My research on family violence and training programs of non-violent interactions

The focus of my research in 1977-79 was on the factors that contribute to maintaining and sustaining family violence. I found that all institutions, family, church, education, health care, laws, and law enforcement did not take the word of a child or battered spouse seriously, ignored or denied abuse occurred, and did not do what was necessary to make changed that needed to be made. Furthermore, I found the highest incident rate of child abuse occurred in homes of the religious. This was "Toward a Theory of Family Violence, Its Antecedents, Treatment and Prevention." There are no copies of that thesis available that I know of. I typed it on an old Smith Corona typewriter. 

My next research project was to focus on the church as an institution that contributed to the problems of family violence. In that study, I revealed how the teachings and preachings of christianity supported family violence. The dissertation was "A splendid Heresy" and my doctoral committee denied me a PhD because I was "biased". That was 1979. 

My next strategy was to work with individuals in families with parent training, life-skills training, conflict and problem solving training. I trained boys and their families at boys' ranches where the courts had sent delinquent boys. I trained police officer, lawyers and judges in the long range impact of family violence on society, its costs, its threats to the safety of law enforcement personnel, and disruption of schools. I trained ministers in the role of the church in creating a hierarchical family structure that put men in a dominant role, women as subordinate, and children as property. I provided training for teachers' unions and administrators. I held meetings with social services and provided training for their staffs. I trained inmates and guards of federal, state and municipal prisons. I maintained a tickler file of people telling me of incidents when their abuse was not taken seriously by the professionals they consulted; I met with those professionals who had not provided protection for the abused. 

One person, one family, one professional and professional group at a time, I provided the data that I found and offered an alternative to violence in family life and in the institutions that interface with professionals. 

Slowly, people begin to understand that there is a better way to conduct interpersonal relations. There are now laws that did not exist in 1977. There is still work to be done. The general public needs to be outraged by the incidents of neglect and abuse that occurs behind the closed doors of homes and institutions. 

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Comment by tom sarbeck on August 30, 2014 at 1:54am

Joan, check out the following

The Political Consequences of Child Abuse
by Alice Miller
The Journal of Psychohistory 26 (2) Fall 1998

 At the website you might recognize some names.



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