Child/Adolescent to Parent/Carer Violence and Abuse (CAPVA): Exploring Effective Approaches to Research 

Bethan Pell – Postgraduate Researcher, DECIPHer, Cardiff University

Wednesday 8 March 2023 – 13:00-14:00


Child/Adolescent to Parent/Carer Violence (CAPVA), defined as a pattern of harmful behaviour to exert power and control over a parent (Holt 2013), is the most under-researched and least understood form of family abuse. Extant literature is largely quantitative thus, to develop understandings of CAPVA, qualitative research is recommended (Oliver and Fenge 2020). However, power imbalances characterising CAPVA, as well as stigma and shame experienced (Clarke et al. 2017) highlights; sensitivity of the topic, vulnerability of this population and need to attend to power distribution. It was postulated that utilising creative and visual methods could engender participatory approaches in this context, helping to negotiate ethical challenges (Mannay 2016) and overcoming barriers to inclusion (Shaw and Holland 2014). Thus, the aim of this study was to explore practitioners’ experiences of using creative and visual approaches and their views on the acceptability, feasibility and perceived effectiveness of translating these as methods in CAPVA research. 


Seven practitioners across Wales who utilised creative and visual approaches with families experiencing CAPVA, were interviewed between June and July 2022. Five themes were identified; 1) realising the complexity of CAPVA, 2) a ‘toolbox’ of creative and visual approaches, 3) the tools don’t work in isolation 4) powers of creative and visual approaches and 5) importance of a clear aim when utilising creative and visual methods. 

Key messages

The study found creative and visual approaches acceptable, feasible and potentially effective for fostering participatory practice in the context of CAPVA research. However, it was important to use a diverse range of creative and visual methods in CAPVA research. Additionally, situating these within a wider trauma informed approach appeared to provide an ethical framework which helped encourage participatory practices, collaborating with the participant, offering choice, establishing safety and trust and empowering participants. This in turn, helped negotiate relational ethical challenges in CAPVA, potentially enhancing equitable access and active involvement of this population in CAPVA research.

Please contact the conveners of the Childhood and Youth Research Group – Dawn Mannay or Phil Smith if you are interested in attending this in-person event or have any questions.