“the intentional intimidation, physical and/or sexual abuse, or battering of children, adults or elders by a family member, intimate partner, or caretaker” (Alpert, Cohen, & Sege, 1997, p. 53) Family violence can encompass child abuse and neglect, violence among partners and elder abuse (McDaniel, Campbell, Hepworth, & Lorentz, 2005; Segrin & Flora, 2011). Abusive families often lack the internal controls to create a safe environment and a significant power differential may exist that increases the risk of violence. An abuse of power contributes to an emotional or physical environment that is not nurturing for family members.
· Screen for safe family environment
· Recognize signs of abuse and assess family to rule out abuse
· Ask about specific behaviors
· Mobilize a safety network for the family
· Acknowledge a range of conflict and difficulties in relationships
· Initiate the work of change and healing
· Launch referral system to obtain help
· Interview family members individually
· Ask questions in nonjudgmental, nonthreatening manner
· Ruther assess use of substances
· Develop safety plans as needed (McDaniel, Campbell, Hepworth, & Lorentz, 2005; Rizo, Macy, Ermentrout, & Johns, 2011).