When a man hits a woman: Moral evaluations and reporting violence to the police

Richard B. Felson, Scott L. Feld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


We use experimental data from a nationally representative sample to examine whether gender and the victim's relationship to the offender affect attitudes about the seriousness of the offense and whether the offense should be reported to the police. We find that respondents are particularly likely to condemn men's assaults on women, and to favor reporting them. The pattern appears to reflect both greater moral condemnation of men's assaults on women and the belief that the victims of these assaults are in greater danger. In general, moral judgments and attitudes toward reporting do not depend on the gender, age, level of education, or political ideology of the respondent. Condemnation of men's violence against women, and support for police intervention when it occurs, are apparently widespread across different segments of the population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-488
Number of pages12
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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