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CRMJ 4520 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

CRMJ 4520 - Patterns of Domestic Violence

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course will focus on forms of violence related to the social institution of the family. Specifically, we will focus on the history of intimate partner abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, and related topics. This course revolves around three themes: 1) gaining knowledge and insight about family violence, 2) understanding the social context of family violence, 3) exploring and developing one's personal philosophy about family violence and related issues. This class will combine readings, discussions, active-learning exercises and quizzes. 

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  1. have an understanding of the various forms of domestic violence in society (e.g., dating abuse, domestic violence between hetero- and homosexual couples, elderly abuse, etc.)
  2. be adept at applying several criminological theoretical perspectives to the study of family violence
  3. be able to compare/contrast victim/perpetrator risk factors associated with various forms of domestic violence in society
  4. understand how the sociological perspective aids in the research and understanding of family violence
  5. be able to apply their knowledge of family violence in the development of prevention and intervention programs 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

SOCI 1010 - Introduction to Sociology OR CRMJ 1010 - Introduction to Criminal Justice

Course Topics:
  1. History of Family Violence
  2. Theoretical Perspectives and Measurement Issues in the Study of Family Violence
  3. Intimate Partner Abuse (Heterosexual Couples, Same-Sex Couples)
  4. International Abuse of Women
  5. Child Abuse
  6. Elderly Abuse
  7. Media and Violence Against women
  8. System Responses (Prevention and Intervention) 
Specific Course Requirements:

Please see the following special guidelines that govern this course:

  1. This course contains graphic videos and presentations that may cause victims to experience flashbacks and nightmares. Victim/survivors should review the entire syllabus carefully before leaving the course.
  2. This is an academic course, not therapy or a support group. It cannot substitute for more effective help. Victims or survivors who may have nightmares, flashbacks or other problems are advised to not take this course at this time.
  3. Withholding: Do not feel obligated to reveal your own experiences. Reveal only what is comfortable for you to have other people know. You should know that under Title IX, I am REQUIRED to formally report any cases of domestic/dating abuse that are voiced in this course. Therefore, please be cautious before discussing anything of this nature in a public forum or before emailing me directly. In contrast, your local domestic abuse shelter (which is Genesis House, Inc. (1-800-707-5197) if you're located in Cookeville) CAN ensure your confidentiality.
  4. Confidentiality: Any revelations made in the class should not be repeated in an identifiable way to others.
  5. Respect: We should respect victims/survivors and their decisions even if we disagree. We should also respect perpetrators and recognize their victimization while asserting their responsibility for their actions.
  6. Disagreements should be handled through constructive dialogue. It is easy to get angry or defensive with whom we disagree and with categories of people. Keep it constructive. Please refer to the guidelines for communication found later in this syllabus.
  7. Hope and Activism: It is easy to get depressed and to despair about this subject. Keep in mind that the situation is better today than ten, twenty, and thirty years ago because activists worked for change. It will be better in another ten years only if we insist on it and work for it. By participating in this course, you will further the awareness and change necessary to one day prevent abuse before it happens.
  8. Students should contact a friend, family member, or someone else of trust if experiencing abuse. Students can also call their local police department at 911 or their local domestic violence shelter to speak with a victim advocate. Keep in mind that the police can pursue charges against the perpetrator regardless of the wishes of the victim/survivor. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

The following articles should be accessible for free. Students, select 'RODP Virtual Library' from the right-hand menu on the course homepage. You will have access to both your instructor's campus library and the RODP library database. Search for the article by title, or consult an RODP Librarian from the library website to assist you.

  1. Module One: None
  2. Module Two: 
    1. Loseke. (2004). Men’s Violence Toward Women is the Serious Social Problem. In R.J. Gelles & D.R. Loseke (Eds.), Current Controversies on Family Violence, (2nd Edition ed., pp. 79-95) Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
    2. Straus. (2004). Women’s Violence Toward Men is a Serious Social Problem. In R.J. Gelles & D.R. Loseke (Eds.), Current Controversies on Family Violence, (2nd Edition ed., pp. 55-77) Newbury Park: Sage Publications
  3. Module Three: None
  4. Module Four: Amnesty International Report on the State of the World's Human Rights.
  5. Module Five: None
  6. Module Six: The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging.
  7. Module Seven: Avoiding Victim Blaming. Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness.
    1. Flood, M., & Pease, B. (2009). Factors influencing attitudes to violence against women. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 10(2), 125-142
    2. Sharp, G. (2012). Patriarchal Bargain How-To Guide. Sociological Images
  8. Module Eight: None 
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

This course utilizes randomized quizzes to assess student learning at the end of each topic. During these quizzes, browsers will not be locked down. However, quizzes must be completed by their designated “close” date in order to be considered for points. Quizzes will comprise of fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice, short essay, and true/false questions. 

