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This compelling new text explores family violence throughout the life course, with special attention to the social character and causes of family violence. From child abuse and neglect to intimate partner violence and elder abuse, Hattery and Smith ask students to consider how social inequality, especially gender inequality, contributes to tensions and explosive tendencies in family settings. Students learn about individual preventative measures and are also invited to question the justice of our current social structure, with implications for social policy and reorganization. Hattery and Smith pepper the text with evocative case studies from their own research and illuminating stories published in mainstream media. Unique coverage of same-sex couples and multicultural couples, as well as of theory and methods, make this text an essential element of any course considering the sociology of family violence.