Family violence is one of the most widely occurring problems in the United States. Starting from child abuse several other domestic acts of violence by family members have been recognized till date which includes spouse abuse, abuse of the elderly and sibling abuse. Despite the fact that all such acts are commonly referred to as family violence, they are being studied only as separate areas of inquiry with each type of violence having its own definition and criteria. However, there are certain similar contributing factors such as people who have been exposed to violence during childhood may have a violent nature when they become adults. Another common factor present in individuals who have experienced family violence is psychological stress as most of them have decreased self-esteem, suicidal thoughts and suffer from anxiety and depression (Family Violence, 1991, 2; Chalk and King, 1998, 31; Doherty, 2002).
Child abuse includes physical, sexual abuse and neglect of children below 18 years of age resulting in mental injury (Family Violence, 199, 12). Physical abuse includes all forms of bodily harm caused to the child either intentionally or as a disciplinary action. In addition sexually abusing a child by means of fondling, having intercourse or raping a child by a family member also falls under child abuse. When adequate physical, emotional and psychological care is not provided a child is bound to suffer from neglect. In some cases, certain acts done by the parents or caretaker may leave a serious impact on the child’s mind which could result in behavioral and cognitive problems (Family Violence, 1991, 13). People who commit such acts of child abuse are likely to be emotionally immature, had suffered similar violence during their childhood, or are under an addiction to drugs or other such substances (Family Violence, 1991, 14). Earlier studies on child abuse were mainly associated with the physicality of the abuse such as sexual abuse and bodily harm caused to the child resulting in injury and poor health.
1. Family Violence: An overview. (1991). National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (DHHA/OHDS).
2. Chalk, R., & King, P.A. (1998). Violence in families: Assessing Prevention and Treatment Programs. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences Education. National Academy Press. Retrieved November 9, 2009, from http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=5285&page=R1
3. Doherty, D. (2002). Health Effects of Family Violence. National Clearinghouse on Family Violence. Government of Canada. Retrieved November 9, 2009, from
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