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Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family

NCJ Number
Date Published
156 pages
An analysis of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in the family uses information from psychological research and clinical experience and concludes that improved efforts are needed in the areas of prevention, intervention, and treatment.
Perpetrators are a heterogeneous group. Risk and resiliency factors influence the complex phenomenon of family violence. Societal attitudes and practices such as the presence of guns and violence in the media also include the risk of domestic assault. Violence against adult family members occurs in four contexts: in dating relationships, during marriage or partnership, after separation, and against the elderly. Child victims are vulnerable both to abuse within their families and to the failures of the failures of the child welfare systems that were designed to protect them. Lack of appropriate treatment for an abused child results in high lifetime costs to society. Therefore, appropriate treatment must be widely available. Intervention and treatment efforts must be tailored to the complex needs of individuals; recent treatment techniques emphasize the strengths victims have developed to cope with abuse. Treatment of perpetrators is also essential. The justice system also needs to respond more effectively. In addition, prevention efforts are needed to address the societal conditions that contribute to domestic assault. The best way to promote families free of violence is to stop the development of abusive behavior, empower potential victims to resist or avoid victimization, and change the setting that promotes the use of violence. Checklists