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Family Violence (From Kids Who Commit Adult Crimes: Serious Criminality by Juvenile Offenders, P 85-95, 2002, R. Barri Flowers, -- See NCJ-197664)

NCJ Number
R. Barri Flowers
Date Published
11 pages
This chapter on family violence addresses the dynamics of family violence, domestic homicides perpetrated by juveniles, sibling violence, parent "battering," and the causes of family violence.
Intrafamilial violence that involves spouses, children, parents, grandparents, or other relatives is a major problem in the United States. Child abuse is believed by researchers to be the most common form of family violence, and is viewed as having the most direct impact on juvenile crime and violence. Children at particular risk of abuse include those from large families; those characterized as "difficult;" and children in families that face such crises as pregnancy, financial burdens, and retirement. Children are well-represented in intrafamilial homicides, both as victims and offenders. Over 1,000 children are killed in the United States each year as a result of child maltreatment. A juvenile committing the murder of a family member is relatively rare, but it is occurring with alarming regularity. The most common factor in child intrafamilial killings or attempted murder is the child's identification with aggressive parents and their own violent behavior. Others have attributed patricide and other forms of family homicides to severe physical abuse or child sexual abuse. Handgun availability, profit, drug abuse, and mental illness are also frequently cited as factors in intrafamilial fatalities perpetrated by juveniles. Juvenile intrafamilial violence also manifests itself through other forms of aggression, particularly sibling violence. Another form of domestic violence, the abuse by children of their parents, has increased in recent years (Flowers, 2000); it is estimated that 2.5 million parents are beaten by their children each year in the United States. Many experts view parent abuse as the next wave of family violence in the exploration of family dysfunction. Parent batterers are typically described as the recipients of weak models of social behavior and very stressful social conditions. Many grandparents and elderly parents are also at risk for battering and other violence at the hands of juvenile grandchildren and adult children. Family violence theories on the causes of family violence are generally reflected in three primary categories: psychiatric-psychological theories, social-structural theories, and social-cultural theories. Each of these types of theories is explained in the concluding section of this chapter. 2 tables and 2 figures


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