Classifications of Domestic Violence and Abuse

  • Parveen AliEmail author
  • Julie McGarry


Over past decades many attempts have been made to explain domestic violence and abuse (DVA). Attempts have also been made to classify DVA into typologies that explain causes and correlates and consequences of DVA. Building on the previous chapter, this chapter aims to provide an overview of different classifications or typologies of DVA. Typologies by form of abuse, type of violence, and type of perpetrator (men and women) are explained. In addition, strengths and limitations of each are described.


Typologies Intimate partner violence Classification Male perpetrators Female perpetrators 


  1. Anderson KL (2002) Perpetrator or victim? Relationships between intimate partner violence and well-being. J Marriage Fam 64(4):851–863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson KL (2008) Is partner violence worse in the context of control? J Marriage Fam 70(5):1157–1168. Scholar
  3. Ansara DL, Hindin MJ (2010) Exploring gender differences in the patterns of intimate partner violence in Canada: a latent class approach. J Epidemiol Community Health 64(10):849–854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ansara DL, Hindin MJ (2011) Psychosocial consequences of intimate partner violence for women and men in Canada. J Interpers Violence 26(8):1628–1645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Archer J (2000) Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull 126:651–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Babcock JC, Miller SA, Siard C (2003) Toward a typology of abusive women: differences between partner-only and generally violent women in the use of violence. Psychol Women Q 27(2):153–161. Scholar
  7. Bair-Merritt MH, Shea Crowne S, Thompson DA, Sibinga E, Trent M, Campbell J (2010) Why do women use intimate partner violence? A systematic review of women’s motivations. Trauma Violence Abuse 11(4):178–189. Scholar
  8. Beck CJ, Anderson ER, O’Hara KL, Benjamin GAH (2013) Patterns of intimate partner violence in a large, epidemiological sample of divorcing couples. J Fam Psychol 27(5):743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boxall H, Rosevear L, Payne J (2015) Domestic violence typologies: what value to practice? Trends Issues Crime Criminal Justice (494):1Google Scholar
  10. Brown G (2004) Gender as a factor in the response of the law-enforcement system to violence against partners. Sex Cult 8:3–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Capaldi DM, Kim HK (2007) Typological approaches to violence in couples: a critique and alternative conceptual approach. Clin Psychol Rev 27(3):253–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Capaldi D, Kim H, Shortt J (2007) Observed initiation and reciprocity of physical aggression in young, at-risk couples. J Fam Violence 22:101–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cavanaugh MM, Gelles RJ (2005) The utility of male domestic violence offender typologies. J Interpers Violence 20:155–166. Scholar
  14. Dasgupta SD (2002) A framework for understanding women’s use of nonlethal violence in intimate heterosexual relationships. Violence Against Women 8(11):1364–1389. Scholar
  15. Dobash RP, Dobash RE (2004) Women’s violence to men in intimate relationships: working on a puzzle. Br J Criminol 44(3):324–349. Scholar
  16. Dutton M, Goodman L (2005) Coercion in intimate partner violence: toward a new conceptualization. Sex Roles 52(11–12):743–756. Scholar
  17. Eckstein JJ (2017) Intimate terrorism and situational couple violence: classification variability across five methods to distinguish Johnson’s violent relationship types. Violence Vict 32(6):955–976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellis D, Stuckless N (1996) Mediating and negotiating marital conflicts. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  19. Ellis D, Stuckless N (2006) Separation, domestic violence, and divorce mediation. Conflict Resolution Quarterly 23(4):461–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gulliver P, Fanslow JL (2015) The Johnson typologies of intimate partner violence: an investigation of their representation in a general population of New Zealand women. J Child Custody 12(1):25–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Haselschwerdt ML (2014) Theorizing children’s exposure to intimate partner violence using Johnson’s typology. J Fam Theory Rev 6(3):199–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hines DA, Douglas EM (2010) Intimate terrorism by women towards men: does it exist? J Aggress Confl Peace Res 2(3):36–56. Scholar
  23. Hines D, Brown J, Dunning E (2007) Characteristics of callers to the domestic abuse helpline for men. J Fam Violence 22(2):63–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Holtzworth-Munroe A, Stuart GL (1994) Typologies of male batterers: three subtypes and the differences among them. Psychol Bull 116:476–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holtzworth-Munroe A, Meehan JC, Herron K, Rehman U, Stuart GL (2000) Testing the Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) batterer typology. J Consult Clin Psychol 68(6):1000–1019. Scholar
  26. Jacobson N, Gottman J (1998) When men batter women: new insights into ending abusive relationships. Simon & Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Johnson MP (1995) Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: two forms of violence against women. J Marriage Fam 57(2):283–294. Scholar
  28. Johnson MP (2000) Conflict and control: images of symmetry and asymmetry in domestic violence. In: Booth ACCA, Clements M (eds) Couples in conflict. Erlbaum, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  29. Johnson MP (2006) Conflict and control: gender symmetry and asymmetry in domestic violence. Violence Against Women 12(11):1003–1018. Scholar
  30. Johnson MP (2008) A typology of domestic violence: intimate terrorism, violent resistance and situational couple violence. Northeastern University Press, LebanonGoogle Scholar
  31. Johnson MP, Ferraro KJ (2000) Research on domestic violence in the 1990s: making distinctions. J Marriage Fam 62(4):948–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Johnson MP, Leone JM (2005) The differential effects of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence: findings from the national violence against women survey. J Fam Issues 26(3):322–349. Scholar
  33. Johnston JR, Campbell LEG (1993) A clinical typology of interparental violence in disputed-custody divorces. Am J Orthopsychiatry 63(2):190–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jouriles EN, McDonald R (2015) Intimate partner violence, coercive control, and child adjustment problems. J Interpers Violence 30(3):459–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kelly JB, Johnson MP (2008) Differentiation among types of intimate partner violence: research update and implications for interventions. Fam Court Rev 46(3):476–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McKay TE, Lindquist CH, Landwehr J, Ramirez D, Bir A (2018) Postprison relationship dissolution and intimate partner violence: separation-instigated violence or violence-instigated separation? J Offender Rehabil 57(5):294–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McPhedran S, Baker J (2012) Lethal and non-lethal violence against women in Australia measurement challenges, conceptual frameworks, and limitations in knowledge. Violence Against Women 18(8):958–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Miller SL, Meloy ML (2006) Women’s use of force: voices of women arrested for domestic violence. Violence Against Women 12(1):89–115. Scholar
  39. Swan SC, Snow DL (2002) A typology of women’s use of violence in intimate relationships. Violence Against Women 8(3):286–319. Scholar
  40. Swan SC, Snow DL (2003) Behavioral and psychological differences among abused women who use violence in intimate relationships. Violence Against Women 9(1):75–109. Scholar
  41. Swan SC, Gambone LJ, Caldwell JE, Sullivan TP, Snow DL (2008) A review of research on women’s use of violence with male intimate partners. Violence Vict 23(3):301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tanha M, Beck CJA, Figueredo AJ, Raghavan C (2010) Sex differences in intimate partner violence and the use of coercive control as a motivational factor for intimate partner violence. J Interpers Violence 25(10):1836–1854. Scholar
  43. Walker LE (1984) The battered woman syndrome. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  44. Wangmann JM (2011) Different types of intimate partner violence—an exploration of the literature.
  45. Yllö K, Bograd M (1988) Feminist perspectives on wife abuse. Sage, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health SciencesThe University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesThe University of Nottingham, Queen’s Medical CentreNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations