Domestic Violence: How Do Current Theories and Approaches Help US Understand Domestic Violence?


Background information

Domestic violence is a social ill that has been around since time immemorial. But just what is meant by the term domestic violence? Domestic violence encompasses a broader range of physical or sexual assaults perpetrated by persons against others. On the most fundamental level, domestic violence has been defined as assaults perpetrated between persons who are currently residing together in sexually intimate relationships, chiefly as heterosexual couples (Gelles, 1997; Edwards, 1989). Nevertheless, this definition is too narrow and fails to take into consideration other assaults that are perpetrated between people who are in an intimate relationship but do not necessarily live together. It also fails to include assaults between persons in homosexual relationships, as well as persons living together but are not engaged in any sexually intimate relationship, for instance, assaults by children towards their parents, and vice versa. All these assaults are also broadly categorized as domestic violence (Mirrlees-Black, 1999).

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The prevalence of domestic violence is high in many societies. Prevalence refers to “the proportion of the population that has experienced a particular type of violence once or more,” (Walby & Allen, 2004, p. 25). Prevalence is different from the incidence of domestic violence which refers to “the total number of occasions on which the violence occurred,” (Walby & Allen, 2004, p. 25). The incidence of domestic violence is higher than its prevalence mainly because many victims of domestic violence have experienced the vice on more than one occasion. According to the British Crime Survey (BCS), “thirteen per cent of women and nine per cent of men in the United Kingdom were subject to some form of domestic violence last year,” (Walby & Allen, 2004, p. 27) Out of the women who experienced domestic violence, six per cent experienced non-sexual domestic assault, threats or force; two per cent experienced less grave sexual abuse; while 0.5 per cent experienced graver sexual abuse, out of which 0.3 percent experienced rape. In addition, eight per cent of the women in the UK experienced stalking. These figures can be compared to the experiences of men whereby five per cent of men in the UK experienced non-sexual domestic assault; 0.2 per cent experienced different sorts of sexual assault; and six per cent experienced stalking. These estimates prove that domestic violence is experienced by both males and females contrary to popular belief which assumes that domestic violence is predominantly experienced by women and perpetrated by males (Simmons & Dodd, 2003).

Relationship between victims and perpetrators of domestic violence at the time of incidence

The relationship between victims and perpetrators of domestic violence is important in understanding the occurrence of domestic violence as well as in instituting treatment programs (Myhill & Allen, 2002). The British Crime Survey indicates that more than fifty percent of all domestic violence incidents are perpetrated by either a current spouse or a former spouse. Approximately thirty percent of the incidents are perpetrated by non-marital current partners, and only ten percent are perpetrated by former non-marital partners (Mirrlees-Black, 1999). Based on these estimates, it is evident that domestic violence largely occurs in marriages, between wives and husbands (Putman, 2001).

The role of alcohol in domestic violence

Alcohol abuse has widely been linked to the occurrence of domestic violence. According to British Crime Survey, close to thirty percent of domestic violence takes place when the perpetrator is under the influence of alcohol (Mirrlees-Black, 1999). It is however not apparent if alcohol causes the violence directly, if it is only a contributing factor to domestic violence, or if it merely symbolizes a correlation outcome (the use of alcohol could be higher among the population that is highly likely to commit domestic violence). Morley and Mullender (1994) argue that “rather than a direct cause of violence, alcohol is better viewed as a means of gaining courage to carry out the act and/or as a convenient rationale to excuse it once it has occurred” (p. 36). Although majority of domestic violence perpetrators (approximately 70 percent) are not alcohol-dependent, the role of alcohol in domestic violence cannot be undermined. This is because any act that is perpetrated within a setting of alcohol consumption, violent or not, originates “from an interaction between factors relating to the individual, to the immediate environment and to the alcohol consumed,” (Finney, 2004, p. 4). Research shows that alcohol is more of a contributing factor to domestic violence, rather than the cause (McCord, 1993; Finney, 2004).

Purpose of the study and research question

Many theories have been formulated as an attempt to understand why some individuals behave aggressively towards their partners. These theories are different and pinpoint the problem of domestic violence as a result of biological, social, psychological and emotional factors. Based on these theories, various treatment approaches have been adopted by clinical psychologists, counsellors and therapists working with domestic violence victims and perpetrators. Despite decades of attention from the academic sphere, domestic violence continues to be a problem in the society thereby raising doubt as to the effectiveness of the treatment programs. This may be because of a lack of consensus among the scholars of what should constitute an effective treatment program for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. In addition, many limitations characterise the research studies thus making the results inapplicable to some situations.

