Violence in the home is one of the most damaging and widespread of social problems. It is an issue that cuts across all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, gender and age boundaries. It takes many forms, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse as well as neglect. This text reviews the theoretical explanations of family violence and then links theory to practice. It looks at the systems and institutions that interact with families, which are mandated to provide protection and services, and explores the debates surrounding family violence and public policy. In addition, Karel Kurst-Swanger explores the role of power in abusive relationships and considers the short- and long-term consequences of abuse.
Karel Kurst-Swanger is Assistant Professor of Public Justice, Department of Public Justice, State University of New York, Oswego
Jacqueline Petcosky is a Customer Service Advocate for New York State Electric and Gas.