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Domestic Violence – theories and implications. Wendy Morgan London Metropolitan University Glasgow Caledonian University. Overview. Reflections of the past in the present Motives, agendas politics Current theories of IPV/DV Mandatory arrest An alternative lens?. DV and History.

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domestic violence theories and implications

Domestic Violence – theories and implications

Wendy Morgan

London Metropolitan University

Glasgow Caledonian University


Reflections of the past in the present

Motives, agendas politics

Current theories of IPV/DV

Mandatory arrest

An alternative lens?

dv and history
DV and History

“Domestic violence has deep historical roots and [is] grounded in the inequality between men and women in society at large”(Hague and Malous 1998 pg 69)

dv and history4
DV and History

The 1970’s were not, however the first time that wife beating had been discovered by the public and taken up as an issue of general concern rather than remaining hidden as a personal tragedy….This has happened at least twice before in the latter part of the 19th century and in the early part of the [20th] century. (Dobash and Dobash 1979, pg 3)

dv and history5
DV and History

History is relevant (and also relatively current, e.g. societal (including police) response in 70’s and 80’s)

Key themes

DV is a gender based concern

Patriarchal social norms support the use of violence

It requires a coordinated community response

(Ehrenshaft 2008)

the response intervention policy and strategy
The response – intervention policy and strategy

“Duluth Model”

Men need to be re-socialised to ensure they accept responsibility

Psycho-educational batter programmes are part of a wider response

Show that society will not tolerate this behaviour

Coordinated community response needed

Need to raise awareness

Zero tolerance interventions

Mandatory arrest policies

the controversies
The controversies

“Duluth” model is ideology and not science

Does not consider all forms of violence

Intersection of IPV with other forms of violence overlooked

Does not consider individual factors

Developmental, attachment, personality,

Does not address issue of heterogeneity

Gender neutral data is discounted

Dutton and Corvo, 2006, Ehrenshaft 2008

the gender issue
The Gender Issue

Much disputed

Affected by




Social constructions

the gender issue10
The Gender Issue

“including mutual aggression and female perpetrators under the umbrella of IPV implies that (a) this is a non-gendered phenomenon that affects the health and well-being of men/boys and women/girls similarly at the population level and (b) the etiology and nature of the behaviour are similar regardless of the perpetrator gender. Neither research nor practical external evidence supports such assumptions”Reed et al 2010, pg 349

the gender issue11
The Gender Issue

“Studies continue to be sponsored and produced in the United States that involve analysis and interpretations of IPV data that defy international consensus and substantial empirical data” (emphasis added) Reed et al 2010, pg 349

the gender issue12
The Gender Issue

“…Female violence to the extent to which it is acknowledged at all is deemed to be always self-defensive. These views persist despite survey data showing approximately equal levels of severe violence and injury by gender”(Dutton and Corvo 2006, pg 459)

the gender issue13
The Gender Issue

“[Psycho-educational models] eschew psychological treatment even of empirically established factors supporting habits of intimate abusiveness…..A one size fits all approach based on a contraindicated political model of male domination prevails”Dutton and Corvo 2006 pp 257, 259

johnson typology
Johnson Typology

Coercive control

Duluth model type abuse (not nesc violent)

Underlying core schema

Situational Violence

Toxic relationships

Poor conflict resolution skills

Violent resistance

As as result of coercive control

Mutual Control

intimate partner offender typologies
Intimate partner offender typologies

Severity-frequency of violence

Generally Violent Antisocial (GVA)

Dysphoric/Borderline (DB)

Low level Antisocial (LLA)

Family only (FO)


mandatory arrest and dv
Mandatory arrest and DV

“Stemming from the ideological assumption that domestic violence is entirely a political act, mandatory arrest has be perused as a necessary exercise of countervailing power, particularly necessary to overcome the putative patriarchal inclination that may influence police discretion” (Dutton and Corvo

mandatory arrest
Mandatory Arrest

The issues

Notion of driver of social change

Reaction to civil claims for failure to protect

Re-balances power for victim

Conflicts with victims desires

Wants abuse to stop/attacker removed

NOT Jail

Financial hardship

Shame of court proceedings

Does it “work”

mandatory arrest18
Mandatory Arrest

Works through “deterrence theory”

Specific and general

Conflicting evidence (Williams 2005)

Those who are more “marginal” can show evidence of escalation of behaviour

“Deterrence may be achieved only when potential perpetrators see arrest as having damaging consequences for their relationships with others”(Williams 2005)

Individuals tend to respond differently

Blanket policy may not help (Burton 2000)

an alternative lens
An alternative lens?

Focus not on prevention of offence but on prevention of harm

Helping individual victims stay safe

Policy of mandatory arrest conflicts with “help” seeking behaviour

May result in increased risk of lethality (dependant upon measurement variable)

concluding remarks
Concluding Remarks

History and DV are intrinsically linked in the current theory literature

Notion of Gender based nature of violence

Willingness to incorporate other explanations

Viewing DV as distinct from other forms of violence

Application of mandatory arrest

further information
Further information

Violence against Women Prevention Scotland

Zero Tolerance trust