The inability of counsellors, psychologists and therapists to take into consideration the cultural and demographic characteristics of the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence could also be a contributing factor to the lack of decrease in incidences of domestic violence (Leibrich, Paulin & Ransom, 1995). In short, there is a wide gap in the domestic violence literature that needs to be addressed. It is based on this need that this critical literature review will be conducted. The critical literature review will be done using several journal articles that address the problem of domestic violence especially as far as theories and approaches are concerned.

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The review will look at the current theoretical approaches to domestic violence as well as the related interventions that have been implemented by therapists. Specifically, it will focus on the major forms of approaches/theories that are being tested and used to treat and explain the occurrence and factors affecting domestic violence as an overview. This will assist in the provision of a structure for the collective body of research that has been undertaken to enlighten the concerned professions to allow greater understanding about the type and form of therapy that counseling psychologists can engage in for maximum support and therapeutic change within the ethical means available. Although there are many theories and approaches used to provide a deeper insight into domestic violence, the scope of this review will only permit the focus on a few of the theories and approaches. The theories and approaches considered in this study will address both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. Given the broad definition of domestic violence, this study will only focus on domestic violence that occurs between husbands and wives. Although victims and perpetrators of domestic violence are not unique to either gender, the study will only focus on males as the perpetrators and females as the victims. The study will also take into consideration the association between alcohol and domestic violence.

The implication of this study to counselling psychology is significant. The main goal of Counseling Psychology is to help people lead more satisfying and fuller lives. Counseling psychologists focus on the overall well-being and personal growth of their clients rather than on their illnesses or disorders. With reference to domestic violence, counseling psychologists strive to address the vice from its roots, that is, by examining the causes of domestic violence instead of merely treating its consequences. As a result, this study would go a long way in helping counseling psychologists understand the problem of domestic violence better (Strawbridge & Woolfe, 2003). Indeed, the knowledge gained from the study would provide a clinical guideline that would facilitate the adoption of more effective treatment programs by counseling psychologists dealing with domestic violence. Specifically, the study tries to answer the question: How do current theories and approaches help us understand domestic violence?

Critique of Research Articles

Theories of domestic violence

Cultural theory of domestic violence

Collins and Dressler (2008) were interested in finding out if there is a shared foundation for discussing domestic violence through which providers from different human service fields could be linked. The clinical importance of conducting this study lies in the fact that providers from different human service fields have different understanding about the issue of domestic violence and therefore apply different treatment approaches which often prove to be inappropriate. Collins and Dressler used a mixed method approach to conduct their study implying that both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis were used. The use of a mixed methods approach ensured the triangulation of the study which in turn enhances the credibility and reliability of the findings. The sample was selected through a mixture of purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Specifically, the participants were selected from child welfare workers, domestic violence workers, nurses and the general population. The use of purposive and snowball sampling techniques was appropriate because the researchers wanted to study specific occupational groups.

Based on the cultural model of domestic violence, Collins and Dressler (2008) found that there is little consensus about the causes and effects of domestic violence or the significance of the factors that contribute to domestic violence. The intra-cultural diversity theory provided insight into why only one of the four subgroups of professionals studied in this case shared a model. Specifically, the researchers found that only the child welfare workers seemed to have a shared understanding of domestic violence. This was attributed to the fact that child welfare workers usually interact with each other and work as a team that usually consists of professionals from other agencies such as healthcare professionals, lawyers and school staff. The findings imply that human services providers need to improve on their communication and collaborative skills in order for them to implement effective treatment approaches when dealing with domestic violence victims. The results of this study support the study conducted by Ross and Medin (2005) which proposed that domestic violence should be examined from a multidimensional perspective.

The feminist theory versus status inconsistency theory of domestic violence

Yick (2001) was interested in examining domestic using the feminist and status inconsistency theories. The goal of the study was to explain domestic violence using the mentioned theories. The feminist theory of domestic violence asserts that gender inequality in the society is the major cause of all forms of violence against women (McPhail, Busch, Kulkani & Rice, 2007; Pyles & Postmus, 2004). On the other hand the status inconsistency theory asserts that the power of decision-making in a family is dependent on the amount and perceived value of resources that a partner contributes to the family. Therefore, partners with more resources (men in most case) are more likely to use more force (Burlae, 2004; Coggins & Bullock, 2003). Applying the feminist theory of domestic violence, Yick (2001) noted that such an approach would force the victim to leave her family thereby placing her well-being above the well-being of the collective system (her family).

