The area of domestic violence research is a rather young endeavor and a literature review on domestic violence can contain a vast amount of new research.
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Domestic violence is defined as violence that happens within a family, while usually it is directed at a spouse; domestic violence also covers parent and child abuse. Domestic violence was first brought to the forefront of the society with the feminist movement and the concern of wives that were being beaten. This created a social stigma that domestic violence is abuse by a male on a female within a relationship. This has led to the society to focus on protecting women and children from abusive males. This often causes a problem because domestic violence is most definitely not just a male on female problem but is also seen in same sex couples and women can also be the aggressors in the situation.
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Various theories that seek to explain domestic violence include the following:
- Biological theory
- The individual psychopathology theory
- The social structure theory
- The commonalities across causation theories
The area of domestic violence research is a rather young endeavor and a literature review on domestic violence can contain a vast amount of new research. However, the amount of data available is relatively small given the severity and intensity of this social problem. Although domestic violence may include various types of combinations of victims, the majority of the literature review that discusses it limits its focus on violence against women committed by men within the context of marriage, or in other words, spousal violence. However, in much of the recent literature, there are references to this type of violence as “partner violence.” Interestingly, it also includes violence between intimate couples who are not necessarily married or who are the opposite gender.
Another area of research that has received a great deal of attention is information regarding the specific type of relationship that is generally involved in domestic violence. For example, it does appear that domestic violence occurs within same-gender relationships as well as opposite sex couples. This research seems to suggest that lesbians are more likely to engage in violence between partners, but this may be due to the lack of research regarding male homosexual relationships. Renzetti (1992) concluded that much of the violence between lesbians involved jealousy between the two partners over friends and other relationships. Additionally, psychological abuse was noted as being typically present in the form of threats to inform family members and employers that the individual is a lesbian. Unfortunately, these individuals receive little social support as well as validation that their partner is an abuser. Some shelters do not recognize abuse within a lesbian relationship as being a type of domestic violence.