Family Violence Types and Statistics for New York | Free Essay Example

Family Violence Types and Statistics for New York

Words: 2785
Topic: Sociology


Family violence is prevalent in the present society and is a growing social concern. The 2000 National Family Violence Resurvey reported that assault took place between family members in one in four American families (CDC 2015).

Intimate partner violence is considered a grave but avoidable public health issue affecting countless Americans, with staggering statistics available in the CDC websites. IPV has 20 victims per minute in the U.S., which is equivalent to 10 million victims annually for both women and men (CDC 2015). The CDC (2015) website says that the figure is only a tip of the iceberg since there are approximately 2 million women rape victims annually and more than 7 million men and women stalking victims every year. Walters, Chen, and Breiding (2013:12) also report that one in three gay men, one in ten heterosexual men, and one in five bisexual men experienced rape during their lifetime.

This essay will discuss the three types of family violence and provide a statistical analysis of the incidence of family violence for the state of New York about the various theories and literature on family violence.


Child abuse, partner violence, and elder abuse were researched and handled by authors as separate, dissimilar concerns. Child abuse and maltreatment were investigated in the 1960s, whereas partner violence was examined in the 1970s and 1980s (Appel 2001). On the other hand, studies on elder violence have been too scarce.

Family violence needs more empirical studies to ensure that victims are protected and they get the necessary justice. Local government agencies were used to examine the best interest of the children, whereas abused women’s homes focused on women abused by their spouses. Research should now focus on these three types of family violence so that people can understand the nature and development of family violence.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Studies found that the negative impact of IPV is prevalent on children, specifically on their mental health and development (Fusco 2015). Children exposed to IPV can have emotional and social problems. Children below 6 years old who were witness to violence become more likely involved when they get in between the fighting parents (Fusco 2015).

CDC (2015) states that IPV is preventable but should immediately be dealt with through appropriate reporting by victims. Maternal parenting stress and unsuccessful parenting are significant factors in enhancing mother-child abuse in families which have the unidirectional partner-mother violence (Appel 2001). Partner violence depresses the mother and reduces her chance of being a good parent and puts the risk on the mother-child relationship. Additionally, partner violence reduces the mother’s tolerance for stress where she also becomes a coercive parent. Parent coercion is self-defeating that exacerbates parenting stress by creating an intimidating family process in which the mother believes that what she is doing is necessary to discipline the child.

The attachment theory states that a child’s emotional attachment with parents, or primary caregiver, is related to the child’s future development. When there is strong protection given by the primary caregiver, such as providing a warm and secure presence, the child can obtain secure attachment. But this becomes insecure attachment if there is no warm relationship between the child and the parents, resulting in externalizing problems in the development stage (Fusco 2015). Insecure attachment problems occur in children with mothers experiencing violence at home.

Child Abuse

CDC (2015) states that IPV is preventable but should immediately be dealt with through appropriate reporting by victims. Maternal parenting stress and unsuccessful parenting are significant factors in enhancing mother-child abuse in families which have the unidirectional partner-mother violence (Appel 2001). Partner violence depresses the mother and reduces her chance of being a good parent and puts the risk on the mother-child relationship. Additionally, partner violence reduces the mother’s tolerance for stress where she also becomes a coercive parent. Parent coercion is self-defeating that exacerbates parenting stress by creating an intimidating family process in which the mother believes that what she is doing is necessary to discipline the child.

Studies have found that there is a growing rate of child abuse in families characterized by marital violence (Hotaling, Straus, & Lincoln 1990 cited in Appel 2001). Reported child abuse victims in the U.S. reached 702,000 in 2014 which referred to the child protective services (CPS), but there were 3.4 million referrals of abused or neglected children for the same period (CDC 2016). Of the reported victims’ data, 27% were under three years old. Non-CPS reports state that 1 of 4 children in the U.S. is a victim of child abuse, and this resulted in in1580 deaths in 2014. The total cost for the country was $124 billion annually for this social malady (CDC 2016a).