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The status inconsistency theory on the other hand shows how the marital relationship utilizes power and resources. Even though the theory fails to elaborate the process of negotiation, it asserts that there is an interaction between the existing societal norms about the “who and what” of resources in a relationship and the results that occur when the reality fails to be consistent with the norms (Yick, 2001). The strengths and limitations of both the feminist and status inconsistency theories imply that clinical psychologists and therapists can reap more benefits by implementing a treatment program that employs both of these two approaches depending on the cultural orientation of the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence (Grodner & Sweifach, 2004). Future research studies can also be conducted to compare the issue of domestic violence between populations of different cultural origin so as to narrow the literature gap that exists on the same.

The power theory versus the feminist theory of domestic violence

The study of Lenton (1995) investigates the comparison between the power theory and the feminist theory of wife abuse. His focus on wife abuse lies on two main factors. First, little information exists about violence against women which cannot allow aggregating all types of abuse in one analysis. Second, many scholars agree that the family is a private institution which provides conducive ground for gender-based aggressiveness. Consistent with other studies (such as National Council of Welfare, 1995; Gordon, 1986), results from the study show that: men who were unemployed or had low household incomes were more likely to behave in a manner consistent with patriarchal ideology; systematic discrimination against women, economic difficulties, few or no resources, ascribed gender roles, and prior victimization are all associated with familial violence; and non-gender factors such as class, social support systems, and existence of violence in the society also contribute to familial violence. Thus, the power theory of domestic violence makes greater contributions to the understanding of wife abuse. Nevertheless, this does not imply that the feminist theory should be rejected. Although the feminist theory does not feature males as evil predators against women, it provides useful insight into how inequality between genders leads to power struggles within the family as well as the wider society. Therefore, to provide better explanations for gender-based violence, a theory should incorporate both gender inequality and sources of power.

Theory of enduring love

The purpose of the study by Kearney (2001) was to use different qualitative reports relevant across geographical and socio-cultural settings so as to construct a theory of women’s experiences in aggressive relationships. The reports were searched from different databases and reference lists using both computerized and manual searches. Reports which were included were those that had qualitative descriptions of women in and/or leaving violent domestic or dating relationships. The sample used in the study contained reports that used comparative techniques and showed concept/theory building from raw data. In the end, a total of 15 reports generated between 1984 and 1999 were used for the actual analysis. Data collection from each report was done systematically. A constant comparative analysis was done to analyze the data both descriptively and theoretically. From the analysis, Kearney (2001) developed the theory of enduring love to explain the experiences of women in abusive relationships. He argued that there was no difference between “enduring to survive” when facing physical harm and “enduring to live” when facing psychological stress.

The study by Kearney (2001) has several limitations. First, the qualitative synthesis used was shallow and failed to fully portray individual women’s situations. Second, there was a risk of combining culturally and historically incomparable experiences due to the inability of the analyst to detect them. The implications of the findings on counselling psychologists/therapists are: many abused women fail to reveal their experiences due to the fear of retaliation from the perpetrators as well as lack of interest on the part of the therapist. It is therefore important for therapists/psychologists to provide safe havens for victims of domestic violence and also to take keener interest in the problems that women go through. For instance, a woman having drug abuse problems could be suffering from domestic violence. The therapist should thus dig deeper to establish if the woman is being abused or not.

Approaches to domestic violence

Counsellors use different approaches to address both the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. These approaches are determined by several factors including: presence of an alcohol or substance dependent partner, the willingness (or lack) of both partners of domestic violence to address their relationship problems, and the self-worth or self-esteem of the victims of domestic violence. In this section, several studies will be reviewed which examine the cognitive-behavioural approach, the conjoint therapy approach, and the reality therapy using self-forgiveness approach to domestic violence. The cognitive-behavioural approach is based on the need to alter the thinking of both the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence particularly as it is affected by alcohol or substance abuse. The conjoint therapy approach takes into consideration the relationship between the victim and perpetrator of DV and seeks to address this vice by solving the problems inherent in the relationship rather than the individuals. Lastly, the reality therapy approach seeks to alter the thinking of the victims of DV by eliminating feelings of low self-esteem, low self-worth, and self-blame.

