Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Health and Society


Child to parent violence (CPV) occurs globally with broad ranging implications for family members. Studies investigating personal factors of the child and the parent experiencing violence are prominent. However, there is limited research specific to understanding parents’ narratives of violence, help-seeking and responses from practitioners.

This research is guided by a feminist new material onto-epistemology. The theoretical framework for this research incorporates response-based practice and intra-action. This research has three main overarching aims:

  1. To capture and articulate the narrativised accounts of parents experiencing child to parent violence including help-seeking.
  2. To identify pathways parents’ utilise when seeking help for child to parent violence.
  3. To explore the responses of practitioners, including social workers, when working with people experiencing child to parent violence.

To realise these aims, a narrative inquiry incorporating participatory approaches was employed. Questions under each of the three aims, explored the experience of CPV across four studies. Three data collective methods comprise this narrative inquiry, they are: semi-structured narrative interviews with parents (n = 11); semi-structured interviews with practitioners (n = 19); and two co-analysis sense-making discussion groups contributed the data analysis of this study (n = 8).

Study one aimed to identify the narratives within parents’ personal recounts of CPV. The analysis identified three societal narratives within a parents’ recount of CPV, which are narratives of: the ‘good’ mother; adolescence; and gender. These societal narratives shape CPV, creating conditions of what is possible and impossible for the violence. Study two gives an account of the help-seeking of parents experiencing CPV, with the main findings indicating an accumulation of behaviours lead mothers to seek assistance. The assistance sought is determined by a framing of family and perceptions of responsibility for addressing the violence. These first two studies identify key concepts, positions and implications in relation to CPV for parents’ stories and their help-seeking, addressing aims one and two of the research.

The final two studies address aim three of the research. Study three provides a systematic review of interventions for families experiencing CPV identified in scholarly literature. The key findings of this systematic review highlight the need for interventions to work with both parent and child. The review also found interventions need not be specific to CPV and may include generalist responses such as case management and counselling. Study four identifies supportive practices, strategies and responses for families experiencing CPV using both parent and practitioner data. A key finding of this study is responses for CPV must be underpinned by connections. A final chapter pulls together the findings across all studies to discuss the research project as a whole. This chapter incorporates recommendations for practice, education, policy and research.

Taken together, findings from this thesis contribute to knowledge in understanding experiences of CPV. The research also identifies new ways of working with families experiencing CPV. The conceptual framework and approaches used in the research are posited as a method for working with hard-to-reach populations enduring oppression from violence. These findings contribute originally to understanding responsibility and response-ability, as well as sociomaterial conditions which make (en)acting CPV possible and impossible.

FoR codes (2020)

4409 Social work

This thesis is unavailable until Thursday, October 10, 2024



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.