Richard James Gelles is an American writer. He is a former dean at the University of Pennsylvania 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 reports personal attacks (such as death threats against him and his colleagues and bomb threats phoned in to their conferences) related to their findings that the rate of assault by women on male partners is about the same as the rate by men on female partners.
- A Century of Social Work and Social Welfare at PennBy Ram A. Cnaan, Melissa E. Dichter, Jeffrey Draine Edition: illustrated Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008 ISBN 0-8122-4103-7, ISBN 978-0-8122-4103-7 
- Gelles, R.J., "The Missing Persons of Domestic Violence: Battered Men"
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