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The Bradley Family


Domestic violence (DV), both sexual and physical, is one of the most prevalent forms of violence. A man beating a woman, a wife beating her husband (it happens more seldom), verbal violence over each other - these things do not just torture people, but destroy the family. In addition, the arguments of parents, the scenes where they are yelling at each other and/or beating each other influence the children directly. As a rule, in such families children are afraid of the more aggressive parent and in the future it may have dangerous effects.

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There are a lot of family violence examples in any police department in any corner of the world. However, one of the most recent and interesting cases to investigate is the Bradley family case. It is interesting in terms of understanding the causes of the domestic violence, the role of spouses in the case as well as the effect of constant fights and yelling upon the children of the school age. In addition, the Bradley family case helps to assess the juridical aspects of the domestic violence cases using the indicators of abuse and the Cycle of Violence.


When reading the case scenario, the first impression and thought is the role of alcohol in the abuse. It is mentioned that Sam Bradley (perpetrator) drinks from four to six bottles of beer every night after work. Thus, the amount of the alcohol in blood may affect his mood, i.e. make him more aggressive. However, relating an adult abuse case only to alcohol dependency is a bias for me. When working with this family, I, perhaps, could be biased by the alcohol abuse by the perpetrator and could fail to indicate and investigate other causes of DV in this particular case. What is more, the gender role distinction in the Bradley family (the man earns money, and the woman takes care of the children and house) may also lead to biased and self-aware work with the family. One may project their own views on how the family life should be organized onto the family investigated and then unintentionally take the side of one of the spouses, which would affect the judgments and final conclusions.

When working with this family or any other, one should not be biased and should be impersonal, honest and diligent when making decisions. The absence of prejudice is one of the most frequent indicators of the successful work (Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, n.d.). Thus, to avoid prejudice in this particular case, the following steps should be performed. First, to avoid bias in terms of alcohol abuse, the case should be closely investigated. When scrutinizing the background of the Bradley’s story, one may notice that alcohol acts only an accelerator, but the real cause is the strict gender roles in the family and views of the husband on how the family life should be organized. Thus, for me it is a useful way to avoid biasing and prejudice.

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Finally, to be impersonal and objective, one should avoid evaluating a particular situation and/or people and perceive the stories as solid facts, not trying to change anything. For me, the way out is to analyze the case only from a legal viewpoint. Perhaps, it is not a completely right thing to do from ethical or moral standpoint, but it would provide honesty and objectiveness in my decisions and conclusions. In addition, a good solution is to have a partner to work with on this case since his/her opinion and thought would affect my own ones and, thus, prevent subjective judgment and provide honest and fair conclusions.

Case Assessment

The information collected for this case investigation by local authorities is clear and complete. No additional facts are required for further understanding. The background of the abuse as well as its direct and indirect causes are clear. However, in order to understand the reason behind the behavior of the perpetrator, it would be useful to investigate his family history. It is generally known that children who saw violent behavior of their parents copy it in their own families in adulthood. Thus, perhaps, one of the indirect causes of the incident in particular and the domestic violence as a whole in this family is the childhood experience of Sam Bradley and the views which he might have copied from his father. In case its is so, the working plan for this family could be changed in terms of investigating the childhood experience.

The usage of various violence indicators and theories may be useful when working on this case. For example, the Circle of Violence could help to assess Bradley’s family relations. It could be sued as the example of Mr. and Mrs. Bradley relationship development explanation. In addition, a useful idea is to engage a psychotherapist in order to explain Mr. and Mrs. Bradley the stages of the violence cycle and give advice on how to act in case the situation repeats in the future. For a psychologist, it would be useful in terms of proving the theory of violence cycle in practice.

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Another tool to use is Power and Control Wheel (Kentucky Department for Community Based Services, n.d.). It may be used when working with Mr. Bradley to show him that he actually tries to gain power and control over the family, which he denies. For example, knowing the feature of physical violence, questions like “Was it you who insisted on Sandra staying home with children?”, “Do you feel as “the master of the castle?”, “Do you think it is her fault that you cannot relax at home?” or “Whose fault is it that you are experiencing constant stress at home?”, etc. could be asked in order to further assess the case. Positive answers for these questions are the signs of Power and Control tendency and may be shown to the perpetrator to indicate that the violence is really happening.

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