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Violence Against Women. 2006 Jul;12(7):609-21.

Reasons for intimate partner violence perpetration among arrested women.

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  • 1Butler Hospital and Brown Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, RI, USA.


There are limited empirical data regarding the reasons or motives for the perpetration of intimate partner violence among women arrested for domestic violence and court referred to violence intervention programs. The present study examined arrested women's self-report reasons for partner violence perpetration and investigated whether women who were victims of severe intimate partner violence were more likely than were women who were victims of minor partner violence to report self-defense as a reason for their behavior. In all, 87 women in violence intervention programs completed a measure of violence perpetration and victimization and a questionnaire assessing 29 reasons for violence perpetration. Self-defense, poor emotion regulation, provocation by the partner, and retaliation for past abuse were the most common reasons for violence perpetration. Victims of severe partner violence were significantly more likely than were victims of minor partner violence to report self-defense as a reason for their violence perpetration. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

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