Cognitive behavioural approach to domestic violence perpetrators

Easton et al. (2007) conducted a study to assess the effectiveness of a twelve-session cognitive behavioural group therapy for males who were alcohol-dependent and who had co-occurring interpersonal violence (IPV). This study was based on the proximal effects model which asserts that substance-dependent persons are more likely to be aggressive towards their partners. The model also postulates that substance use normally takes place before IPV and episodes of aggression often occur almost immediately the consumption of alcohol. The researchers argue that currently there are limited systematic assessments of well-defined treatments for alcohol-dependent men exhibiting IPV. The researchers therefore hoped to narrow the gap that exists in this particular literature.

The study was undertaken using a sample of eighty-five alcohol-dependent males who had been arrested for domestic violence within the past twelve months. Out of the 85 participants, 78 of them were randomly selected and grouped into either the cognitive behavioural Substance Abuse Domestic Violence (SADV) group (N=40) or a Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) group (N=38). Data were then collected on the participants’ current and lifetime psychiatric diagnoses, substance/alcohol use, and physical violence episodes against their partners. Results indicated that: (1) participants in the SADV group had a higher number of abstinence from alcohol days during the 12 weeks of treatment than the participants in the TSF group; (2) there was a tendency of participants in the SADV group to have fewer incidences of physical abuse against their partners than participants in the TSF group; and (3) there was significant difference in the abstinence from alcohol days and frequency of physical assault between the two groups during the six-month follow-up.

The strength of Easton et al.’s (2007) study is that it is the first one to reveal the viability and potential effectiveness of a group therapy approach for domestic violence perpetrators who are alcohol-dependent. The approach is also unique because it aims at both the problems of substance-abuse and co-occurring IPV in an incorporated way instead of addressing the two problems separately. The third result mentioned above may have occurred due to the short follow-up period (6 months) used after randomization. The short time period may have been too short to identify any delayed materialization of the effects of the treatment. Therefore a similar study needs to be carried out with a longer follow-up period than the one used in this study. Closely linked to the study by Easton et al. (2007) is the study that was conducted by Chartas and Culbreth (2001). The researchers base their study on the extensively documented association between substance abuse and domestic violence (Jacobson & Gottman, 1998; Lee, Gottheil, Sterling, Weinstein & Serota, 1997). These studies have shown that majority of the men who abuse their spouses are substance-dependent.

Despite the high number of studies showing a relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence, these studies have failed to clearly establish the causality. The situation is complicated further by studies showing that women in abusive relationships are more likely than their peers to be substance-dependent. Therefore there are many possibilities for these results which may include: the possibility that substance-dependent women partner with men who also abuse substance; or the possibility that women in abusive relationships use substance-dependency as an escape mechanism. The study by Chartas and Culbreth (2001) is based on this quagmire and the fact that most treatment programs for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence fail to address substance abuse and domestic violence simultaneously. Specifically, the researchers wanted to gain a deeper insight into the practices and theoretical point of reference of counsellors dealing with co-occurring substance abuse and domestic violence.

Chartas and Culbreth (2001) used a sample of four counsellors selected from several outpatient treatment centres. The age of participants ranged from 25 to 54, their academic status included a bachelor’s, two masters’ and a doctor of philosophy degree. Fifty percent of them were female and fifty percent were male. Qualitative data were collected which were then analyzed using the coding technique. Chartas and Culbreth (2001) found that alcohol abuse was incorporated into the models of treatment used by the counsellors but had no substantial effect on the focus of the treatment. Second, the counsellors consistently applied different models of treatment for the perpetrators and the victims. Whereas the perpetrators were forced to be accountable for both substance abuse and domestic violence, the victims received empathy and support for dealing with both problems.

The clinical implications for this study include: the need for clinical psychologists and therapists to dig deeper into domestic violence problem rather than merely assigning responsibility and giving recommendations to the perpetrators and victims respectively. On the one hand, the perpetrator may also have been a victim of abuse in his childhood and therefore he needs a different type of treatment (Mears, 2003; Corvo, 2006). On the other hand, the supposed victim may also contribute to the violence by, for instance, wilfully and knowingly living with a substance-dependent man. In such a scenario, the woman should also take some responsibility for the abuse. The strength of this study lies in its use of qualitative design which has provided a deeper understanding of co-occurring domestic violence and substance abuse. Nevertheless, further quantitative research is needed to provide counsellors and therapists with the direction needed to merge services and enhance their effectiveness (Chartas & Culbreth, 2001). These factors form the basis upon which the conjoint therapy approach to domestic violence is implemented by some counsellors.

