Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 59–68 | Cite as

Comparison of Abuse Alleged by Same- and Opposite-Gender Litigants as Cited in Requests for Abuse Prevention Orders

  • Steve Basile


Domestic violence is commonly portrayed as something male batterers do to their female victims. Much research excludes study of female-perpetrated violence. This study develops a two-gender measure of abuse as documented by requests for protection. All nonimpounded Abuse Prevention Orders (M.G.L. c. 209A) issued in Massachusetts' Gardner District Court in the year 1997 were analyzed by gender to examine the level and types of violence alleged by plaintiffs. The level and types of violence were categorized and measured by examining Abuse Claimed Checkboxes found on each Complaint for Protection and by applying quantitative scales to affidavits, or plaintiff statements, filed as part of each request for protection. Despite widespread misconceptions that tend to minimize female abuse, examination of these court documents shows that male and female defendants, who were the subject of a complaint in domestic relation cases, while sometimes exhibiting different aggressive tendencies, measured almost equally abusive in terms of the overall level of psychological and physical aggression.

domestic violence abuse prevention order physical aggression psychological aggression sexual coercion 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Basile
    • 1
  1. 1.Fatherhood CoalitionMilford

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