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Domestic Abuse: Why does it happen? – Considering Regional Society Surrounding Families

2014.06.20

Unit Name:
Total Policy for the Family
Unit representative:
Professor Miyoko Motozawa, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Unit members:
28 (9 faculty members, 1 postdoctoral fellows, 18 from other organizations)

Key words:
Social law, family policy, comparative jurisprudence, abuse, violence

 

Professor Miyoko Motozawa considers that most problems of modern society are caused by the social isolation of families. She aims to realize a civil society where there is a strong communal approach to raising children and looking after elderly people, as well as a social environment that can prevent the isolation of families. This research unit (Figure 1) investigates a truly effective family policy by examining family violence and abuse using a novel approach by integrating studies of social policy, law, and medical science as the basis of human society.

Figure 1: Logo of the research unit

Figure 1: Logo of the research unit

Comprehensive understanding of family abuse and violence as resulting from changes in family status

Currently, the abuse of children, elderly people, and disabled persons, as well as spousal abuse have been raised as problems. To protect such victims, individual laws targeting specific types of victim were established, and measures were taken against each type of crime occurring in Japan. The clarity of identifying persons subject to the law, such as the above victims, is an advantage of the law; however, problems remain regarding those who are not subject to the existing laws or measures, such as violence and abuse involving elderly couples with disabilities. This, which is unique to Japan, was revealed as a result of an international comparison study on the abuse/violence prevention act implemented in 11 countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. We view domestic violence and abuse as a socially pathological phenomenon resulting from changes in the family status, and examine measures to prevent them cross-sectionally and comprehensively by referring to acts and measures implemented in other countries.

Proposing effective and practical measures by integrating a wide range of professional knowledge, such as medical science, law, and social policy

To prevent the social isolation of families, which is the aim of our research unit, “Total policy for the family”, people’s social sense and awareness are factors that hamper it. The Japanese government has improved legal systems in order to ratify international treaties; however, there is a wide gap between the law and social sense and awareness of Japanese citizens. We examine whether or not/how a legal framework set up by the law functions within society, and strive to achieve a society close to ideals by improving the law to reinforce acceptable behavior (Figure 2). We also develop effective measures by incorporating medical and legal perspectives other than social security and cooperating with other researchers from multiple fields of study, and report such measures through international conferences and publication using an international network.

Figure 2: Family problems of modern society (upper) A wide gap between the law and social sense and awareness of Japanese citizens Aims of the total policy for the family (lower) Preventing the social isolation of families by improving the law so as to exert effects within society

Figure 2: Family problems of modern society (upper)
A wide gap between the law and social sense and awareness of Japanese citizens
Aims of the total policy for the family (lower)
Preventing the social isolation of families by improving the law so as to exert effects within society

Social contributions and achievements
● Hold the Japan-Germany symposium at the Japanese-German Center Berlin (with Japanese and German simultaneous interpretation).
● Hold a public symposium on Japanese, German, and Korean long-term care insurance (with Japanese and German simultaneous interpretation).
● Established an education and research facility, “Center for Global Aging”.
● Proposed effective and practical measures as research outcomes through interdisciplinary studies, such as other fields of law, particularly psychiatry and social medicine, by understanding domestic “abuse and violence” from the perspective of family support.
● Hold an open seminar on family and parenting support provided in Germany and the U.K. at Nihon University (with Japanese and German simultaneous interpretation).
● Hold a public lecture on Swedish laws for juveniles (with Japanese and English consecutive interpretation) and public seminar on measures against child abuse (with Japanese and English simultaneous interpretation).
● Publication (Shinzansha Publisher)
* Miyoko Motozawa/Bernd von Maydell (ed.) “Total policy for the family – Based on an international comparison between Japan and Germany”, 2007
* Miyoko Motozawa/Bernd von Maydell (ed.) “Total policy for the family II – Family policy in civil society”, 2009
* Miyoko Motozawa/Uta Meier-Grawe (ed.) “Total policy for the family III – Reconciliation of work and family life”, 2013

(Interviewed on September 19, 2013)


Research Administration/Management Office at U Tsukuba TEL 029-853-4434