Clark University psychology professor Hines co-authors seminal book on family violence in the U.S.

Denise Hines, Clark University research assistant professor of psychology

As recent headlines focus attention on gun laws, video games, bullying and more, a new edition of “Family Violence in the United States: Defining, Understanding, and Combating Abuse” presents students and practitioners with a thought-provoking examination of maltreatment in families and delves into “less understood and more controversial forms of maltreatment,” including the maltreatment of male partners, of parents and siblings, and within LGBTQ relationships. It also features two new chapters: one on racial-ethnic issues in family violence and one on dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking within college student relationships.

Denise Hines, research assistant professor of psychology at Clark University, is the lead author on this   second edition, which was released in December by Sage Publications. Co-authors are Kathleen Malley-Morrison of Boston University and Leila B. Dutton of the University of New Haven.

“We include separate chapters on LGBTQI relationships, male partners, and elders,” Hines noted. “That’s one unique aspect of this book. These types of maltreatment are often an aside, if mentioned at all in the literature. We see family violence as a holistic problem and that all types of abuse in families need to be considered.”

Among Hines’ contributions to the new edition is Chapter 7: Maltreatment in College Student Relationships, which draws on one area of her expertise. Hines directs the Clark Anti-Violence Education (CAVE) program on campus and also is coordinating, along with Clark University research assistant professor of psychology Kathleen Palm Reed, a four-college program to reduce sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on campus. The program received $499,962 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women. (Click here to learn more.)

While discussing “Family Violence in the United States,” Hines pointed out a “somewhat surprising shift; that all of these forms of violence have been steadily declining since 1993. Even through the recession, when people expect rates of violence to go up, they’ve been declining. Whatever we’re doing on the whole, things are getting better.

“The most intractable forms of violence that are not so obviously declining are the ones people don’t really know about, such as maltreatment of male partners or sibling violence,” Hines continued. “These go unspoken, or excuses are offered, like categorizing abuse as common ‘sibling rivalry.’ Some sibling abuse is very severe and does predict maladaptive outcomes later in life.”

Hines pointed to another form of abuse that is explored in the new text — that of parents by adolescents. It’s “fascinating because it’s under the radar. People don’t acknowledge the stress that it causes families when a child is out of control.”

In all forms of maltreatment, whether involving siblings, parents, male partners, LGBTQ or others, acknowledgement helps reduce incidence, Hines has found. She cited the reduction in child abuse and wife abuse that has resulted through public education about these issues.

The book is not a culmination of her research, Hines said. “But it helps me in my work. Doing the work on this book broadens my perspective. For example, studying child abuse helps me understand aspects of my primary focus, which are male partner violence victimization and violence within college student relationships.” The 600-page book is described by Sage Publications as “a thought-provoking book that encourages students to question assumptions, evaluate information, formulate hypotheses, and design solutions to problems of family violence in the United States.”

Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a small, liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark’s pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark’s faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to contemporary challenges in the areas of psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University’s motto: Challenge convention. Change our world. www.clarku.edu