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…the most definitive research about intimate partner violence on the planet…

April 24, 2013
By

springer publications and IVP overviewGender and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Criminal Justice Decision Making in Intimate Partner Violence Cases

The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project

Manuscripts and Online Data Base

Overview of Findings by the Authors

Springer Publications

 

Introduction:

Over the years, research on partner abuse has become unnecessarily fragmented and politicized. The purpose of The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK) is to bring together in a rigorously evidence –based, transparent and methodical manner existing knowledge about partner abuse with reliable, up-to-date research that can easily be accessed both by researchers and the general public. In March, 2010, the Senior Editor of Partner Abuse1, recruited family violence scholars from the United States, Canada, and the U.K., to conduct an extensive and thorough review of the empirical literature, in 17 broad topic areas. Researchers were asked to conduct a formal search for published, peer-reviewed studies through standard, widely-used search programs, and the catalogue, and summarize all known research studies relevant to each major topic and its sub-topics. In the interest of thoroughness and transparency, the researchers agreed to summarize all quantitative studies published in peer-reviewed journals after 1990, as well as any major studies published prior to that time, and to clearly specify exclusion criteria. Included studies are organized in extended tables, each table containing summaries of studies relevant to its particular sub-topic.

In this unprecedented undertaking, a total of 42 scholars and 70 research assistants at 20 universities and research institutions spent two years or more researching their topics and writing the results. Approximately 12,000 studies were considered and more than 1,700 were summarized and organized into tables. The 17 manuscripts, which provide a review of findings on each of the topics, for a total of 2,657 pages, appear in 5 consecutive special issues of Partner Abuse published between April, 2012 and April, 2013.

All conclusions, including the extent to which the research evidence supports or undermines current theories, are based strictly on the data collected. In this article, key findings are summarized from each of the 17 topic areas. The reader, however, is encouraged to access the full manuscripts. To do so,please go to the Partner Abuse website, at www.springerpub.com and click on the “subscriptions” link.

Given the large volume of summarized studies, it was not possible for the published manuscripts to include tables containing the summarized studies. All of the tables,therefore, are available online. This online document is a unique contribution to domestic violence research, intervention and policy -providing the most comprehensive single data set on domestic violence available in one convenient location, free of charge to the public. To access it, you may go to the Partner Abuse website. On the home page, under “Online Resources,” click on “The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Free Online Data Base” John Hamel, LCSW conceived and supervised the project. The journal’s former Associate Editors, Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Ph.D., and Denise Hines, Ph.D., provided editorial assistance.

Overview of Findings

#1 Prevalence of Physical Violence in Intimate Relationships:

Part 1. Rates of Male and Female Victimization,

Sarah L. Desmarais, Kim A. Reeves, Tonia L. Nicholls, Robin P. Telford, & Martin S. Fiebert 148 pages. Full manuscript available in Partner Abuse Vol. 3, Issue no. 2 (2012), pp.140-169

 

Studies were included in the current review if they met three broad inclusion criteria.

First, they needed to present empirical data regarding the prevalence of physical IPV from the perspective of the victim (see Part 2 for perpetration rates).

Second, the IPV must have occurred within the context of a heterosexual intimate relationship.

Third, articles were excluded if they reported the findings of studies in which participants were sampled from an identified population of IPV victims, such as women staying at a domestic violence shelter.

Literature searches undertaken in three databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science)  followed by screening of titles and abstracts, as well as elimination of replicates, led to retrieval of 750 articles published between 2000 and 2010 for further analysis. Data were extracted regarding  measurement timeframe and instrument, and sample details. Results then were summarized by  study and grouped according to sample type: population-based, community, university or college, middle or high school, clinical, and justice or legal samples. Unweighted prevalence estimates were calculated for female and male victimization overall and by sample type, country, measurement timeframe, and measurement approach, to the extent possible.

Our final sample included 249 articles that reported 543 rates of physical IPV victimization in our review: 158 articles reported 318 rates for women, six articles reported eight rates for men, and 85 articles reported 217 rates for both men and women.

