Not just another hole in the wall. An investigation into child and youth perpetrated domestic property violence.
Thesis DisciplineHuman Services
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Violence by children and young people against their parents, often described as parent abuse, is a problem that has been less recognised and researched than other forms of family violence. The present study explored a distinct form of parent abuse - that being the causing of intentional loss of, or damage to, parental property, referred to as Domestic Property Violence (DPV). A questionnaire was designed to gather quantitative data on what gets damaged, how often, and by whom. Additionally, rich, qualitative information about how parents made meaning of their experiences and how they were affected by, and responded to, DPV was gathered using in-depth interviews with 14 participants, and later analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Although the questionnaire attracted just 30 responses, this information was used to inform the subsequent qualitative phase of the research. When combined, the quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated that DPV happens in some families, and when it does, it has the potential to cause significant financial, emotional, and relational harm. An ecological meaning - making theoretical framework emerged from the data and illuminated connections between social and cultural influences on personal theories of causation, impacts, and responses to DPV, including help seeking. The findings of the present study have important implications for supporting parents experiencing DPV and other forms of parent abuse. Help seeking was shown to not always be a positive experience, particularly when help was not available, the problem was viewed as trivial, or parents were made to feel they were wholly responsible for their children's misconduct. Conversely, parents benefited from services that offered an opportunity for private disclosure without critical judgement, practical advice, and support. One objective of the research was to increase awareness of the many and complex causes and impacts of parent abuse, and the wide range of families that may be affected, in order to promote better screening within health and social support services.