The literature on partner violence and child abuse, maternal parenting stress, and ineffective parenting are significant features in the development of mother-child abuse in families classified as unidirectional partner-mother violence (Appel 2001). Appel’s (2001) research found 27 empirical studies which proved that children who lived in partner violent homes were at risk of being physically abused. This was proven in the CDC (2016a) statistics which state that there is a higher risk of child abuse in families characterized by marital violence. These data provide indirect support for a relationship between co-occurring spouse abuse and child abuse. Another confusing aspect of data presentation is the classification of victims. For example, child protective services (mentioned earlier) was 702,000 victims in 2014, but non-CPS is one for every 4 children.

Co-Occurrence of Partner Violence and Child Abuse

Most of the research on family violence found a co-occurrence of partner violence and child abuse. Co-occurrence means child abuse is committed when there is the presence of partner violence. Most of the research on the co-occurrence of partner violence and child abuse used samples of families with mothers of the children and a male partner who may or may not be legally or biologically related to the child (Appel 2001). CDC (2016a) has identified partners in several ways (e.g. fathers, mothers, men, women, etc.), but are sometimes confusing, particularly if we try to examine the research across different studies and surveys.

O’Keefe (1994) gathered data for both partner-mother violence and mother-partner violence. In a sample of 185 children of battered mothers, the researcher noted co-occurring partner violence and child abuse between partner-mother violence and partner-child aggression, linking a strong argument over the single perpetrator model of co-occurrence (O’Keefe 1994).

New York Laws for IPV

For the state of New York, a court can issue an “Order of Protection,” which is a civil order to ensure a victim’s safety from a partner or spouse, whether legally married, divorced or separated from, to prevent further harm or injury (Women’s 2016). To obtain the Order of Protection, it must be established that the “abuser” committed an act or acts as defined in the family offenses against the victim, and the petition is termed “family offense petition” (Women’s 2016). Crimes committed are family offenses and the victim is related to the abuser, either by blood or in “intimate relationship,” or they might have a child as a result of a husband and wife relationship.

One of the crimes related to family violence is disorderly conduct, which is defined under “Article 240 (Offenses Against Public Order),” as causing “public inconvenience” or alarm, and a person who commits this involves himself/herself in “violent or tumultuous behavior,” or makes bad-tempered noise in public (Women’s 2016). A person can be charged with Sec. 240.5 (“Harassment in the first degree”) if he/she continuously harasses a person in public or repeated conduct, that may cause fear or physical injury on another (Women’s 2016).

Appel (2001) provided a conceptual framework for understanding the possible relations among family members living in a household where violence is present, by proposing five contrasting models of the directionality of abusive relationships within those families. There is some empirical support for each of these models of co-occurring partner violence and child abuse. A model of this kind is the single perpetrator, pointing at the mother’s partner as the aggressor or abuser.

Previous studies have emphasized uni-directional models of co-occurrence by examining only one type of violent partner relationship in which the male partner is the perpetrator and the mother is the victim of partner violence. Many researchers have tried to systematically operationalize the level of physical violence to examine correlations between partner violence and co-occurring child abuse using the physical violence index of the Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus 1979). CTS has 9 items of physical violence and asks the respondent to report how often each item occurs, using a 7 point scale which ranges from “never” to “more than 20 times.”

Further studies found that focusing on the different aspects of child aggression was important in determining the difference in risk associated with homes where the mother was also assaulted. In the study using the sequential perpetrator model (Appel 2001), the victimized mother becomes the aggressor of the child abuse. This model states that child abuse is significantly related to partner-mother violence. These studies reveal that approximately 75 to 100 percent of mothers who were victims of IPV also used some form of physical assault towards their children (Appel 2001). CDC’s (2015) studies on IPV include mother-partner violence and child abuse but also in parallel with elder abuse.

