Each year there are around 35 reported cases of violent abuse by minors against their parents or custodians. In most cases these incidents involve children from broken families.

The figure was divulged by a spokeswoman of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services in reply to questions sent by Voice of the Workers Weekly regarding a report by the Parliamentary Committee for Family Affairs. Though it was only tabled recently, the report is dated July 2019 and it contains the proceedings of a number of meetings held on the matter at the start of that year. More importantly, the report makes eight recommendations on the strength of the presentations given by various experts which had been invited to make a presentation including from FSWS.

It transpires that this type of abuse has been on the rise since 2014 when State Agency Appoġġ decided to provide specialised training on physical, emotional and psychologic abuse by minors on adults. The committee heard that the average age of the parents suffering this abuse varied from 30 to 45 years. Moreover, a number of cases are not being reported as the parents/custodians feel humiliated or for fear that they might take the blame for the type of upbringing they gave to their children.

As for the reasons behind such conduct by minors, experts said children could be following the footsteps of either parent who resorted to domestic violence. Such behaviour could also be the manifestation of the child’s anger against the bad treatment received earlier in their life like being abandoned by their biological parents.

While expressing its concern on the matter, the committee had put forward eight recommendations to address such abuse. These included more research, awareness campaigns and even obligatory courses for prospective parents linked to their eligibility for the children’s allowance. Moreover, the committee had called for immediate help to the children perpetrating such abuse, more support in schools and better incentives to lure people take up a career in the caring professions.

For some reason, the report which was dated July 2019, was only tabled in parliament by the Family Affairs Committee President Anthony Agius Decelis last month. The latter had taken over as chairman from Rosianne Cutajar after the January 2020 Cabinet reshuffle when Robert Abela became prime minister.

This portal sought the reaction of FSWS, which incorporates a unit specialised in the abuse of minors on adults on its effort to implement these recommendations. A spokeswoman noted that work was underway on a new training package for their professionals in conjunction with the Commission for Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence. However, the Foundation said that it would like to see more local research on the matter based from the feedback from parent victims and minor young perpetrators.

As for the educational campaigns the spokeswoman remarked that it engaged in various media events with the aim to raise awareness, including a recent prime-time discussion programme which focused on child-to-parent violence.  FSWS insisted that whenever they encountered such abuse, they offered help straight away. The spokeswoman pointed out that the Foundation promoted caring professions within its remit on regular basis through career conventions and in other student fora.

Asked about the other recommendations, she said they did not fall directly under their responsibility but the educational sector and Social Security.

Voice of the Workers Weekly also sent questions to the Labour MP Anthony Agius Decelis on the measures taken to implement these recommendations. However, no reply was received by the time of writing.