The Missing Piece in Family Violence Policy
Social work has played an integral role in the conceptualization and implementation of policy aimed at prevention and intervention of various forms of family violence. Seminal federal policies to address child abuse and neglect (Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act), elder abuse (Elder Justice and Older Americans Acts), and intimate partner violence (Violence Against Women and Family Violence Prevention and Services Acts) all focus on specific types of violence in the family. To date, however, there are no federal policies specifically addressing physical and/or emotional sibling violence (Perkins, Coles, & O’Connor, 2017; Perkins & O’Connor, 2016). This article examines the exclusion of policy addressing physical and emotional sibling violence considering other family violence policies. Along with prevalence, consequences, and associative factors connected to sibling violence, definitional issues that impede the creation of policy to address this form of family violence are highlighted. Children as a marginalized population, deserving the attention of social workers through policy advocacy will be discussed as well as psychoeducation and interprofessional collaboration that may facilitate the creation of policies aimed at addressing this form of family violence.
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