Families and Domestic Violence

Module Sections:

Establishing a Common Ground

What is Domestic Violence?

Definitions of Domestic Violence

There are many varying definitions of families and domestic violence. To many researchers, for example, men and women are equally violent in their relationships and some consider family violence to be gendered. According to the US Department of Justice (2005), “family violence includes all types of violent crime committed by an offender who is related to the victim either biologically or legally through marriage or adoption. A crime is considered family violence if the victim was the offender’s current or former spouse; parent or adoptive parent; current or former stepparent; legal guardian; biological or adoptive child; current or former stepchild; sibling; current or former step sibling; grandchild; current or former step- or adoptive-grandchild; grandparent; current or former step- or adoptive-grandparent; in-law; or other relative (aunt, uncle, nephew)”.

Domestic violence therefore “includes one form of family violence — spouse violence —and one form of nonfamily violence —intimate partner violence” (Department of Justice, 2005).

Miller and Knutsen (2007) in developing the Family Abuse or Violence Framework define family violence as episodes that are “usually repeated but always purposeful social behaviors or omissions that tend to be motivated by inappropriate intentions to control or dominate family members or situations that affect family relationships”.

Audio Companion: Families and Domestic Violence