This is relevant in many dysfunctional Jewish homes. Suppose one parent is beating or about to beat the other, and the child has an opportunity to intervene by threatening violence to the abusive parent.

Which has higher precedence in this case, potentially saving a life or honoring parents? May the child intervene if he or she is able, or must the child not interfere?

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    In situations like this, it certainly would be best as a general policy to contact a trusted adult and/or law enforcement. It's hard to fault a child caught in this situation for however they choose to cope in such a household. :-( Nov 10 '13 at 5:17
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    Best, yes, but not always realistic, especially if running away to tell someone would cause more immediate harm than defending. I guess a lot 'depends'. Consider also, a generation ago, abuse was swept under the carpet, with witnesses having no practical recourse, especially if the abuser was an especially powerful or well-regarded community figure.
    – Aule
    Nov 10 '13 at 5:40

Unfortunately, this issue isn't treated with as much thoroughness as it should be in halakha. However, there is the concept that an abusive parent is violating lo titen miqshol lifnei iver and thus baiting the child into violence.

I know, and I apologize that I can't find the source, that the Tur argues with Rambam about whether or not a child is still obligated to honor a parent who is a rasha (variously defined). Rambam, and Maran Shulchan Arukh, and Rav Yosef all follow Rambam's opinion, but periodically posqim will reference the Tur's position on the issue in order to afford leniency to someone put in such a situation.

It's possible that you could also rule that the abusive parent is a rodef (providing there's real concern of fatal harm to the abused party) and use that paradigm to prevent criminal action against a child that harms their abusive parent.

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    How much thoroughness did you want it to be treated with and how much thoroughness is it treated with?
    – Double AA
    Nov 10 '13 at 2:13
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    Maran Shulchan Arukh = R' Yosef Karo? Rav Yosef = Rav Ovadiah Yosef?
    – Shimon bM
    Nov 10 '13 at 7:05

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