Several researchers have attempted to differentiate between parent-child aggression and child abuse by using stricter criteria for child abuse that parallels Child Protective Services guidelines for abuse (Appel 2001). In this study, children were grouped into abused versus not abused groups using the “Very Severe” Abuse Index of the CTS, which includes: kicked, bit, or hit with the fist; choked; threatened or used weapon.

The researchers used logistics regression to determine the relations between partner-woman violence and partner-child abuse, which permitted a test of the single perpetrator model. In a sample of 190 families of battered women and 173 comparison families, relations between risk factors related with child abuse included: father’s unemployment, family life stress (e.g. births or deaths in the family, evictions, suicide attempts, etc.) and father’s heavy drinking and father’s abuse of mother were examined. They found that only the father’s abuse of mother significantly predicted paternal child abuse when all of these variables were controlled, which supports the single perpetrator model (Appel 2001).

The resilience theory and Johnson’s typology of domestic violence can provide frameworks for an approach to examine childhood exposure to IPV. Resilience is an active developmental process in which positive adjustment is seen even if there is exposure to risk (Luthar and Cicchetti 2000). Resilience encompasses the whole process in which positive adjustment outcomes come out despite the development of significant risk.

This development is a result of the interaction of individual and childhood influences with the significant risk resulting in negative outcomes (Luthan and Cicchetti 2000). The factors differ in every child and can also have different outcomes for children exposed to the same risk. In other words, the elements of the resilience process are comprised of the significant risk, the child’s weakness and protective factors, and positive adaptation. These elements can be used during research on the child’s IPV exposure and behavioral patterns (Luthan and Cicchetti 2000).

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is a growing social malady but surveys have been too scarce and statistics from CDC (2016b) are not too definitive. The site reports a 2008 survey which states that one in ten elders in the U.S. experienced elder abuse, which is in the form of emotional, physical, or sexual exploitation. There are various ways to cause elder abuse (Rudnick 2008), but statistics for elder abuse vary for the different ethnic groups in the U.S. and estimates are still not definitive (CDC 16b).

Agencies responsible for detecting or determining elder abuse should clearly define elder abuse as definitions have posed as a barrier to its epidemiological research (Pearsall 2006). Definitions vary in different states. For example, most states include self-neglect in their laws and ways of reporting when reporting about the elderly who are living alone and cannot live independently. Pearsall (2006) argues that these individuals should not be included in epidemiological studies of elderly abuse, but they comprise most of Adult Protective Services (APS).

Most survey estimates on the frequency of elder abuse provide data on prevalence and are difficult to compare/contrast due to differences in definitions, sample attributes, and methodologies used.

Elder abuse can be defined as an “intentional or negligent” undertaking by someone who may be a caregiver or any person, that can cause damage or injury to “a vulnerable adult” (Wood 2006:7). Ageism, defined as a biased negative view against the aged, is prevalent in many cultures and can hurt the aging community, including vulnerability to abuse and exploitation (Rudnick 2008).

Elder abuse can be in several forms, such as physical abuse, which may be intentional that can result in chronic illness, injury, disability, or even death; sexual abuse, which can be forced sexual contact and in several forms; emotional abuse, which can be verbal or nonverbal and may result in torment, mental suffering, and emotional pain; neglect, which is negligence on the part of the caregiver or any individual given charge to give care to an elder; and financial abuse, which is the unauthorized use of the elder’s money or resources (CDC 2016b).

Neglect is said to be the most prevalent form of abuse and the root cause of several mental health issues such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, getting worse sicknesses. Emotional abuse was the most commonly reported type of abuse in the U.S. Faith communities were not prepared to deal with the needs of aging members and there was a significant gap in understanding of elder abuse (CDC 2016b).

These explanations and definitions provided by the CDC (2016b) are important to get the appropriate incidence data and to monitor possible violations. This is consistent on the part of the government agency and the persons responsible for giving care to the elderly to investigate the presence or magnitude of elder abuse in any locality. There is a general agreement in the United States that proper reporting on the incidence of elder abuse is truly lacking and that this is essential if we have to protect and restore the dignity of the elder abuse victims (CDC 2016b).

