Factors Influencing Law Enforcement Responses to Child to Parent Violence

Gaylene S. Armstrong, Lisa R. Muftic, Leana A. Bouffard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A domestic violence incident perpetrated by a child toward his or her parent presents a challenging dynamic for law enforcement officers responding to these calls for service. To date, law enforcement responses to child to parent violence (CPV) have only been studied dichotomously (i.e., decision to arrest), and as a result, the associated complexities are not well understood. Here, we add to the understanding of individual, situational, and contextual factors that influence law enforcement response to CPV by examining 1,113 calls for service in a Midwestern state. In assessing the relative influence of these factors on responses using a multinomial logistic regression with cluster robust standard errors, we find evidence that the gendered nature of CPV victim-offender dyads and the presence of victim injury influences police decision to arrest in lieu of an informal, de-escalation only response. We also find officers are less likely to refer youth to social welfare agencies or arrest a youth perpetrator when CPV occurs in neighborhoods with a high level of family disruption. In these instances, the officer works to deescalate the situation, but is significantly less likely to take further action or formally refer the family to social resources. Researchers must work to better understand CPV prevention and improve system responses and resources for affected families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP4979-NP4997
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - May 2021


  • domestic violence
  • legal intervention
  • predicting domestic violence
  • youth violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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