There were 52 population-based studies, 36 studies of community samples, 26 studies of university or college samples, 38 studies of middle or high school students, three studies of high school and university students, 80 studies of clinical samples, and 14 studies of justice or legal samples. The majority of articles (85.5%, k= 213) reported findings of studies conducted in the U.S. Sample sizes ranged widely from N = 42 to N= 134,955, with a mean of 4,308.24 (SD

= 14,912.49), median of 791, and mode of 120 participants per study. Studies varied in their operational definition and measurement of IPV, though a majority (47.4%,k= 118) of studies reported prevalence rates measured using items or scales drawn from the Conflict Tactic Scale family of instruments. Overall, results indicated that physical IPV victimization is prominent among men and women in heterosexual relationships.

Across all studies included in this review, approximately one in four women (23.1%) and one in five men (19.3%) experienced physical violence in an intimate relationship, with an overall pooled prevalence estimate of 22.4%. (emphasis added)

However, for both men and women, prevalence rates ranged widely from 0% to 99%. Physical IPV victimization was reported by approximately one-third (33.6%) of individuals in their lifetime and one-fifth (19.2%) of individuals in the year prior to the study.

Whether prevalence estimates were higher for male or female physical IPV victimization fluctuated as a function of sample type, measurement timeframe, and study location. For  example, in large population studies, studies of community samples, university or college samples, and clinical samples, pooled prevalence was higher among women than men, but across  studies of middle or high school students and justice or legal samples, pooled prevalence was higher among men than women (though only one study examined male victimization in a justice  or legal sample). Lifetime rates generally were higher among women than men, whereas past year prevalence was slightly higher among men than women. We also found differences by country. For instance, in studies conducted in the U.S. and Canada, pooled prevalence was higher among women than men whereas in studies conducted in the U.K., New Zealand, and South Africa, pooled prevalence rates were higher among men than women.

Taken together, results add to a growing body of literature documenting symmetry in rates of IPV among men and women. This comprehensive review of the current state of the field demonstrates the diversity of victims who experience physical IPV and documents the need for gender-inclusive responsiveness to this wide -ranging public health problem. In particular, there are currently few services for male victims and the high rates of violence experienced by women and men suggests a need for treatment and intervention strategies for victims of both sexes. (emphasis added)

Additionally, the high rates of physical IPV victimization among middle or high school students (or other similar age youth), as well as among university and college students, highlights the need for school-based IPV prevention and intervention efforts. Instead of victim sex, the methodological differences across studies may be the most important sources of variability affecting estimates of prevalence. Though many studies used standardized assessment instruments, a considerable proportion used other, unvalidated approaches. Researchers also differed in whether sexual violence was included in their definition of IPV. Finally, many studies reported lifetime and past year prevalence rates, while others combined rates of current or past year victimization, or used different timeframes altogether. Thus, future research efforts need to be directed at standardizing the measurement of IPV so that data can be compared across studies, sample types and countries.

Prevalence of Physical Violence in Intimate Relationships:

Part 2. Rates of Male and Female Perpetration

Sarah L. Desmarais, Kim A. Reeves, Tonia L. Nicholls, Robin P. Telford, & Martin S. Fiebert

96 pages. Full manuscript available in Partner Abuse Vol. 3, Issue no. 2 (2012), pp. 170-198

 

Our final sample included 111 articles that reported 272 rates of physical IPV perpetration: 25 articles reported 34 rates for male perpetration, 14 articles reported 24 rates for female perpetration, and 72 articles reported 214 rates for both men and women. There were 19 population-based studies, 24 studies of smaller community samples, 17 studies of middle and high school students or adolescents, 30 studies of university and college students or young adults, and 21 studies of clinical samples. The majority of articles (85.6%,k= 95) reported findings of studies conducted in the United States. Sample sizes ranged widely from N = 53 to N = 89,601, with a mean of 2,340.91 (SD= 8,748.44), median of 670, and mode of 356 participants per study. Studies varied in their operational definition and measurement of IPV, though almost three-quarters of studies (73.0%, k= 81) reported prevalence rates measured using the CTS, CTS2, or items or scales drawn from the CTS instruments. Findings underscore the pervasiveness of physical violence in heterosexual relationships. Across all studies included in this review, approximately one-quarter of participants (25.3%) reported perpetrating physical IPV. Physical IPV perpetration was reported by approximately one in four individuals both in their lifetime (24.2%) and in the year prior to the study (25.6%). Approximately one in five (22.9%) reported perpetrating physical IPV in their current or most recent relationship.

