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Perceptions of Same-Sex Domestic Violence Among Crisis Center Staff

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 24 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2009 Pages: 87-93
Michael J. Brown; Jennifer Groscup
Date Published
February 2009
7 pages
This study examined whether or not crisis center staff viewed same-sex domestic violence to be as serious as abuse in opposite-sex relationships.
This convenience sample of 120 staff members at a suburban crisis center tended to rate same-sex abuse as less serious than opposite-sex abuse, less likely to reoccur, and less likely to become worse over time compared with opposite-sex abuse. They also believed that it was easier for victims in same-sex relationships to leave their partners. This difference in assessment between same-sex and opposite-sex couples may have the potential to influence a staff’s treatment decisions. There were indications, however, that for same-sex victims of intimate partner violence, staff members would recommend counseling as an effective intervention and believe that agencies could help the victim. The findings show that training in working with same-sex domestic violence is important. Study participants were presented with a vignette that depicted a domestic dispute and asked to complete a questionnaire about their perceptions of the incident and the parties involved. Researchers manipulated the sex of the perpetrator and victim. All other aspects of the vignette remained the same. Participants were asked whether or not the scenario constituted domestic violence, who should be arrested, and how confident they were in their decisions. They were also asked about the perpetrator’s and victim’s responsibility for the situation, the seriousness of the situation, how capable the victim was of defending himself/herself, how difficult it would be for the victim to leave the relationship, how likely the abusive behavior was to continue, how effective social service and counseling interventions would be for the couple, and the likelihood the perpetrator and victim were lying about the situation. 2 tables and 42 references


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