Family Violence




I. Course

A. Catalog Descriptions

Prerequisite: 34 hours in social work or consent of instructor. Focuses on major theories of family violence and their practical implications. Emphasis is on developing practice skills in work with adult and child victims/survivors and with perpetrators. B. Purpose The purpose of this course is for students to gain the knowledge necessary to understand the dynamics of family violence, to conduct assessments in cases involving family violence, to identify appropriate intervention targets, and to apply skills of intervention. Particular emphasis is given to gender and class issues as perceived through traditional and alternative family forms from a variety of ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds.

II. Course Objectives Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: 1. articulate the dynamics of family violence at multiple levels (society, community, family, and individual) and from multiple theoretical foundations;

2. assess the systems, levels of functioning, risk, and patterns of violence and control;

3. identify appropriate individual, group, family, agency, community, and societal interventions;

4. intervene at multiple intervention points toward the goal of ending violence and control;

5. plan and focus treatment with understanding and knowledge regarding the influences of gender roles, age, class, race, ethnicity, sexual or affectional preference, physical/mental abilities, religious/ spiritual beliefs, and cultural differences on family form and manifestations of abuse and neglect;

6. demonstrate professional behavior through an understanding and examination of the tensions between social control and social change functions which often emerge in the practice of social work when violence is present in a family;

7. evaluate professional roles as an individual, family, group, community, and societal change agent.

III. Course Content The psychoanalytic approach, social learning theory and sociological perspectives are analyzed to address the dynamics of family violence. Cases of child abuse, spouse abuse and elder abuse are used to identify appropriate skills of intervention which are sensitive to gender issues and to traditional and alternative family forms from a variety of ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. Special topics may include wife battering, husband battering, marital rape, alcoholism and family violence, family homicide, and physical and sexual abuse of children, and elder abuse. Particular attention is directed to minorities of color, women, gay and lesbian persons, the most severely economically disadvantaged and those affected by other issues pertaining to social class. IV. Course Structure Classes will consist of lectures, discussion, guest speakers, videos, and experiential exercises. Students are expected to attend class and to participate fully in discussions. Further, it is hoped that the class will work to develop an atmosphere of trust, respect, and confidentiality; will respect conflict as having growth potential; and will challenge each other to work hard and think critically.

V. Textbooks and Assigned Readings: Required Text:

Gelles, Richard J., and Loseke, Donileen R. (Eds.) (1993). Current Controversies on Family Violence. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Selected articles: At Anderson Library reserve desk you will find items that will be identified by instructor in class and placed on reserve for this course.

Recommended Books: Breckman, R.S., & Adelman, R.D. (1988). Strategies for Helping Victims of Elder Mis-treatment . Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Cardarelli, A. P. (Ed.) 1997. Violence Between Intimate Partners: Patterns, Causes, and Effects. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Levinson, David (1989). Family Violence in Cross-Cultural Perspective.

Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Viano, Emilio (Ed.). (1992). Intimate Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

Taylor & Francis Publications.

Yllo, K., Bograd, M. (Eds.). (1988). Feminist Perspectives on Wife Abuse. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Supplemental Readings: Jenkins, Alan (1990). Invitations to Responsibility: the therapeutic engagement of men who are violent and abusive. Vancouver, Canada & Adelaide, Australia.

NiCarthy, G., Merriam, K., and Coffman, S. (1984). Talking It Out: A Guide to Groups for Abused Women. Seattle: The Seal Press.

Sgroi, Suzanne M. (1982). Handbook of Clinical Intervention in Child Sexual Abuse. Lexington: Lexington Books.

Thorne-Finch, Ron (1993). Ending the silence: the origins and treatment of male violence against women. Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press

Van Hasselt, V.B., Morrison, R.L., Bellack, A.S., & Henson, M. (Eds.) (1988).
Handbook of family violence. New York: Plenum Press.

VI. Course Requirements

A. Exam: TBA (Up to 30% of course grade)

B. Reading Assignments & Class Dialogue:

Readings identified in course schedule must be completed by shown dates in order for students to contribute to class discussion in a manner which will allow instructor to evaluate this.

NOTE: Students will be asked at the beginning of the semester to select topics identified in the course outline based on their particular interest(s) and take the lead in initiating discussion on their chosen topic for the dates shown.

C. Projects

Students will complete the assignments of their choice based on their own interests, familiarity with the topic, and learning needs. All assignments must address course objectives, especially a consideration of how race/ethnicity, class, gender, ableness, and age might be relevant to the problem of violence in intimate relationships.

Class presentations may be prepared and presented by small groups of 2 to 3 students.

Potential Projects: (Other creative ideas will be welcomed!) ï Paper on DETECTION OF VIOLENCE and TREATMENT STRATEGY(IES) of one or more area(s) of family violence based on the literature, the experiences of those in the field, and participant’s own experience (if applicable). (Up to 50% of course grade)

ï ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY on one area of family violence which must include extensive literature review and identify controversies about the chosen area. Students selecting this option are expected to include the electronic media (e.g. world wide web) in addition to the usual sources for accomplishing this work. Existing annotated bibliographies (e.g.: Family Violence & Sexual Assault Bulletin, Tyler TX) are to be included as well. (Up to 50% of course grade)

ï RESEARCH PROJECT with summary given in a class presentation on one or more area(s) of family violence in which student(s) conduct(s) an independent research project. (Up to 60% of course grade)

ï Paper on current TEXAS LAWS AND POLICIES IMPACTING FAMILY VIOLENCE with discussion of how these interface with existing controversies in the field. If the paper/presentation is focused on one area of family violence as opposed to a comprehensive review of laws and policies affecting all areas of family violence, how those resources (agencies, organizations, departments, etc.) involved in family violence perform their work should also be included. (Up to 50% of course grade).

