Sexuality and Culture

, Volume 8, Issue 3–4, pp 3–139 | Cite as

Gender as a factor in the response of the law-enforcement system to violence against partners

  • Grant A. Brown


A great deal of sociological evidence has been collected in the past three decades on the prevalence of abuse among adult heterosexual partners in domestic relationships of some degree, of permanence. Partly as a result, of this information, partner abuse has been identified as an important social ill that must be addressed aggressively through public-awareness campaigns, the funding of a broad range of support services, and the re-training of law-enforcement authorities—including police, prosecutors, and judges. However, in at least one important respect, these policy initiatives diverge substantially from what the sociological data, which ostensibly motivates them, would indicate: they have been, to date, overwhelmingly gender specific. That is, partner abuse is routinely portrayed and acted upon as though it were almost exclusively about men abusing and victimizing innocent women and, by extension, their children—despite the overwhelming sociological evidence that a significant amount of abuse is also suffered by male partners. Persistent anecdotal reports from victims and even some participants in the law-enforcement system suggest that this ideological emphasis on the male as perpetrator has had a deleterious effect on the impartial administration of justice, resulting in men being treated much more harshly than women who are accused of partner violence. This study attempts to determine whether the anecdotes are scientifically supportable.


Partner Violence General Social Survey Female Victim Partner Abuse Male Victim 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grant A. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.EdmontonCanada

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