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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77570 Find in a Library
Title: Lethal Incidents in Battering Relationships Between Adult Intimates
Author(s): A Browne
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Rockville, MD 20857
Grant Number: RO1MH30147
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following a brief review of the literature on the battered woman, this paper identifies factors which seem to increase the potential for lethality in abusive marital relationships.
Abstract: Research studies and crime statistics have indicated that violence occurs in many marital relationships and that female homicides are often committed by spouses. Interviews with 400 battered women showed that most believed that the batterer would kill them and over half felt that they could possibly kill him under some circumstances. Survivors of an interspousal homicide have reported that they were abused as children, were isolated from neighbors and activities outside the home, and had little communication with their partner. Certain high risk factors have emerged from interviews with women who were charged with the death of their batterer. Threats made by the batterer or the battered woman are one indicator that a homicide could occur. Other factors include an escalation in the frequency and severity of abuse over time, the presence of weapons in the home, and physical or sexual assault inflicted by the batterer on the children. A change in the pattern of the relationship often preceded the homicide in that tension-building remained constant rather than abating after the battering incident. Women are frequently unable to leave a battering relationship because of the shock reaction to abuse which manifests itself in depression, fear, and passivity. They also fear retaliation from the batterer if they try to leave, as well as practical problems created by the separation. Women who do seek help from police are often met with a lack of understanding and are not encouraged to press charges because prosecutors claim that most women eventually drop such charges and thus waste their time. Service providers need to be aware of the dangers inherent in the alternatives available to battered women so they can advise them of the risks involved in either staying with the batterer or escaping from the relationship. An addendum refutes recent theories that the women's movement has contributed to substantial increases in the female arrest rates and in the proportions of women involved in violent crime. Tables, footnotes, and 19 references are included.
Index Term(s): Battered wives; Female offenders; Homicide; Marital murder
Note: Presented at the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities, Feminist Analysis Seminar, Deckers, Colorado, March 21, 1981.
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