Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 303–317 | Cite as

Knowledge of spouse abuse in the community: A comparison across locations

  • Leslie W. Kennedy
  • David R. Forde
  • Michael D. Smith
  • Donald G. Dutton


Of concern to many who study criminality of all kinds is the high level of known abuse in a climate of noninvolvement by others. The research reported in this paper clearly indicates that noninvolvement in spousal assault cases is not dependent on low levels of knowledge of the problem, as many people admit to being aware of its occurrence among relatives, friends, and neighbors. This knowledge does vary, however, by location of the respondents with strong effects of nonmetropolitan residents expressing greater knowledge of the occurrence of this violence than people living in urban areas. We find this in the context of lower levels of self-reported victimization. It could be that these lower levels reflect a reluctance on the part of nonmetropolitan women to admit to researchers that they are victims of this problem. Or, it could suggest that these women have access to a more intricate network of support from friends and family who become involved in discussing this problem with the victims and helping them to reduce its incidence.

Key words

family violence community knowledge social support physical abuse 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie W. Kennedy
    • 1
  • David R. Forde
    • 1
  • Michael D. Smith
    • 2
  • Donald G. Dutton
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyYork UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaUSA

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