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Family Violence Across the Life Course: Child, Partner and Elder Abuse

Family Violence Across the Life Course: Child, Partner and Elder Abuse

Family violence exists with varying severity throughout the life course in the form of abuse, exploitation and neglect of vulnerable groups, such as infants, children, intimate partners, disabled persons and elder adults.  Ethical and scientific controversies are explored in this course as we dispel myths, advance theoretical perspectives, and review existing empirical research. The aim is to reveal what is known about causes and distinctions in types of mistreatment.  The economic, physical and psychological costs and consequences to individuals and society are staggering, so we focus on efforts to detect and curb these destructive forces.  Abuse is a difficult reality, so understanding the network of professionals intervening in cases of exposed family violence is important, along with the resources available to protect survivors and prevent future harm.  Public health campaigns, victim’s rights, criminal justice solutions and legislative initiatives are compared with the purpose of improving the quality of life for generations of families in Utah, the US and internationally.

This Praxis Lab will examine multiple viewpoints and experiences of family violence including victims, perpetrators, witnesses or family members, and community professionals working with those affected by family violence.  Students will read empirical, scientific and medical articles, legal cases, and non-fiction writing in order to develop a better understanding of what is known and what areas need more extensive research.  A diverse methodology will inspire learning with guest speakers (professionals, survivors), site visits, international films, and video clips.  In the second semester students will present their projects born from a synthesis of our discussions, readings and experiences to create a meaningful product, legislative contribution or intervention in our community.


Antoinette L. Laskey, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAP

Dr. Laskey completed her medical degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine followed by her pediatric residency at the University of Missouri-Columbia Hospitals and Clinics. She completed a research and clinical fellowship and a master’s degree in public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Laskey spent 9 years at Indiana University and Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis where she was the Fellowship Director for the Child Abuse Pediatrics program and the co-director of the Family Violence Institute. She joined the University of Utah as the division chief of the Center for Safe and Healthy Families at Primary Children’s Hospital in 2012 and is a Professor of Pediatrics.  Dr. Laskey has since completed her MBA at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and is particularly interested in process improvement initiatives.

Dr. Laskey’s clinical interests relate to the evaluation and management of the potentially abused child. Her research interests include cognitive errors in decision making related to child maltreatment, child fatalities and prevention programs related to unsafe sleep practices and child abuse. Dr. Laskey enjoys teaching multi-disciplinary audiences and presents on topics related to child maltreatment, cognitive errors and the investigation of child deaths.

Sonia Salari, Ph.D.

Dr. Salari is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies (FCS) at the University of Utah. She is a family sociologist with a specialty in gerontology, race and ethnicity. She received her doctorate at the University at Albany, in upstate New York. Her work has won national awards, including the Gerontological Society of America dissertation award. She was awarded a National Institute on Aging NIA postdoctoral fellowship at the Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  It was there that she served as an advocate for victims, at the Orange/Durham Coalition for Battered Women.

Her faculty appointment at Utah began in 1995. In 2005 she won the College of Social and Behavioral Science Superior Teaching Award and in 2008 the University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award. Her courses include FCS 5370 family violence, FCS 5240 adult development in mid/later life and FCS 5962/6962 family policy and advocacy.  For over 20 years, her students have partnered with a variety of non-profit organization to lobby the Utah State Legislature.

Her community service work includes membership in Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and the Utah Commission on Aging.  At the University, she served as graduate director of the human development and social policy (HDSP) master’s program. Known for her research on domestic violence homicide and elder mistreatment, she is author of over 30 publications, as well as her book, Family Violence Across the Life Course: Research, policy and prevention (2015, Kendall Hunt).

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