Consistent with prior reviews, rates of physical IPV perpetrated by men and women generally were more similar than they were different, with slightly higher rates for women than for men (pooled prevalence for female perpetration = 28.3% and male perpetration = 21.6%). (emphasis added)

There also was considerable consistency in the rates of physical IPV perpetration across countries, ranging from a pooled estimate of 14.1% for studies conducted in Australia to 31.8% for studies conducted in New Zealand.

Rates of physical IPV perpetration ranged widely across studies for both men (1.0% to 61.6%) and women (2.4% to 68.9%). (emphasis added)

Much of the variation can be attributed to the highly diverse sampling methods and study procedures. For instance, studies differed in their operational definitions of physical IPV perpetration and in their reporting of minor and/or severe IPV. Studies also varied in their measurement time frames; some reported lifetime and/or past year prevalence rates, others reported rates for the current or most recent relationship, and still others used different reference periods altogether (e.g., past two months, past six months).

Taken together, results add to a growing body of literature documenting symmetry in rates of physical IPV perpetration by men and women. (emphasis added)

The present review represents a comprehensive summary of the current state of knowledge regarding physical IPV perpetration among heterosexual men and women in English-speaking, industrialized nations.

With similar rates of physical IPV perpetrated by men and women, gendered explanations of IPV do not adequately account for our findings. (emphasis added)

Of note, however, results of the current review pertain only to the presence or absence, and not the severity or context, of perpetration. Thus, rather than perpetuating the debate regarding the comparability of physical IPV perpetrated by men and women,

findings should be used to support the development and implementation of interventions that acknowledge the use of violence by women in intimate relationships (emphasis added)

but also recognize how participants’ treatment needs may differ. Intervention strategies that are both gender-inclusive and gender-sensitive may have the greatest potential for reducing IPV. Though most studies included in our review employed a measurement approach based on the CTS, researchers varied considerably in their sampling and study procedures, their operation definitions of IPV, and in their reporting of results by severity (e.g., minor vs. severe IPV) or consequences (e.g., any physical IPV vs. IPV that resulted in injury). Future research synthesis efforts should include systematic coding and analysis across these variables. Moreover, we compared perpetration rates across rather than within studies; thus, future research should examine the degree to which there are similarities or differences in victimization and perpetration rates across and within samples. Finally, most studies were conducted in the United States, limiting cross-national comparisons; thus, future research efforts should focus on building evidence regarding the prevalence of physical IPV perpetrated by men and women in other English speaking, industrialized countries.

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Excellent resource regarding intimate partner violence

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8 Responses to …the most definitive research about intimate partner violence on the planet…

  1. Doug Spoonwood on April 26, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    It sounds to me like NCFM and Benjamin have very different positions here. The position you’ve put forth above sounds like a critique of some current domestic violence laws, because some of them foster domestic violence (I don’t understand how they do this). Benjamin’s position on the other hand implies domestic violence in cases of possible misinterpretation… he says “Young girls often play a teasing game with their brother’s in the car. It’s called “I am not touching you”… while they wave their fingers just slightly off the surface of his face. Eventually he’s had enough, and he punches her. And rightly so.”

    But the reason she plays such a game isn’t clear. She might want to annoy him, in which case he behavior might warrant reprimanding, but a punch qualifies much more as revenge than reprimanding. Also, she might just want attention and have a rather poor way of seeking it out from her brother. Punching her in the face is NOT a solution there also, because the punch also gives her more attention.

    Benjamin’s position also implies domestic violence as legally acceptable if a woman bruises a man or cuts a man and makes a man bleed “just a little”, since “just a little” bleeding isn’t grievous.

    “End all state interference with domestic violence. Likewise, end all state interference with stranger violence… up to and until it results in grievous injury. (not bruises or cuts… women do those for fake accusations all the time.)”

    I certainly do NOT agree with that or his position in general as stated.

