More teens abusing parents

NZ Herald Mar 25, 2010

Counsellors say incidents of young people causing domestic violence are increasing. Children are striking out and playing a leading role in family violence incidents in the Bay of Plenty. Young people arguing and fighting with their parents or caregivers made up nearly one in five cases of family violence reported over the past three months. Police handle an average of 250 complaints a month, and 18 per cent of them involved violence and children. Tauranga Moana Abuse Prevention Strategy (TMAPS) family violence co-ordinator George Wynyard said that in most cases the violence involved the young person as the aggressor. “A number of those [young people] would be 17 years and still under the care of the biological parents or caregivers.”

Relationship Services Whakawhanaugatanga in the Bay of Plenty/Gisborne area also works with TMAPS. Its clinical leader Les Simmonds said there had been an increase in violence between young people and their parents or caregivers. “We’re seeing cases in greater numbers that we probably wouldn’t have seen 10 years ago.” He said this was a reflection of an increase in violence across the board – in schools, on the streets and in homes. Some cases related to single mothers being afraid or threatened by their sons.