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Domestic Violence

The Causes Of Domestic Violence

There are many theories as to the causes of domestic violence. Feminist-inspired theories look to the institution of patriarchy and argue that battering mirrors male power and control over females. Family-based theories examine the level of family conflict and the indirect lessons children learn about the relationship between violence and love. Individual-based theories attribute domestic violence to personality disorders or biomedical factors, such as head injuries or mental illness. Evolutionary theorists have suggested that male violence against females, both in primates and cross-culturally, is a strategy used to control the female's reproduction and, in humans, is often precipitated by male sexual jealousy (Daly and Wilson).

Furthermore, domestic violence researchers are exploring how race, class, religion, and culture, as well as psychological variables such as low self-esteem and abusive childhoods, affect one's experiences with violence. As a result, we are beginning to understand how the battering experience is both common and unique among abusers and victims.

No single causal model can explain why people hurt those they claim to love. As research becomes more interdisciplinary, and policies are driven as much by empirical data as by politics, theories will have to account for the complicated interplay of biological, social, economic, cultural, and individual factors that lead to domestic violence.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawDomestic Violence - Who Are The Abusers? Who Are The Victims?, The Causes Of Domestic Violence, Federal Approaches To Domestic Violence