U.S. flag

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

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Mutuality, Severity, and Chronicity of Violence by Father-Only, Mother-Only, and Mutually Violent Parents as Reported by University Students in 15 Nations

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2014 Pages: 664-676
Murray A. Straus; Yahayra Michel-Smith
Date Published
April 2014
13 pages
This study provides a more complete description of the violence between parents experienced by children than is typically offered in research, as it presents results on the mutuality, severity, and frequency of violence committed by father-only, mother-only, and mutually violent parents, as reported by university students in 15 nations.
Approximately 14 percent of the 11,408 students involved in the study reported one or more instances of physical assault between their parents. Approximately the same percentage of mothers and fathers assaulted the other parent; about half of the assaults were severe, with somewhat more fathers than mothers being severely assaulted. The authors judge that the most important is that among students who were exposed to inter-parental violence, by far the largest percentage involved mutual violence between the parents (52 percent), followed by approximately the same percentages of father-only and mother-only violence (25 percent and 22 percent, respectively); however, in the perpetration of severe assaults, mothers were rarely the sole perpetrators. Among the violent fathers, 74.6 percent assaulted the mother two or more times in the year the student was 10 years old. Among the violent mothers, 73.3 percent assaulted the father two or more times that year. Based on these findings, the primary prevention of partner violence is likely to be improved if it includes explicit mention of and examples of girls and women hitting a partner. In addition, if most partner violence is mutual between partners, treatment is more likely to be effective if it involves both partners. Data are presented by nation and region. Violence between parents was measured with the short form of the Conflict Tactics Scales. 4 tables, 1 figure, and 51 references