Sibling Violence

The Missing Piece in Family Violence Policy


  • Nathan H. Perkins Loyola University Chicago
  • Susan F. Grossman Loyola University Chicago



sibling violence, family violence, policy, policy research, policy advocacy


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.

Author Biographies

Nathan H. Perkins, Loyola University Chicago

Assistant Professor

School of Social Work 

Loyola University Chicago

Susan F. Grossman, Loyola University Chicago


School of Social Work 

Loyola University Chicago


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