better able to manage their child’s behaviour and have reported a reduction of violence within the home.

Typically a Who’s in Charge? group may include parents who have experienced domestic abuse (this only represents about 50% of case samples), we also support parents of children with additional needs or a disability, indulgent parents, grandparents, adoptive and foster parents.

Who’s in Charge? Programme & Training



Who’s in Charge?
3 Day Facilitator  Training
ONLINE 29th Nov, 2nd & 3rd Dec2021
Who’s in Charge?
3 Day Facilitator Training
ONLINE 31st Jan, 3rd & 4th Feb2022
Who’s in Charge?
3 Day Facilitator Training
ONLINE 13th, 16th & 17th June2022
Who’s in Charge?
3 Day Facilitator Training
Who’s in Charge?
3 Day Facilitator Training

We do not list In-House training events if they are not open to external practitioners. We do several In-house trainings each year. If you are looking for an In-House training please do contact us at: [email protected]

What the programme is and explanations

What the programme is and explanations

Who’s in Charge? is a 9 week child to parent violence (CPV) programme aimed at parents whose children are being abusive or violent toward them or who appear out of parental control.  The structure of the programme consists of 8 two and a half hour sessions with a two-month follow up.

Three Part Structure of the WIC? Group Programme

Part 1

The first part of the programme aims to change parental attitude, and in particular reduce blame, guilt and shame. A variety of exercises are used to deconstruct some of the unhelpful myths that parents have absorbed about their child’s behaviour. We aim to help parents and carers to understand that children’s bad behaviour is multi-causal, and we explore the nature of abuse, styles of parenting, entitlement and power and the social changes that make CPV more likely.

Excerpt – Eddie Gallagher – 2015 (Working with Adolescent Violence and Abuse Towards Parents; approaches and contexts for intervention.)

Part 2

The second part of the programme explores the use of consequences to change unwanted behaviour. This has similarities to the content of mainstream parenting programmes, but there are important differences. Most parenting advice assumes that children are co-operative. However, most parents who attend Who’s in Charge? typically have children who have stopped co-operating, who often appear to care about very little, who may deliberately sabotage parents attempts to apply consequences, and who may escalate their violence when parents implement behavioural control strategies.

In the group we explore the difficulty of identifying consequences that the parent can implement, is willing to control, and the child will care about (at least a little). We do not see the consequences in terms of behaviour modification, but in terms of empowerment of the parent; increasing the child’s respect for the parent, enabling the parent to be more assertive and altering the balance of positives and negatives that the young person experiences from their violent and controlling behaviour.

Excerpt – Eddie Gallagher – 2015 (Working with Adolescent Violence and Abuse Towards Parents; approaches and contexts for intervention.)

Part 3

The third part of the programme supports parents to make changes within the home while working on a few advanced topics; anger; assertiveness; self-care. The order of these topics is important. Until parents have made some attitude changes and become more empowered they are not usually ready to work on these topics. The anger topic is about their anger, as well as dealing with the young person’s anger. However, parents may not be ready to admit to, or work on their own inappropriate behaviour early in the group process.

So, the structure aims to first support and empower, second to encourage practical changes (usually in terms of rules and consequences) and third to reinforce these changes and cover some advanced topics. There is a steady reduction in content during the course of the group – the idea being that the group becomes more positive and helpful and thus discussion increases and facilitator directed exercises reduce.

Excerpt – Eddie Gallagher – 2015 (Working with Adolescent Violence and Abuse Towards Parents; approaches and contexts for intervention.)


Overall aims of Who’s in Charge? Groups

  • Reduce parent’s feelings of isolation.
  • Challenge parent’s feelings of guilt.
  • Lessen deterministic thinking about causes (e.g. “he can’t help it.. he has ADHD” or “… he saw his father be violent”) – it is always multi-causal.
  • Reinforce belief in possibility of change (without giving false hope or creating complacency).
  • Clarify boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour (harder than it sounds as there are many grey areas and we need to avoid imposing our own values).
  • Arm parents with some simple concepts that have proved empowering: e.g. entitlement, the power of being irresponsible, etc.
  • Examine strategies for creating meaningful and practical consequences for unacceptable behaviour. The approach of most parenting courses and materials is to assume that children are basically co-operative and only need encouragement and positivity to be good. These approaches usually have failed miserably with the oppositional children of the WIC? parents. Finding consequences for children who care about little and don’t want to co-operate is very difficult.
  • Explore anger, both children’s and (often more usefully) parents’.
  • Encourage assertiveness.
  • Encourage self-care.
  • Reinforce progress and provide emotional support while parents are attempting to become more assertive parents.