    • NCFM on April 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      Well…the State is never going to end its intrusion into family matters — never going to happen. So this discussion is somewhat specious. Regardless, consider it as a matter of perspective. Man and wife get in a verbal altercation. Women calls police. Man gets arrested and jailed. Their argument was over not having enough money to pay the rent.. Now the family has to come up with thousands of dollars to make bail. They’d gotten behind in the rent after his hours were cut back at his job. He’d found another job, a part time one, but would not get a pay check for two weeks. They still can’t pay the rent and they certainly can’t make bail. After being behind bar for several days he lost both jobs. The wife tried to drop the charges but the District Attorney refused. She pleads with the District Attorney not to prosecute. The DA refused again. It’s a he said she said and the only evidence is…is, well, there is no evidence. There’s no injuries. There’s not even a victim. Or, is there? No matter. The DA makes money from the Federal government prosecuting DV cases, especially if the alleged perpetrator is a man. Aside from which the State has determined that it’s in the best interests of the State, not the people, but the State to adopt mandatory prosecution policies. Turns out or politicians have determined that in such situations the State is the victim, not the people involved in a personal matter, an argument no less. Well… I’ll let you figure out the rest. Situations like this result in untold divorces, CPS taking children, and even murder, suicide, and murder/suicide. All, of course, in the best interests of the State. It seems to me such State intrusion, that is the State’s DV laws, are way out of balance, even wrong. When an entire family is destroyed because of a verbal argument something is beyond incredulous. And the reason? Only a couple that I can discern, political correctness as religion and money…jobs for attorneys, judges, social workers, CPS investigators, police, visitation centers, curriculum developers, social science professors, textbook developers, and even toilet paper manufactures who benefit from more people being incarcerated. And, if you think it through, in this example, if the couple could not even come up with the money to make bail who do you think pays for all of the rest of it, the machine that keeps us safe from yelling at each other. Food for thought, wouldn’t you agree?

      • Kyle on April 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        Yes absolutely its food for thought. Everything you describe here falls under “ending the injustices in the system”. I can see the point of rescinding DV laws that lead to these kinds of injustices. Your example, as you’ve written it here, is a very good one.

        However I don’t see how advocating ending DV laws, so people can slap their wives when they think they cross a line, is going to get these DV laws rescinded.

        • Marcos F.A. on May 12, 2013 at 6:51 AM

          “so people can slap their wives”

          Just their wives ehhh?
          Seens like you misses the point…

  2. Kyle on April 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Benjamin says “we must keep our eye on the goal: outlawing domestic violence laws.”

    Is that the point of this website and organization? If so, I think I’ve wandered into the wrong place.

    I’m new, but so far I’ve been enjoying the articles I’ve read here. I really believe men are being discriminated against, the pendulum has swung way too far, and there are injustices occurring on a regular basis.

    I thought the point here was to end the injustices. Yes, No?

    • zulu127 on April 26, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      I think Benjamin hasn’t really thought things through or is intentionally trying to inflame the rhetoric in the comments section. According to his arguments I should be able to kick some homeless person as much as I like with impunity as long as nothing gets broken…just because I might have a hate on for him.

    • NCFM on April 26, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Kyle,

      NCFM is an educational organization committed to ending harmful gender based stereotypes. To that end we are certainly concerned with ending related injustices. That said, Benjamin has a point. There are indeed a plethora of DV related laws that cause considerable harm and injustice regardless of the gender of those affected. Such laws should be rescinded. That does not mean anyone is advocating for turning a blind eye on the problem. In fact, it’s just the opposite. If there were fewer related laws, laws that were more sensible, ones that actually reduce DV rather than foster it, we would be no worse off than we are now. We would also be able to redirect precious scare resources toward helping rather than punishing.

  3. Benjamin on April 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Efforts to combat and outlaw “partner” violence should cease. Then we’d see greatly reduced domestic violence.

    This article is a good part of the “first step”, perhaps. But, we must keep our eye on the goal: outlawing domestic violence laws.

    Violence is a normal and ubiquitous part of life. The community (including the state) has no authority nor any usefullness in interfering with this natural, normal process, except to punish those who “cross the line”… meaning those who have put out an eye or knocked out some teeth, or broken a bone.

    If a woman slaps a man for getting fresh with her, or a man slaps a woman for spitting in his face and saying that she’s going to sleep with his best friend; then there is nothing, Nothing, for the rest of us to say about it.

    As soon as everyone understands that there is no one to run to, when they get themselves in trouble, then we’ll all start getting along much better.

    Young girls often play a teasing game with their brother’s in the car. It’s called “I am not touching you”… while they wave their fingers just slightly off the surface of his face. Eventually he’s had enough, and he punches her. And rightly so.

    Adult women play the same game: “push him til he hits me”. And they get their just deserts.

    Take away this balance, and everything starts to fall apart.

    End all state interference with domestic violence. Likewise, end all state interference with stranger violence… up to and until it results in grievous injury. (not bruises or cuts… women do those for fake accusations all the time.)

    Warm regards,

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