Intimate partner violence



Publication Details

Spangaro, J. (2019). Intimate partner violence. In L. J. Shepherd (Ed.), Handbook on Gender and Violence (pp. 265-278). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.


Domestic or intimate partner violence is prevalent globally, occurring on a continuum from low-level coercion to lethal predatory behaviour, affecting 1 in 3 women (WHO et al. 2013). This chapter provides a broad outline of key research findings, particularly regarding prevalence, impacts and evidence for interventions. This is followed by a discussion of how intimate partner violence emerged as a body of practice and research, with an overview of the study of, and activism against, gendered violence. Key academic debates are reviewed, including those around gender symmetry, causal factors, meaningful outcome measures for interventions and engaging ethical research practice. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides a clear and succinct starting point, defining intimate partner violence as: 'a pattern of behaviour by a current or former intimate partner causing physical, sexual or psychological harm which may include physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and/or controlling behaviours' (WHO 2013).

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