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April 23, 2003
OSWEGO -- In publishing "Violence in the Home: Multidisciplinary Perspectives," Dr. Karel Kurst-Swanger, an assistant professor of public justice at SUNY Oswego, was trying to accomplish something that had not been done in nearly two decades.
"There had been a shortage of comprehensive books on the subject since the early 1980s," she said. "A lot of recent books that have come out have focused on specific elements. I thought it would fill a wide niche in the market."
Multiple publishing houses vied for the manuscript before the prestigious Oxford University Press secured the rights to publish the book this spring, Kurst-Swanger said.
"Violence in the Home," co-authored by consumer advocate Jacqueline L. Petcosky, covers "not only the theoretical and practical dimensions of family violence" but also aspects that have not received much attention in these kinds of texts, Kurst-Swanger said.
"We have a chapter on 'hidden victims,' like siblings, parents who are abused by young children, and abused animals," she said. "That's unique because other works only mention topics like these in passing."
She also includes a chapter on "pseudo-family" violence (a term she coined) -- such as the young in foster homes or the elderly in nursing homes -- that examines parallel problems and further broadens the subject, Kurst-Swanger said.
"That is why the book's title refers to 'violence in the home' instead of 'family violence,'" she noted. "We're really the first ones to have taken such a broad approach."
Kurst-Swanger's work with victims of domestic violence and teaching experience served as a jumping-off point into a wider multidisciplinary study. The authors' research spanned such fields as sociology, law, medicine, criminal justice and veterinary science.
The process of writing a comprehensive and more up-to-date alternative to other texts took about three years, followed by another year of getting the manuscript to text.
But to Kurst-Swanger, how the lengthy research benefited her growth as a scholar may have been one of the biggest payoffs. "Researching a book was a good learning experience," she said. "I ended up learning a lot more than I ever thought I would."
"Violence in the Home" sells for $65 in hardcover and $37 in paperback.
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