Laws against Elder Abuse

In New York, mandatory reporting for elderly abuse or neglect is required of employees of health care clinics, individuals working as patient caregivers, administrators of homes for the elderly, healthcare professionals, and many others (Rainn 2016).

Pearsall (2006) indicates that culture and ethnicity play a role in the prevalence and perception of elder abuse. Statistical analysis is influenced by limited research for elder abuse. This gap may be due to two causes: most studies are exclusively about white samples while ethnic group identity is only considered a variable in elder abuse research; the U.S. is multicultural, therefore concepts of elder mistreatment vary across cultural or ethnic groups (Pearsall 2006).

The “tip of the iceberg” theory which pertains elder abuse states that agencies concerned of official reporting, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Pearsall 2006), are alerted to the most common and visible cases of abuse and neglect, but so many cases of elder abuse incidents are still unknown and unreported (Pearsall 2006). The CDC website provides electronic reporting and asks possible informants to report any incident of elder abuse. More reporting is still needed.


Intimate partner violence, child abuse, and elder abuse are a growing sickness in our society, a so-called advanced civilization now equipped with the latest technology to heal the sick and with social mechanisms to protect the rights of the disadvantaged and marginalized. The United States has dealt with this social malady for quite some time, perhaps decades now. But the fact remains that little has been done to protect the vulnerable – our women, children, and elderly.

We have discussed in this essay the various IPV incidents, abuses, including social mechanisms in dealing with victims of IPV, child abuse, and elder abuse. The literature provides facts and reportage on the co-occurrence of IPV and child abuse. There were many instances that mothers who were victims of IPV also resort to “victimizing” their children, in the form of coercion and maltreatment, consciously or unconsciously. This co-occurrence is common in IPV incidents in the United States.

With respect to elder abuse, it is to be noted that there has not been much attention afforded to elder abuse by society in general. Government agencies and other social institutions are concerned but much effort has to be given to alert the families of our elders who remain in homes and care institutions, where they are vulnerable to abuse.


Appel, Anne Elizabeth. 2001. “Co-occurring Partner Violence and Physical Child Abuse: A Test of Competing Models.” PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, Texas.

Center for Disease Control 2015. “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.” Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control. Web.

Center for Disease Control 2016a. “Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention.” Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control. Web.

Center for Disease Control 2016b. “Understanding elder abuse.” Web.

Fusco, Rachel A. 2015. “Socioemotional Problems in Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence: Mediating Effects of Attachment and Family Supports.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 1 (18):1-18.

Luthar, Suniya S., and Dante Cicchetti. 2000. “The Construct of Resilience: Implications for Interventions and Social Policies.” Development and Psychopathology 12 (4):857-885.

O’Keefe, Maura. 1994. “Linking Marital Violence, Mother-Child/Father-Child Aggression, and Child Behavior Problems.” Journal of Family Violence 9 (1):63-78.

Pearsall, Catherine. 2006. “Detection and Management of Elder Abuse: Nurse Practitioner Self-Perceptions of Barriers and Strategies.” PhD dissertation, Duquesne University, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network 2016. “New York Mandatory Reporting Requirements: Elderly.” Web.

Rodnick, John D. 2008. “Elder Abuse and Neglect: A Survey of Clergy Awareness, Knowledge, Intervention Preferences, and Perceived Severity.” PhD dissertation, Argosy University, Sarasota, Florida.

Straus, Murray A. 1979. “Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The Conflict Tactics Scales.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 41 (1):75-88.

Walters, Mikel L., Jieru Chen and Matthew J. Breiding. 2013. “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation.” Web.

Women’s 2016. “Orders of Protection.” Web.

Wood, Erica F. 2006. “The Availability and Utility of Interdisciplinary Data on Elder Abuse: A White Paper for the National Center on Elder Abuse.” Web.