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​Women’s use of force

AuthorMiller, Susan L., and Michelle L. Meloy
Title Women's use of force
Source Violence Against Women, January 2006, Vol. 12, No.1, pp 89-115
Date 2006
Document type Journal article
SummaryThis study explores women's use of violence, and their experience in female offender programs. Treatment groups were observed over six months and for the study there were 95 female participants, with nearly all having at least one child and many with substance and/or alcohol issues. Three types of behaviour that led to the women to be arrested on domestic violence charges were identified in the study. The first category, containing the smallest number of women, concerned generalised violent behaviour and included women who used violence in many circumstances, such as against neighbours, as well as intimate partner relationships. Approximately 30% of women comprised the second category which was the frustration response, where women reacted violently when nothing else stopped their partner's behaviour. Approximately 65% of women were categorised in the third category, defensive behaviour. The women in this category were trying to either get away during a violent incident or were trying to leave to avoid violence when they knew their partner was about to use violence. Some of the recommendations to improve outcomes for women using violence include the need for advocates to be involved earlier in the process regardless of whether the women were classified by police as offenders, and training of police to distinguish acts of self-defence from acts of aggressive violence.
Keywords Batterer groups; treatment programs; violence; self-defence
Topic Male victims; Domestic violence