Intimate partner violence has been recognized as a serious social problem in the United States since the 1970s, when the leaders in the Women’s Movement became alarmed at victimization of women in their own homes by their husbands or boyfriends (Dobash and Dobash 1992). Women still make up 70 percent of all intimate partner homicides, and are twice as likely to be killed by an intimate partner as men are (Catalano, Smith, Snyder, and Rand 2009). The Anti Violence against Women Acts of 1994 and subsequent years have led to more uniform state policies on domestic violence and other violence against women, but have been used to justify intrusion into private homes, particularly with mandatory arrest laws (Davis, O’Sullivan, Farole, and Remple 2008). The law has not been successful at specific deterrence (Peterson 2008), but it has been more effective at punishment (Dixon 2008). Treating all domestic violence cases as though they were the same also has implications for treatment programs (Peterson 2008; Saunders 2008). In this article, I consider the importance of making distinctions among types of intimate partner violence, the effects of failure to do so, along with implications for research, advocacy, and treatment.
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