Labour MP Toby Perkins has urged the Government to commission, or support, much more detailed studies of child to parent violence (CPV) among adoptive families.

Mr Perkins tabled a Westminster Hall debate on CPV after an adoptive parent in his Chesterfield constituency raised the issue with him, as part of a wider discussion about the paucity of support they had received from Derbyshire County Council.

The Chesterfield MP wants to know what specific steps the Government is currently taking to investigate the scale of CPV, what support they are putting in place to help adoptive families and to better train social workers on the issue.

Mr Perkins said: “As an adoptive parent I was alarmed to learn of Adoption UK’s recent survey which revealed that as many as 63 percent of parents said that their adopted child had displayed aggressive behaviour. That followed Al Coates’ survey, which showed that 30 percent of adopters have experienced regular child to parent violence. The issue also affects around three percent of all families—some 330,000 children.”

Mr Perkins went on to question whether current local authority interventions equip social workers and parents to tackle CPV adequately; to what extent local authority funding cuts are preventing councils from supporting successful adoptions; and whether the balance between protecting children and supporting their families is appropriately weighted.

Mr Perkins said: “Our starting point in countering child to parent violence must be to recognise the scale of the issue and ensure that it is widely discussed within the social work profession and more widely among adopter families.”

Mr Perkins pointed out that CPV will not begin to be addressed until there is wider acceptance of the scale of the crisis in child social work.

He said: “A combination of growing caseloads, shrinking budgets, higher public and Government expectations, a more violent society and more family breakdowns is stretching the system to breaking point.

“Given the scale of adoptive families who are affected by this issue…there is an argument for greater counselling and therapies for children post-adoption before the crisis manifests itself, and a much more substantial commitment to adopter support would prevent families from reaching crisis point and may well save money in the long run,” Mr Perkins added.

In response, Victoria Atkins, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, pointed out that whilethere are no specific national statistics on child to parent violence, national charity Family Lives reported that over a two-year period its helpline received more than 22,500 calls from parents reporting aggression from their children. She also told the hearing that the Office for National Statistics has shown that in the year ending March 2017 there were eleven recorded parricides (the killing of a parent or other near relative).

Mrs Atkins said: “In conclusion, we must and will do more to tackle the tyranny of domestic abuse and, in doing so, promote greater awareness of the different forms it takes. Our forthcoming consultation on the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, which will be launched shortly, will provide an opportunity to transform agencies’ responses to domestic abuse, to make tackling it everyone’s business and to promote a national conversation to bring this abuse out of the shadows.”