By now, it should be obvious that family violence is a serious social problem in the United States, as it is in other parts of the world. Family violence is like a complex disease in at least three ways. First, like a disease, family violence is not always easily explained. It is diffi cult to fi nd its origins, what causes it, how it spreads throughout a population, who is most susceptible and who is likely to be immune. Second, like health care professionals, family justice workers must be prepared to take effective intervention measures to help those affected by family violence. Finally, family violence is much like a disease in that it can have longterm consequences on those who suffer the various forms of family violence. Describing family violence and disease from a life-course perspective, one author writes:
In line with the life-course perspective, it is clear that family violence victims, unless treated appropriately, can suffer long-term and damaging consequences.