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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98987 Find in a Library
Title: Family Violence - What We Know and Can Do (From Unhappy Families, P 1-8, 1985, Eli H Newberger and Richard Bourne, ed. - See NCJ-98986)
Author(s): R J Gelles
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: PSG Publishing Co, Inc
Littleton, MA 01460
Sale Source: PSG Publishing Co, Inc
545 Great Road
Littleton, MA 01460
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter considers the incidnece of family violence and factors that correlate with it, along with causation, clinical intervention, and social policy.
Abstract: In 1976, researchers interviewed a representative sample of 2,143 American families to determine their techniques for handling conflicts. Overall, the study projects that serious physical abuse (kicking, biting, punching, hitting with an object, and threatening with or using a gun of knife) occurs in 8-10 million of the 56 million families in the United States. Four factors correlate with family violence: intergenerational tramsmission (abusive parents were abused as children), low family income, familial social isolation, and social stress. Other correlating factors are parental agnosticism or atheism, youth, and unemployment or part-time employment. A principal cause of domestic assaults is the lack of informal and formal social controls for such assaults; people who control their violent urges in other contexts release them upon family members because sanctions are less likely than for assaults on nonfamily persons. The family also provides vulnerable targets for physical abuse, i.e., children, women, and the elderly. Although clinical intervention in family violence can take many forms, it should address the family as a system. The clinician should focus on generating informal mechanisms of social control in the family, usually by introducing third parties into the family (such as visiting homemakers) and by reducing the family's privacy and social isolation. Social policy should address the practice of using violence as a means of social control in families by emphasizing constructive norms for dealing with conflict. Ten bibliographic listings are provided.
Index Term(s): Child abuse causes; Crime patterns; Domestic assault; Spouse abuse causes; Treatment intervention model
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