This book had its origins in a conference which was funded by the Department of Health and Social Security and which took place at the University of Kent at Canterbury in September 1981. The conference brought together several very different groups of people: researchers who had been investigating different aspects of wife abuse, practitioners who met battered women in the course of their work, and policy makers with responsibility for a wide range of welfare services. The practitioners included social workers, housing managers, doctors, nurses, health visitors, solicitors, policemen and policewomen, marriage guidance counsellors and workers in refuges and in advice centres. The participants also included a number of women who had had personal experience of being battered. The conference was such a success that it seemed important that the knowledge and understanding which it generated should be made available to a wider audience. This book is the result. It is aimed not only at those working in the professions mentioned above, but also at people training for those professions, at students in the relevant social science disciplines, and at all those who have an interest in the changing nature of family life.