U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Heavy Hands: An Introduction to The Crimes of Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Denise Kindschi Gosselin
Date Published
413 pages
This book discusses domestic violence from a criminal perspective and presents a definitional and historical overview of domestic violence, theories of domestic violence victimization and causation, law enforcement response and criminalization, and domestic violence crime recognition.
This book is a comprehensive domestic violence textbook. The author begins the discussion with the basic definitions, an exploration of the role of relationships in domestic violence, and an overview of common domestic violence criminal offenses, and then presents a historical and multicultural review of attitudes towards domestic violence including discussions of the variance in abuse attitudes and prevalence rates in several counties including Korea, South Africa, Poland, and Sweden. Theories on causation are presented and discussed. The presented theories are rational choice, deterrence, the positive school, eugenics, biochemical imbalance, neurological, social structure and cultural, gender-role, social learning, social control, patriarchal, gender inequality, individual-based, family-based, community and culture. The author examines the ways in which these theories have shaped domestic violence interventions including reviews of batterer interventions and domestic rape and sexual assault interventions and attitudes. Domestic violence victimology, victims rights movements and victimization consequences such as posttraumatic stress disorder, Stockholm syndrome, borderline personality disorder, and self-injury, are presented. The emergence of the criminalization of domestic violence is detailed including a review of selected Federal and State statutes and a discussion of jurisdictional inconsistency regarding domestic violence criminalization, civil protections for victims, and legislation regarding related topics such as stalking and gun control. Police responsibility regarding the effects of policing approaches to domestic violence crimes are explored, including an overview of various policing styles and a brief history of policing in America. Mandated arrest policies, an evidentiary overview, indicators of domestic violence, and a police domestic violence investigation checklist are used as part of an overview of law enforcement response setting the stage for a more comprehensive discussion of crime identification when dealing with different types of domestic violence offenses. Recognition and identification information is presented for child abuse, elder abuse and associated crimes like stalking and domestic homicide. Tables, index, figures, references, Internet research appendix