Family Violence in the United States: new book by Dr. Denise Hines


New book by George Mason University College of Health and Human Services faculty member examines abuse in relationships, understudied victims and perpetrators, and opportunities for prevention and intervention


Credit: George Mason University

In the third edition of Family Violence in the United States: Defining, Understanding, and Combating Abuse, Dr. Denise Hines and coauthors explain the factors that can contribute to family and intimate partner abuse, predictors of abuse, and opportunities for prevention and intervention. Hines is an associate professor of social work in the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University and coauthored the book with Dr. Kathleen Malley-Morrison, a professor emerita at Boston University, and Dr. Leila B. Dutton, a professor at the University of New Haven.

“Many people would be surprised to learn that the highest rates of intimate partner violence seem to be among lesbian couples. They may also be surprised to know the extent to which heterosexual men experience intimate partner violence, comprising anywhere from 25%-50% of cases,” Hines explains. “This highlights why it’s so important that we’re inclusive of who we consider to be victims and who we consider to be perpetrators, and how we need to be similarly inclusive in our approaches to prevention, intervention, and research.”

The book individually addresses abuse among a variety of groups including women, children, and college students, as well as groups of victims that are rarely addressed elsewhere, such as siblings, older adults, sexual minorities, male partners, and more. Each chapter includes individual case examples, which can assist with discussions in classrooms or discussion groups.

“While we’ve seen how important it is to be inclusive of who we consider to be typical victims or perpetrators, we do also see similar predictors of abuse and similar mental, physical, and behavioral health outcomes across all victims and perpetrators,” explains Hines.

New topics in this edition of the book include how technology can be both a means to abuse someone and a means of intervention/prevention, the controversy of whether the prenatal use of substances – updated to include opioids and marijuana – should be considered a form of child abuse, and the effects of abuse on the brain and health, particularly during critical periods for brain development in childhood.

Hines is an internationally recognized expert in the causes, consequences, and prevention of family violence and sexual assault, with a particular focus on under-recognized victims of violence. She has helped bring awareness to the issue of family violence in multiple ways including co-founding Clark University’s Anti-Violence Education Program while she was a faculty member there, which was recognized as a model campus sexual assault prevention program by the U.S. Department of Education. She has also presented her findings to federal and state legislators in the United States and internationally.


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest and most diverse public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 39,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. For more information, visit

About the College of Health and Human Services

George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape the public’s health through academic excellence, research of consequence, community outreach, and interprofessional clinical practice. George Mason is the fastest-growing Research I institution in the country. The College enrolls more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,370 graduate students in its nationally-recognized offerings, including: 5 undergraduate degrees, 13 graduate degrees, and 7 certificate programs. The college is transitioning to a college public health in the near future. For more information, visit

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