The past decade has witnessed a dramatic increase in the scope and magnitude of clinical and investigative interest in family violence. Indeed, epidemiological, evaluation, and intervention efforts have encompassed a wide range of problems. Some of these include wife battering, physical and sexual abuse of children, incest, marital rape, and domestic homicide. More recently, elder or parent abuse and husband battering have been recognized as warranting attention as well. Heightened activity in this area is attributable to a number of factors. First, there is a growing awareness that violence in the home is a burgeoning public health problem. This has been evinced by research that has revealed alarmingly high prevalence rates of the various forms of violence and victimization. For example, epidemiological studies indicate that there were 929,310 documented cases of child abuse and neglect nationwide in 1982 (American Humane Association, 1984). This represents a 123% increase since 1976 and a 9% increase over 1981. With regard to spouse abuse, Steinmetz (1977a) estimated that out of the total married population of 47 million couples, 3 3 million wives and over a quarter of a million husbands are subjected to severe beatings from their spouses. Also, Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics show that as many as 13% of all homicides in the United States are husband—wife killings. And whereas husbands are responsible for substantially more violent acts, husbands and wives are relatively comparable in terms of committing domestic homicide (Gelles, 1972; Steinmetz, 1977b).
KeywordsSexual Abuse Domestic Violence Child Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Physical Abuse
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