The partner abuse state of knowledge project: Implications for law enforcement responses to domestic violence

John Hamel, Brenda L. Russell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


Violence between intimate partners (PV) is widely regarded as a crime committed by men against women, and this paradigm has informed policy on criminal justice interventions for the past three decades. Having found symmetry across gender in many aspects of PV, most scholars now question this paradigm and argue for more gender inclusive, evidence-based policies. Still, while many feminists now acknowledge gender symmetry in overall rates of perpetration, few would agree that women also engage in the more serious pattern of PV known as battering. This article explores the extent to which current law enforcement responses and training are based on credible, up-to-date research. We first explore findings from the largest partner violence research project ever undertaken, the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK), to determine what the empirical data suggests about the extent, causes and consequences of battering. We then report on our national study on police training manuals in 16 states with so-called dominant aggressor laws. Our findings indicate that even when framed as the more serious crime of battering, PV is mostly symmetrical across gender; yet current law enforcement training continues to reflect the prevailing gender paradigm and support practices that seriously discount violence perpetrated by women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerceptions of Female Offenders
Subtitle of host publicationHow Stereotypes and Social Norms Affect Criminal Justice Responses
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781461458715
ISBN (Print)1461458706, 9781461458708
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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