Richard James Gelles is an American writer and sociologist. He is a former dean at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Rhode Island and holds the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence in the School of Social Policy & Practice. He is the director for the Center for Research on Youth & Social Policy and co-director of the Field Center for Children's Policy Practice & Research.
Gelles received a B.A. from Bates College in Maine in 1968. In 1970 he graduated with a M.A. in sociology in 1970 from the University of Rochester, and Gelles received a Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire in 1973.
Gelles is the author of the book, The Violent Home, which was the first systematic investigation to provide empirical data on domestic violence. His more recent books, The Book of David: How Preserving Families Can Cost Children's Lives and Intimate Violence in Families, Third Edition, have also made a significant impact in the study of child welfare and family violence. He is the author of 24 books and more than 100 articles, chapters and papers.
Gelles also co-wrote Current Controversies on Family Violence (2005) with M. Cavanaugh and D. Loseke. He is co-writing another text, Intimate Violence and Abuse in Families.
Gelles and his colleague, Murray A Straus, struggled throughout much of their academic careers to prevent the public from purposefully distorting their research findings. In response to father's rights groups, Gelles published "Domestic Violence: Not An Even Playing Field" to rectify what he calls a "significant distortion of well-grounded research data."
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- "Richard Gelles: oh so magnanimous, and dead wrong". fathersmanifesto.net. Retrieved 2017-08-26.