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Intimate Partner Violence

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Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a serious crime that affects millions of people around the world.  IPV is characterized as any type of physical, sexual, or psychological damage by a current or past significant other, spouse, a parent, or sibling onto a victim. Although the violence often takes place in the context of a male-female relationship or LGBT partnership, being sexually intimate is not needed for the relationship to be considered IPV (Intimate partner violence, 2015).  However, other characteristics come into play in regard to IPV.  There are certain characteristics of the victim and offenders, as well as social and political factors that also influence IPV, in terms of legislation and typologies.

The majority of perpetrators of domestic violence fall into the one of two categories when inflicting violence on victims:  characterological violence and situational violence.  Characterological violence aligns with the Power and Control Wheel pattern. In this type of violence, excessive emotional and physical violence are inflicted on the victim to try and overpower, control, and manipulate an intimate partner. These violent offenders are also more inclines to display attitudes that are violent. In addition to this, mental health issues may also be apparent, these perpetrators also possessing some anti-social or borderline personality characteristics. Situational violence is a type of violence that consists of a low level of violence where partners shove, push, or grab each other. The psychological and emotional violence that occurs in this type is also not as controlling. (Daniel, Cleary Bradley, Thatcher, & Gottman, 2011).

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While it has been suggested that victim share similar traits, research has found that besides age and gender, certain victim traits are do not seem to be connected with a greater chance of being abused. Domestic violence occurs in every economic, racial, and gender, and educational category. However, it has been suggested that youth can increase one’s risk being abused, as well as a woman being pregnant (Daniel, Cleary Bradley, Thatcher, & Gottman, 2011).

Interestingly, even if a woman leaves her relationship, the chance of experiencing abuse again is high, evident in the passage of “Those victims who leave their abusers have been found to be as likely to be reabused as those who remain with them. Those victims who maintain civil restraining orders or criminal nocontact orders against their abusers are as likely to be reabused as those who drop the orders. Only one study comparing women with orders and those without, found that women with permanent as opposed to temporary orders were less likely to have new police-reported domestic violence.” (Klein, 2009, p. 29).

There are some difference between the offender-victim relationship. For instance, in comparison to heterosexual couples, in the case of reported IPV incidents, about 26% of same-sex couples experience dual arrests, the perpetrator often not as clearly detected by law enforcement. In term of female victims and male perpetrators, less than one percent experience a dual arrest, while in terms of a female inflicting violence on a male victim, about 3% of both parties are both arrested (Klein, 2009).

Some differences also exist in how IPV is played with women and male victims. Chart 1 highlights the differences between males and females, in terms of abuse factors (Catalano, 2013).

Chart 1: Different Types of Abuse by Percentage Between Genders

 

          ABUSE TYPE                                  FEMALES                            MALES

Hit by an Object 5% 19%
Physical Attacks 45% 43%
Sexual Violence 8% N/A
Shot, Stabbed, Hit with Weapon 4% 8%
Medically Treated for Physical Injuries 18% 11%

 

In order to understand how serious IPV is for males and females, it is important to look at how violence is committed by intimate versus non-intimate partners. Chart 2, titled “Intimate and Non-Intimate Partners and Violence for Men and Women” (Catalano, 2013).

Chart 2. Intimate and Non-Intimate Partners and Violence for Men and Women

       Act Committed                            Males                                              Females

Physically attacked by intimate partner 65% 67%
Physically attacked by non- intimate partner 40% 40%
Threatened before attack by intimate partner 39% 52%
Threatened before attack by non-intimate partner 31% 34%
Homicides committed by intimate partner 3% 39

%

 

In terms of gender statistics concerning IPV, when comparing data from 1994 to 2011, the number of male IPV victims comprised 1.1/1000 people in the former, which dropped to 0.4 in 2011. On the contrary, female victims comprised 5.9/1000 IPV victims in1994, which dropped  to 1.6/1000 in 2011 (Catalano, 2013). One reason for this drop may be the new pieces of national and state legislation that have bene passed in terms of IPV. For instance, within the past few years, New York State has passed a law that states that once a woman presses charges against a perpetrator of domestic violence, she has to go through with the process. In the past, women would often press charges against the perpetrator and often decide to drop the charges for fear of her life and /or reconciliation with her partner.  Examining national statistics, from 1993 to 2010, the incidence of IPV dropped by 67% (Factsheet: the Violence Against Women Act ).

Another important piece of legislation has been the establishment of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. The Act makes rapists responsible for their crimes by strengthening federal penalties for repeat sex offenders and creating a federal “rape shield law.” This law prevent offenders from highlighting victims’ prior sexual history during court for rape trials. Under the VAWA, victims do not have to pay for their own rape exams. Order of protections have also been expanded, the victims’ protection order applying to every state, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions in the United States (Factsheet: the Violence Against Women Act ).

Special law enforcement and prosecution units and domestic violence dockets have also helped prosecute and arrest offenders. VAWA funds have been used to train over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other personnel annually in issues of IPV. The VAWA has also helped that victims gain access to the domestic violence services, the National Domestic Violence Hotline established and has taken about 22,000 calls each month. Getting people more involved in the community and doing in-services and special education has also helped women who have been subjected to IPV (Factsheet: the Violence Against Women Act ).

As you can see, there are IPV is a serious crime for many people, perpetrators having certain typologies and traits that make them more prone to subjecting victims to violence. Victims tend to not have as many similar traits, besides gender and age.  There are also some gender differences in relation to IPV in terms of physical violence factors. Fortunately, legislation such as the VAWA has been implemented that focuses on prevention of IPV, making offenders more accountable, and increasing community education regarding IPV. This has helped to get the rates of IPV to drop, the number of people exposed to IPV reduced in over the last 20 years.

    References
  • Catalano, S. (2013). Special report: intimate partner violence: attributes of victimization. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Daniel, J., Cleary Bradley, R. P., Thatcher, R., & Gottman, J. M. (2011). Typologies of intimate partner violence: Evaluation of a screening instrument for differentiation. Journal of Family Violence, 1-13.
  • Factsheet: the Violence Against Women Act . (n.d.). Retrieved from vawa.factsheet.pdf
  • Intimate partner violence. (2015, January 14). Retrieved from Center for Disease Control an Prevention website: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html
  • Klein, A. R. (2009). Practical implications of current domestic violence research: for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.