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Family Violence

A Clinical and Legal Guide

Edited by Sandra J. Kaplan, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-89042-010-2
  • Item #2010

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Family violence poses a significant threat to society—it is repetitive, increases in severity as it persists, and is transmitted across generations and to society. However, it often escapes undiagnosed, and resources for both treatment and research are either inadequate or lacking. Family Violence: A Clinical and Legal Guide provides the most comprehensive look to date at the problem of family violence. Professionals in mental health, medicine, and law who encounter victims of family violence will find this book an invaluable resource. It will also serve as an excellent educational tool for psychiatric and psychology students, and it is intended to stimulate the development of effective curricula for both medical and mental health professionals and the public.

Chapter by chapter, this book covers all types of family violence, including child physical and sexual abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and elder abuse and neglect. Risk factors specific to each type of family violence are identified. Assessment and treatment guidelines are offered, including a discussion of therapy for memory of trauma in adult survivors of childhood maltreatment. The prevention of abuse is addressed, and clinical practice resources are listed.

Legal information pertinent to both patients and clinicians is provided by Howard A. Davidson, J.D., Director, ABA Center on Children and the Law, American Bar Association, Washington, D.C. In each of the first seven chapters, a section entitled Legal Commentary focuses on two areas: First, issues related to abused persons, other family members, and offenders are outlined. Next, Guidance for Mental Health Professionals and Practitioners discusses the legal responsibilities and rights of mental health and other medical professionals and offer guidance for those testifying in legal proceedings. An appendix includes legal resources.


  • Physical abuse of children and adolescents. Child and adolescent neglect and emotional maltreatment of children. Overview of child sexual abuse. Treatment and prevention of child sexual abuse. Spouse abuse and domestic violence. Elder abuse. Adult survivors of child abuse and neglect. Memories of childhood trauma: therapeutic considerations for assessment and treatment. Appendix. Index.

About the Authors

Sandra J. Kaplan, M.D., is Associate Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the North Shore University Hospital-Cornell University Medical College, Manhasset, New York, and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College, Manhasset, New York. Dr. Kaplan is also Chairperson of the Committee on Family Violence and Sexual Abuse of the American Psychiatric Association and is a member of the Steering Committee of the National Advisory Council on Family Violence of the American Medical Association.

One of the outstanding features of the book is the inclusion in each chapter of a legal commentary of Howard A. Davidson, Director of the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law. . . . This is an excellent book for mental health professionals and medical care providers who want to know about the psychological sequelae and treatment of family violence.—The New England Journal of Medicine

Kaplan amassed the most important and up-to-date data available as a guide for practitioners in the areas of mental health and the law. The format of the book is reader-friendly. The chapters and subsections are direct and concise. Mental health and legal resources, located at the end of the corresponding commentaries, make it an efficient resource tool for the reader. . . . While this book should appeal to the educated practitioner, it is not so sophisticated that lay persons would be bored or bewildered. This reviewer highly recommends the book to anyone with an interest—professional or personal—in the subject areas.—Family Violence & Sexual Assault Bulletin

Kaplan and her authors have clearly written a detailed, easily understood guide for everyone (professionals and the public, including adolescents) about all aspects of family violence across the life cycle. This book belongs in every public institution—every school health office and library, from elementary school through college—every public library, every social agency, and certainly every primary care physician's office and waiting room. This is the most useful and complete book on family violence for both professionals and the lay reader that I have ever read!—Leah J. Dickstein, M.D., Professor & Assoc Chair Acad Affairs, Director, Div Attitudinal & Behavioral Medicine, Dept of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Assoc Dean, Univ of Louisville School of Med

As mental health professionals and citizens, we are all confronted by victims of family violence in our practices and daily lives. This well-edited, comprehensive review serves both to educate and to inspire. We must all advocate for increased services to address one of the largest public health problems confronting us.—Elissa P. Benedek, M.D., Director, Training and Research Department, Center for Forensic Psychiatry, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The book can be a valuable resource for patients, emergency physicians, family physicians, pediatricians, geriatricians, psychiatrists, and lawyers. It might be helpful as a guide in dealing with the troublesome cases that are reportable.—Chicago Medicine

This is a good current review of topics that extend beyond violence in some respects. It should keep us humble when we realize the deficits in our knowledge, and how legal and societal institutions currently often operate on what we would call qualified conclusions or simply working hypotheses.—American Journal of Psychiatry

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