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Parent Abuse: Can Law Be the Answer?

  • Caroline Hunter (a1) and Christine Piper (a2)

This article reviews the different forms of legal interventions which may be available to address parent abuse. It seeks to examine the evidence as to which are actually used currently and the problems which are inherent in them. We do this both by examining the statutory basis of the existing potential legal remedies and reported cases relating to those provisions, and by drawing on evidence from a small-scale study of relevant professional workers in one city. We conclude that while recourse to the police, and hence potentially the criminal justice system, is most frequent in practice, the criminal justice system is not suited to tackling the issue. Other interventions, such as anti-social behaviour orders and injunctions, also reveal problems. Law struggles to find an effective response to such a complex problem. Notwithstanding the acknowledged limits of law in changing behaviour, we argue that law could be used more effectively to reduce the incidence and impact of parent abuse.

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Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
  • URL: /core/journals/social-policy-and-society
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