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Violence in Stepfamilies: A Journalistic Look

When families merge and create stepfamilies, it’s natural to be concerned about how everyone will get along. Most stepfamilies do well in the face of potential stressors. But stepfamilies do face a greater risk of violence than traditional families where the children are biologically related to both parents.

Risk of Violence for Stepchildren

The New York Times, investigating research from Dr. Martin Daly and Dr. Margo Wilson, evolutionary psychologists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, reported that infanticide rates are 60 times higher and sexual abuse rates eight times higher in stepfamilies than in biologically related families. The McMaster University researchers believe that there may be a genetic link to lower rates of violence in biologically related families.

According to Dr. Daly, “there’s a lot of violence involving step-relatives that can’t be explained in terms of poverty, maternal youth and other commonly cited factors.” Drs. Daly and Wilson found that the role economic stress plays in stepfamilies is almost negligible when they factored in the “degree of genetic relatedness” into account.

Child Abuse in Indiana

According to a 2019 report from the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Indiana and Kentucky have some of the highest rates of child abuse in the U.S., more than double the national average. Indiana has a rate of 18.6 victims of child abuse for every 1,000 children. At the same time, the national average is 9.1 victims per 1,000 children.

Officials from the state hypothesize that Indiana’s rate of violence against children has skyrocketed in recent years because of the opioid epidemic. But other reports suggest that while Indiana is quick to investigate allegations of child abuse, officials can only substantiate 15% of abuse allegations. Indiana puts more families into the court system when perhaps better supports for parents and drug treatment options could help families more.

Hire an Experienced Indiana Family Lawyer

If you are facing allegations of abuse or family violence, it can be devastating for you and your family. You need an experienced criminal lawyer by your side, protecting your rights. The skilled defense attorneys at Razumich & Associates can help. Call us at 317-983-5333, email us at [email protected], or contact us through our website.

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