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Cruel but Not Unusual

Violence in Canadian Families

Ramona Alaggia and Cathy Vine, editors


Paper 536 pp.

ISBN13: 978-0-88920-403-4

Release Date: April 2006


Paper edition is out of print.  


Violence in families and intimate relationships affects a significant proportion of the population—from very young children to the elderly. Although no one is immune to violence, some groups are particularly vulnerable. Cruel but Not Unusual: Violence in Canadian Families is the first book to offer a national survey of the latest research and practice, and it reflects on the patriarchal roots and societal conditions in Canada that have led to the long-standing abuse of women and children. While feminist theories provide an overarching framework, a broad range of approaches is offered to examine and respond to critical aspects of this serious social problem. Topics include: systemic oppression of Aboriginal families and communities; violence in a francophone minority context; child corporal punishment; abuse in the lives of people with disabilities; the objectification of older adults; mother blaming; intimate violence in same-sex relationships; and new approaches to solving the problem of violence in Canadian families.

Ramona Alaggia is Associate Professor of Social Work and the Factor-Inwentash Chair in Children’s Mental Health at the University of Toronto where she teaches social work practice with children and their families. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, her studies examine disclosure processes of child sexual abuse and intimate partner violence survivors, the impact of various forms of justice on survivors of sexual violence, and help-seeking for survivors of intimate partner violence. The results of this research have culminated in Dr. Alaggia’s most recent publication -Risky Business: An Ecological Analysis of Intimate Partner Violence Disclosure. She currently consults to and evaluates programs delivering services to survivors and their children, and for fathers who expose their children to intimate partner violence.


“This book makes a positive contribution to our understanding of violence amongst intimates, especially in terms of emphasizing the continuum of violence. The literature reviewed in different chapters is often extensive.... I do recommend this book for university and college libraries.”

— Aysan Sev’er, University of Toronto, Canadian Journal of Sociology