Grading Procedures:
8 Active Learning Exercises @ 20 points each160 Points
8 Discussions @ 10 points each80 Points
8 Quizzes @ 20 points each160 Points
1 Paper (i.e. Book Report) @ 100 points100 Points
Total Points500 Points


Grading Scale:
448-500 PointsA
398-447 PointsB
348-397 PointsC
298-347 PointsD
under 297 PointsF


Assignments and Projects:

Active-Learning Assignments (160 total points possible): During the semester, students will engage in various active learning exercises that are designed to assist in the application of course material to the everyday world. Details about each particular activity will be discussed in advance of due dates. These activities cannot be turned in late unless a documented emergency occurred (e.g., note from doctor/hospitalization, note documenting death in the family, record of accident, etc.).

Book Report (100 total points possible): This assignment involves reading a book about family violence (from the list of approved books), critiquing it using course material (i.e., does it match what you’ve learned in this course?), and applying a theoretical perspective to “frame” what happened (if it is a collection of stories – then select an overall perspective that you most agree with). The specific format of the book report will be posted on the class website. Book reports will be due near the end of the semester (see course calendar).

Discussions (80 total points possible): During each week, students are expected to discuss the course material over the class discussion board. The instructor will prompt discussion by outlining specific questions students will have to address in their posts. Aside from posting their own reflections and thoughts on the readings, students are required to engage their peers in active conversation and debate. In other words, it is expected that there will be disagreement. Students will not be allowed to see any of their peers’ posts until they post themselves. Here are some tips on how to be successful in the discussion component of this course:

  • Perhaps the biggest challenge in social science, and particularly when discussing controversial topics, is to overcome our own personal biases. From a sociological perspective, our experiences are shaped by factors such as class, gender, and race. Therefore, while your perspective and your experiences may be dramatically different from a classmate on a certain topic, it doesn’t make either of those experiences (your own or your peer’s) any less valid. In other words, be sensitive to the fact that your experiences may or may not represent what empirical data says about a particular social problem. In sociology, social scientists look to empirical data to identify patterns in society. Thus, the experience of one or two, while important to those one or two, could be not an accurate representation of a pattern that has been identified repeatedly through systematic research. This is particularly important in discussing domestic abuse – as you will see!
  • Actually read the posts of your peers and respond thoughtfully. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree, but be constructive and never personal. Related to the aforementioned, ensure you are basing at least part of your argument/claim/response on actual data outside of your own personal knowledge. Personal opinion is fine to note, but should not represent the majority of your posts. This is an upper-level course and I expect you to utilize your knowledge of research each week in the discussions.
  • Enter the discussion well in advance of the deadline and remain active throughout the topic timeframe. Entering the discussion a few hours or a day before the closure date will result in a lower score (i.e., 2 points will be deducted if you enter the discussion on the day it is due). Please also familiarize yourself with the guidelines for communication found in this document.
  • Ensure you are actually adding to the discussion and not simply reiterating what previous posts have noted. While I want you to reply, just agreeing with a bunch of people is not engaging in the discussion.
  • Ensure you’re keeping the threads together by clicking the “reply” button. Do not attempt to reply to someone outside of the thread in which the first comment was made or it will become confusing to everyone else following the discussion.
  • Avoid any insulting or inflammatory comments to others. Also, avoid making any victim- blaming statements that – in any possible way – could be interpreted as you are attributing blame for abuse to victims/survivors (e.g., “why didn’t she/he just leave,” “well she/he went back to him/her,” “I would never allow myself to be abused like this ”). No one chooses to be abused and we all have the basic human right to be safe/secure in our person. I will immediately assign you a zero for the week if you violate this rule. I am particularly strict here because chances are that there will be victims/survivors in this course.

​Quizzes (160 total points possible): During the semester, eight quizzes will be given including material covered up to that date. This is to ensure that students are reading the required the material and assess the overall understanding of topics among the class. 

Class Participation:

Although this course does follow a set schedule, this is a student-driven course. In other words, the onus in on YOU to participate and e engaged virtually with the class. 

Late Policy:

Late work will NOT be accepted unless documentation of an emergency (e.g. hospitalization or comparable event) is submitted to the instructor within 48 hours of the missed deadline. Late work will only be accepted for a missed Dropbox assignment. Given the nature of discussions (e.g., interaction among peers), these cannot be made up once the deadline to post has passed. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017