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Women's Accounts of Domestic Violence Versus Tactics-Based Outcome Categories

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 9 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2003 Pages: 278-301
Date Published
March 2003
24 pages

This study compared battered women's accounts of domestic violence with tactics-based outcomes (injuries related to method of abuse) to assess the measurement limitations in predicting recurring violence.


The accounts of domestic violence were obtained through a multisite evaluation of batterer programs in four cities. A sample of 210 to 220 men were recruited from each of the 4 programs to produce a total of 854 men. As part of the evaluation, research assistants interviewed the female partners of the men at program intake and every 3 months thereafter for a period of 15 months. A partner was contacted for 561 of the 854 men for at least 12 months of the full 15-month follow-up period. The interviews focused on accounts of abuse. The women were asked to describe any incidents of sexual abuse and to recall the number of different incidents or separate times of physical abuse. The women responded in narrative form, describing the circumstances surrounding the incidents, the incidents' precipitants, the actual abuse, and the actions they and their partner took following the incidents. There were 536 incident accounts among the 299 women in the final sample. Each incident was coded by using a sequential, situational model of violence, and the incident codings were summarized for each woman. The codes were entered into a computerized database for analysis. The findings show that the repeat reassault category tended to include more men who were identified as possessive and controlling and consistent in their violent tactics or in escalating them. The one notable correspondence between the characteristics of the women's accounts and the tactics-based outcomes was that female partners of men who repeatedly reassaulted them appeared to be less assertive as a group than those of men who did not reassault. Implications were drawn for clinical practitioners. 4 tables and 35 references

Date Published: March 1, 2003