Programme Outline

  • Session 1  Introductions, questionnaires and genograms
  • Session 2  Cause and influences of abusive behaviour
  • Session 3  What is abuse?
  • Session 4  What can I control in my child’s life?
  • Session 5  Consequences
  • Session 6  Anger and breaking the myths of anger
  • Session 7  Assertiveness
  • Session 8  Self-care, future goal setting and evaluation
  • Session 9  Two month follow up on goal achievement, evaluation and further goals.
Who’s in Charge? Facilitator Training

Who’s in Charge? Facilitator Training

The training runs over three days and will cover the following aspects of the WIC? programme.

Going through the whole programme gave me an insight into how it would be perceived as a parent.

Who should attend?

This training is aimed primarily at those intending to facilitate the Who’s in Charge? group programme, although it has practical application to those working working 1:1 and with parents generally. Practitioners who have attended training come from a broad range of agencies, both statutory, voluntary and private sector including: youth offending, domestic abuse agencies, social workers children & young people’s practitioners, psychologists, therapists, third sector agencies, schools, youth workers, parenting practitioners, early help teams, SENCO’s, service managers, mental health workers, school nurses, troubled families, family carers and family group conference co-ordinators.

The whole training was useful as it was new learning on a professional level.

What does the training involve?

Pre-training information

Prior to attendance at the WIC? training participants will be sent a programme rationale with notes. It is expected that participants will have spent two hours minimum reading this document prior to attending the WIC? training.

The 3 day training is largely experiential, based around the exercises and discussions of a Who’s in Charge? group programme. Practitioners will have the opportunity to explore the programme in full, discuss the referral process, and setting up the programme.

Day One

An insight into understanding the context of child to parent violence and experiential journey through programme weeks 1 – 2, beginning with uncovering family patterns and encouraging parents to identify goals for change; what are the causes or influences of child to parent violence and abuse, understanding the difference between entitlement versus responsibility and exploring what influence parents have over their children.

Day Two

Experiential exploration of Weeks 3 – 6 including looking at abuse, parental influence & control and power over their children and equally how do children have influence, power and control over their parents. We move at this point from the therapeutic element of the programme towards the second part, the knowledge base and applying consequences to children who are uncooperative (sometimes in the extreme) and who may not appear to care very much about anything. Focus on the anger held by all family members involved.

Day Three

Weeks 7 – 9 includes supporting parents to be assertive in the face of CPVA and make changes and continuing to restore a positive relationship with their children, exploration of the ethos, philosophy and rationale of the WIC? programme, a group assessment via a multiple-choice questionnaire and a short group presentation, supporting practitioners to facilitate the Who’s in Charge? programme with confidence in their own settings and encouraging facilitators to continue the parents journey through future goal setting and programme evaluation and data collection.

Finally on completion

On successful completion of the three-day facilitator training participants will be eligible to run the Who’s in Charge? programme and will have access to a Private Area on the Who’s in Charge? website. Here they can download all the materials needed to run the nine week programme. There are no further license fees, enabling practitioners to run programmes immediately. It is expected that where possible newly trained facilitators take the opportunity to co-facilitate with an experienced WIC? facilitator prior to leading their own group.

To have a programme available for parents who are desperate to make changes and give parents/carers the strategies to make those changes.


Who’s in Charge? Training Testimonials

Who’s in Charge? Training Testimonials

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It is a rare thing to come away from training feeling that you absolutely have the confidence to run a programme straight away. Cathy & Carole are amazing trainers. They make everything so easily understandable. I am so much more informed and knowledgeable.

The Blue DoorScunthorpe, North Lincolnshire

The training went above and beyond. I learned more than I bargained for. One of the best courses I have been on. Brilliant, knowledgable trainers. I have come away feeling really inspired. I would highly recommend to other professionals.

DA Change Co-ordinatorNorfolk County CouncilNorfolk

The last three days has been intense and long, but I have learnt so much. the trainers knew exactly what they were talking about. Excellent training!

Wakefield Youth Offending TeamWakefield

Who’s in Charge? training has impacted on me massively as I have been verbally abused by my son over years. Even though he is now older, I will be using some of the strategies with him.The trainers were amazing and explained everything thoroughly at all times.

The Blue DoorScunthorpe, North Lincolnshire

Absolutely fabulous training. I have much greater insight into how many parents this issue affects. Carole & Cathy were amazing trainers, patient and able to explain everything in a supportive way. I loved each and every day.

Young Women’s Health ProjectSheffield

The training has made me realise that until completing the three days, I had very little awareness and knowledge of CPVA. I now feel confident to tackle issues and relate to parents experiencing CPVA. I have enjoyed my training very much and am now excited to go back and prepare for facilitating my own course. Thankyou for all your efforts in delivering a fab three days!

