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What is Parental Abuse?

A boy hunched over after parental abuse

Parental abuse is a form of domestic abuse and is a serious problem which results in physical harm, depression, damage to property, job loss and family breakdown. It is usually perpetrated by a child in their teens displaying the following behavior towards the parents and other members of your family. While it may not be heard of as often, parental abuse can be stressful and cause the victim to feel at a loss about their legal rights. Read below for questions answered by legal Experts.

How would an outsider recognize if a parent is being abused by their child?

Common signs can include:

  • Threats of and/or physical violence.
  • Swearing and name calling.
  • Intimidation.
  • A constant refusal to do as told.
  • Bullying by text or phone.
  • Stealing money or property.
  • Deliberate damaging of property.
  • Emotional blackmail.
  • Drug/alcohol abuse in the home.
  • Belittling parents in front of friends/other family members/public.

What is a PFA or Protection from Abuse?

A PFA is a restraining order issued by a District Justice or a Court of Common Pleas Judge. Under the Protection from Abuse Act, abuse is defined as physical abuse, a threat which places you in immediate fear of physical injury, or a pattern of conduct (such as stalking) which places you in immediate fear of physical injury. In order to petition for a PFA, you must be, or must have been, in a relationship with or should be a family member of the person against whom you want to file.

What can someone do to stop a child with a mental illness from abusing their parent?

If they haven’t already, they would need to file a Mental Hygiene Warrant against them. This means that the child will be placed in a state facility for mental illness or evaluation of mental illness. In that time the parent can get the necessary help. They can also file a restraining order against the child, as well as file a notice of eviction, if the child is of age, to have them removed from the house within 30 days.

What can a step-parent, who is being verbally abused by their step-child, do?

The parent can sign over guardianship to another person, including a program for abusive juveniles, or enroll the child in a military academy. If the step-parent is afraid for their safety, they can petition the family court to have a restraining order placed on the child, and the state may take custody of the child. As a last resort, if the child is in trouble legally, they can request that the court place them in a juvenile detention.

Is it parental abuse if a parent is turning their children against the grandparents by verbally abusing the grandparent?

In most situations, this could certainly be considered mental abuse of the children as well as parental abuse against the grandparent. The grandparent could consider filing a petition in the court for visitation of the grandkids. Many times legal representation may be needed to prove that visitation rights should be given to the grandparent.

Parental abuse is often called the silent suffering because many people don’t believe parental abuse exists, but it can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons. There are laws in place that can protect parents from abuse. No one should have to live in fear for their life or safety.

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