Conjoint therapy approach

Harris (2006) argues that domestic violence is a prevalent social ill in the society irrespective of the many years of attempts to eradicate and treat it (Peled & Edleson, 1994; Stith, Rosen, & McCollum, 2003). The impacts of domestic violence are brutal and affect not only the victim’s physical health but also emotional, mental and psychological health (Mourad, Levendosky, Bogat & Eye, 2008). Based on these facts, Harris (2006) set out to examine the place of conjoint therapy in the treatment of domestic violence. This he accomplished by evaluating and reviewing the existing literature on the parallel approach to treatment vis-à-vis the conjoint approach. The literature review on parallel approach to treatment reveals that the programs based on the approach have two distinct messages: the aggressor needs to be accountable for his actions while the victim needs to be protected from the aggressor. As a result, the perpetrator and the victim are usually treated separately using different treatment methods such as cognitive-behavioural, psycho-education and psychoanalytic methods for the perpetrators and support and empowerment methods for the victims (Babcock & Steiner, 1999; Davis, 1998, Edleson & Syers, 1991; Goldner, 1998).

While there are many research studies conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the domestic violence perpetrator programs, the studies show mixed results: some show that they are effective (Scott, 2004) while others show otherwise. Harris (2006) also notes that majority of the studies have inherent limitations (such as methodology issues and lack of operationalized measures) which render the findings unreliable. Regarding the programs offered to domestic violence victims, Harris (2006) notes that few studies have been conducted to evaluate them. In addition, the few programs have mixed results largely due to the wide range of actual services provided to victims and the lack of operationalization of outcome measures. Moreover, the types of services offered to both victims and perpetrators fail to take into account the opportunities for couples therapy. Harris (2006) argues that this is problematic because issues concerning relationships (rather than the individuals) play a key role in domestic violence and therefore need to be addressed. It is based on this limitation of parallel approach to domestic violence that the researcher makes a case for the use of conjoint therapy in dealing with domestic violence (Vetere & Cooper, 2003).

The effectiveness of conjoint therapy has been studied by various researchers. Like the parallel approach to domestic violence treatment, there have been some mixed results on the effectiveness of conjoint therapy. Nevertheless, conjoint therapy has been shown to reduce the incidence of domestic violence (Stith et al., 2003). Second, the women involved in conjoint therapy have reduced risk of becoming violent towards their partners as compared to women in parallel individual treatment programs. Third, an experimental study carried out by Brannen and Rubin (1996) showed that conjoint therapy is more effective in reducing physical aggressiveness among men with alcohol problems as compared to individual treatment therapy. These findings suggest that conjoint therapy could be as effective as individual treatment therapy in reducing incidences of domestic violence. However, the effectiveness of conjoint therapy largely depends on the safety needs particularly of the victim.

The implication of this finding for clinical psychologists is that they need to consider the safety needs of victims of domestic violence before initiating a conjoint therapy (Murray, 2006; Galvani, 2007). Such safety needs must be taken into consideration throughout the therapeutic session. In addition, the research studies reviewed by Harris (2006) indicated that majority of the participants who attended a conjoint therapy had also attended an individual treatment therapy beforehand. This increases the success rate of a conjoint therapy because it shows that both partners – the perpetrator and the victim – are willing to work at their problems.

