Abused mum told to call police on daughter, 6, as figures reveal extent of child to parent violence

By ITV News reporter Ria Chatterjee

A London mum was told to call police on her own six-year-old daughter because of the youngster's abusive behaviour at home.

Hollie Rowson told ITV News London she was desperate to find the right help and support for both herself and her child.

She spoke as new figures revealed the extent of violence and abuse by children towards parents and carers with as many as 40 per cent not reporting the problem to police.

"I did ask for help when she was six-years-old and I was told to call the police on her - even though she was aged just 6," Hollie told ITV News London.

"A few years after I had to get a behaviour specialist for the whole day to observe her behaviour.

"The specialist said it was not my parenting and there are other issues going on," she added.

Research published by mayor Sadiq Khan and London's Violence Reduction Unit found fear of criminalisation, or the child being removed from the home, meant attacks were being underreported.

Another mum, Amanda Sharpley, said too many people failed to understand he problem and wrongly put it down to bad parenting.

'You're a mother - do your job!'

"One of the fears is that people respond to this as if it is a normal parenting of teenagers and it's a failure of parenting - being told 'you're a mother - do your job!' Amanda told ITV News London.

"You cannot look at this in terms of difficult teenagers or difficult parenting, there is something else going on - all parents feel guilt, it's a natural part of being a parent.

"But as a parent in these exceptional circumstances you feel like you're failing everybody and you are looking desperately for some kind of support and strategy to help your child to learn to behave differently.

"The impact going forward that their behaviour is going to have on their own life and that of your family and particularly other siblings largely forgotten in discussing of the issues," she added.

The official report revealed a lack of awareness among parents, carers, young people and professionals about child to parent violence.

It went on to outline ways to improve the way the issue is tackled, including not looking at children as "perpetrators", but to look at the needs of both the young person and the wider family and how support can be accessed.

"The Violence Reduction Unit was set up to better understand the complex, underlying causes of violence, and to lead a partnership approach to reducing violence and supporting young people, families and communities," said its Director Lib Peck. "We listen to our communities to understand the needs of parents and carers who play such a vital role in the early years of a young person's life.

"A consistent concern was violence and abuse by children towards parents. "The VRU commissioned research to understand the scale of this form of violence, the opportunities for early intervention and the support being provided across London for young people and for parents and carers," she added.

All parents and carers said they had experienced several incidents of violence before reaching crisis point.

Sibling Biba Morgan warned the impact was both extreme and lifelong.

"They have complex needs that need to be met," she said.

"When intervention does not occur early enough these behaviours are more concrete and go on to impact life in general especially when behaviour affects education and all the practical elements of moving around in the world," Biba added.