ethical issues, and politics. As such, the committee is encouraged by recent efforts to develop definitions and classification schemes for each type of family violence that will be tailored to the health care context and endorses the use of such definitions and data elements to assist in creating a more comprehensive and comprehensible picture of family violence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed such uniform definitions and measurement terms for intimate partner violence (Saltzman et al., 1999). The definitions and data elements recommended in their report reflect attention to the potential health care uses of the terms, recognizing incidents of violence, threats of violence, and consequences of violence, including those relevant to medical settings.
Similar efforts are under way for child abuse and elder abuse. For example, in response to the recommendation for definitional work in the National Research Council report Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect (1993), the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, with the Children’s Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health, has convened a Child Abuse and Neglect Working Group, which among other activities has commissioned work on definitions and classifications of child abuse and neglect. Other efforts to standardize child abuse and neglect definitions have been made, most notably by the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect, although such efforts have not yet resulted in agreement or widespread usage. With regard to elder maltreatment, the National Institute on Aging has funded the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council to conduct a workshop to consider the development of a national survey on the prevalence of elder abuse; consideration of explicit definitions is part of the agenda.