Andover Crisis & SupportHampshire

Excellent and enjoyable training. I have better awareness of the issues around CPVA and lots of new ideas and strategies to help try and address it. The training kept me interested and the three days flew by! This programme will be delivered many times I am sure.

Bolton Youth Offending TeamBolton

Facilitators are friendly, approachable and human, who both work so well with each other and the group. Brilliant training with knowledgable trainers who really care about the Who’s in Charge? programme and ethos.

Action for ChildrenNorfolk

Training was brilliant and beneficial to my practice.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingPortsmouth

A really good training, very realtive to my role with families. The three days were packed full of information.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingSpecialist Family Support WorkerPortsmouth

Very experienced and knowledgeable trainers.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingYouth Justice Officer/Social WorkerPortsmouth CouncilPortsmouth

I have worked with families for approximately 20 years – aways keen to learn new “skill ways”. Who’s in Charge? has given me completely new insight into managing CPV situations and dynamics.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingFamily Support WorkerPortsmouth CouncilPortsmouth

This was an informative, interactive and relaxed course with two very competant and friendly trainers. I would recommend this course to anyone working with families.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingDomestic Abuse Prevention Advocate (DAPA)Isle of Wight RefugeIsle of Wight

Really enjoyable and informative training. Thank you.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingFamily Support WorkerPortsmouth CouncilPortsmouth

Cathy and Carole were engaging and facilitated this training very well together. I instantly felt comfortable and found the training interesting and enjoyable. My confidence has grown.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingOutreach Worker Children & Young PeopleSouthern DASPortsmouth

I really enjoyed this training and look forward to delivering the programme. Really engaging and supportive trainers.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingSpecialist Domestic Violence & Abuse WorkerPortsmouth CouncilPortsmouth

Thank you both very much. I have really enjoyed this nformative and fun way of learning and I am looking forward to facilitating our own programme.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingDomestic Abuse AdviserWight DASHIsle of Wight

Very good training. It has increased my knowledge and understanding of CPV greatly. The information shared will not only inform my practice as a DA Outreach Worker but also my own parenting!

Who’s in Charge? TrainingDA Outreach WorkerYour SanctuarySurrey

Brilliant! This training has been a real eye opener. I have worked in this field for the last 11 years and this course has really changed the way I will be working with families in the future. I really believe this programme will help many families.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingOutreach WorkerYour SanctuarySurrey

Great programme for parents who may feel they have nowhere else to turn, delivered by engaging and knowledgeable trainers. Thank you for providing this training to us!

Who’s in Charge? TrainingPortsmouth CouncilPortsmouth

Really nice, approachable trainers who were happy to answer questions and had a wealth of knowledge.

Who’s in Charge? TrainingRestorative Justice WorkerPortsmouth CouncilPortsmouth

I feel confident and have gained greater knowledge in child to parent violence & abuse.

Who’s in Charge TrainingSenior PractionerSouthend Borough CouncilSouthend on Sea

Thank you for the excellent and fun training. I enjoyed every part of it!

Who’s in Charge? TrainingSenior PractitionerSouthend Borough CouncilSouthend on Sea

This was excellent training with good materials and helpful insights and stories from the knowledgeable facilitators. Looking forward to running the course!

Who’s in Charge? TrainingChief ExecutiveHomeStartCentral Beds

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About the trainers

Carole & Cathy have spent the past 7 years leading and developing the Who’s in Charge? programme and were fore-runners in developing the first UK conference addressing Child to Parent Violence in 2013.


Carole Baker

Carole Baker

Carole Baker is a qualified social pedagogue, parenting consultant, trainer and life coach and has spent 7 years as a foster carer. Carole has worked with in excess of 1500+ parents across a range of settings including within local authority, youth offending, schools, charities, commercially  and privately. Carole is trained in a wide range of parenting and domestic abuse programmes and has a drive to ensure that parents are supported in their parenting journey.

Cathy Press

Cathy Press

Cathy Press has 21 years experience as a therapist specialising in domestic & sexual abuse related issues and has developed and delivered multi-agency training for 15 years, both in the UK and internationally as well as training facilitators in the Freedom Programme and Escape the Trap, focusing on teenage relationship abuse.

In 2005 a survey revealed that 7% of 30,000 calls from parents to Family Lives helpline were about physical aggression from children to their parents.

(Family Lives, 2010)

There are two batteries in a remote control: if one is changed the whole thing still doesn’t work.

Find a programme in your area

The map indicates where there are trained WIC? facilitators across the UK. However, please be aware that not all facilitator or agency details are available because they are restricted to working with their own clients or service users and are unable to take external referrals. Please contact: [email protected] to find out how to access online programmes.

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