ï Paper focusing on CROSS-CULTURAL (national or international) ASPECTS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE. (Up to 50% of course grade)


NOTE: Students should select their project no later than at the end of the second week of the course and briefly consult with instructor to indicate choice and some additional details about what will be undertaken either individually or in group.

Students are encouraged to give a summary of their project in a class presentation not to exceed 20 minutes, allowing at least another 20 minutes for commentary, questions and answers. Students must arrange a time and date with the instructor no later than the third week of the course if a class presentation is to be a part of the project assignment. To enhance presentations students are encouraged to use audio and visual material, invite speakers with a given expertise/experience in the relevant area, etc. (Audio-visual aids are available, but must be reserved in advance).

VII. Evaluation and Grading

The student and instructor will contract for the specific criteria for evaluation as well as the weights for evaluation.

In addition to the project, students will be graded on their class participation which is particularly focused on the quality of student-initiated discussion re. identified course topics. Such participation obviously requires class attendance and active involvement in discussions revealing familiarity with readings. Absence and lack of such participation will be factored into student’s final grade.

Written material will be partly evaluated on the basis of student’s command of grammar, syntax, spelling, APA referencing, etc.

Grading Scale:

95-100 A 77-79 C+

90-94 A- 73-76 C

87-89 B+ 70-72 C-

83-86 B 67-69 D+ (no credit)

80-82 B- Below 67 Failing (no credit)

Please consult UH and GSSW policies regarding incompletes.

VIII. Consultation Instructor will be available by appointment for consultation in addition to posted office hours.

Instructor can be reached at his office by phone: 743-8119. Office visits are welcome: Room 409, Social Work Building.

Students may prefer to communicate with instructor by electronic mail and/or fax.

Email address is: Fax number is 743-8149. If this choice of communication is selected, given the problem of technical glitches which sometimes occur, students are ultimately responsible to verify if instructor received what was communicated electronically. Also, remember the Internet is about as “private” as a post card. The instructor reserves the right not to send sensitive information such as grades electronically.



Spring session 1997 – Dr. Dankwort

First six weeks (Jan. 14, 21,28; Feb. 4, 11, 18)

Introduction and Course Overview


Theoretical approaches to interpersonal violence and implications for intervention, including the impact of racism, sexism, classism, sexual orientation, age and ableness.

Definitions of family violence and attending controversies

Prevalence and varieties of family violence

Practice implications flowing from theoretical perspectives of violence

ï Gelles & Loseke, Current Controversies By Jan. 28: Intro., plus Chs. 1,2,3; By Feb. 18: Chs. 10,11,12 & 13.

ï Levinson, …Cross-Cultural By Jan. 28: Introduction, plus Chs. 1,2,3,4

ï Viano, Intimate Violence By Jan 28: Chs. 1 & 2; By Feb 18: Chs. 3 & 17.

ï Yllö & Bograd, Feminist Perspectives By Jan 28: Chs. 1,2.

Next five weeks (Feb. 25; March 4, 11, 18; April 1)

Areas of family violence and class project presentations

TOPICS (complementing or in addition to class projects):

Partner abuse (heterosexual and same gender) including abuse in dating relationships

ï Gelles & Loseke, Current Controversies By March 4: Chs.4, 5, 6, 7.

ï Levinson, …Cross-Cultural By March 4: Ch.5

ï Viano, Intimate Violence By March 11: Chs. 9, 10, 11.

ï Yllö & Bograd, Feminist Perspectives By March 4: Chs. 4, 5, 6; 8, 9, 10.

Child abuse/neglect; sibling violence

ï Gelles & Loseke, Current Controversies By March 18: Chs. 16, 17, 18, 19.

ï Yllö & Bograd, Feminist Perspectives By March 18: Ch.7

Elder abuse

ï Gelles & Loseke, Current Controversies By April 1: Chs. 14,15.

ï Breckman & Adelman, Strategies for Helping… By April 1: Chs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Final four weeks: (April 8, 15, 22, 29)

Class project presentations and exam on April 29th

TOPICS (in addition to class projects):

Towards safer, more effective and responsible, multi- faceted interventions

Interdisciplinary potential of professional and para-professional persons

Professionals’ attitudes about family violence

ï Breckman & Adelman, Strategies for Helping… By April 15: Ch. 6

ï Gelles & Loseke, Current Controversies By April 15: Chs.20, 21, 22.

ï Levinson, …Cross-Cultural, By April 22: Chs. 6 & 7.

ï Viano, Intimate Violence By April 22: Chs. 13, 14, 15, 16.

ï Yllö & Bograd, Feminist Perspectives, By April 8: Chs.11 & 12; By April 15: Chs. 14 & 15.


Addendum: The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that the university make reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities as defined in the act. Students who feel they need assistance under the ADA guidelines should approach the instructor to discuss such consideration.

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