Reality therapy using self-forgiveness approach

Turnage, Jacinto and Kirven (2003) introduce a new perspective into the domestic violence ill by claiming that victims of domestic violence often harbour feelings of shame and self-blame years after the end of the abusive relationship. The researchers argue that one approach that can be used by therapists is self-forgiveness and acceptance of themselves as people who deserve to be loved and respected. The logic behind their study is that despite the significant increase in the study of forgiveness as part of counselling in the past two decades (Durham, 2000; Enright, 2001; Enright & North, 1998), there is a gap in the literature describing the process of forgiveness as a therapy particularly among victims of assault (Macaskill, Maltby & Day, 2002; Worthington, Mazzeo & Kliewer, 2002). Turnage et al. (2003) therefore hoped to narrow this gap by contributing to the intervention literature that assists victims of domestic violence. Their study focuses on self-forgiveness as part of reality therapy. Reality therapy is “structured in a unique manner to assist people in searching their feelings about the emotional problems they have (Glasser, 2000; Wubbolding, 2000). The reality therapy insists that people must focus on their present situation when taking into consideration their emotional wounds. On the other hand, focusing on the past could help in resolving anger but too much of this focus could also prevent the victim from accepting personal responsibility and moving forward. It could also aggravate the victim’s anger which in turn would masquerade the real cause of the victim’s emotional distress thereby minimizing the victim’s viability (Konstam, Chernoff & Deveney, 2001). To avoid such a scenario, the reality therapy helps domestic violence survivors to develop future healthy relationships rather than mulling over past hurtful relationships. This can be achieved in four major steps: identifying the wants of domestic violence victims; taking actions that help domestic violence victims to feel worthy; evaluating the efforts made; and visualizing the outcome (Turnage et al., 2003). As the victims are assisted to go through the four stages, the therapist incorporates messages of self-forgiveness that enable the victim to heal from previous emotional wounds. In the end, the victim’s fortified self-image becomes a safe foundation on which the victim is able to explore and assess new behaviour. The strength of this study, besides narrowing the literature gap of self-forgiveness as a therapeutic approach, is that it provides a detailed description of how the reality therapy using self-forgiveness can be used by therapists and clinical psychologists in treating victims and survivors of domestic violence. An effective treatment program can thus be developed from the information presented in the study.


The critical review of the literature has highlighted some major and important points concerning the theories and approaches used in treating victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

The need to implement a value-based approach

In ethnically diverse societies such as the United Kingdom, psychologists and therapists have a greater burden when faced with victims and perpetrators of different ethnic communities from their own. In such situations, therapists/psychologists need to adopt an intervention and treatment program that is congruent with victims’ and perpetrators’ cultural values. For instance, a victim of domestic violence from a collective society cannot be treated using feminist approaches such as empowerment. This is because such an approach would force the victim to take assertive actions that would place her wellbeing above that of the society (Yick, 2001). This would be contrary to the victim’s values and therefore the intervention is highly likely to be unsuccessful. A focus on victims’ and perpetrators’ cultural values therefore plays a big role in determining the success or failure of treatment programs.

The need for a collaborative service

Domestic violence is a vice that has extensive consequences not only to the victims but also to those around them. For it to be managed effectively, various professionals from different human services fields need to be involved including the police department, mental health department, child welfare agencies, social work department and the like. Therapists and psychologists dealing with domestic violence victims and perpetrators need to communicate openly and collaborate with all these professionals so as to provide an intervention program that is comprehensive and which caters to the needs of all those involved whether directly or indirectly (Collins & Dressler, 2008).

Individual and conjoint therapy

The literature review has shown that treating victims and perpetrators of domestic violence would be more effective if therapists use a mixture of individual and conjoint therapies. In the individual therapy session, the perpetrator and the victim would be treated separately using different approaches that cater to their needs. Once they have successfully completed their individual sessions, the couple should then be treated in a conjoint therapy. This would enable the therapist to gain a deeper understanding into the root cause of the aggressive behaviour of the perpetrator. Most importantly, a conjoint therapy would assist the couple to heal the relationship by addressing the unresolved issues that often trigger the violent behaviour. However, for the conjoint therapy to be effective and appropriate the safety needs of the victims must be taken care of to avoid aggravating the violent behaviour of the perpetrator (Vetere & Cooper, 2003).

Co-occurring domestic violence and substance abuse

The review has shown that majority of the perpetrators and victims of domestic violence also abuse alcohol. Therapists working with DV victims and perpetrators should also enquire about alcohol abuse and provide a therapy that simultaneously addresses the two problems (Easton et al., 2007).


Domestic violence is a social ill that affects many homes and relationships. Its effects are life-threatening and go beyond the two individuals involved. Many research studies have been undertaken to help us understand why the vice takes place in the first place, how it affects the victims and the perpetrators, and what can be done to eradicate it and treat the persons involved. The critical literature review presented in this paper has pinpointed the areas of clinical practice that need improvement as well as the underestimated but potential actions that need to be emphasized by therapists and clinical psychologists dealing with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, for instance, the need to address alcohol consumption among DV perpetrators and the need for conjoint therapy. Indeed the information presented in this review could be used effectively by the professionals to adopt and implement treatment and intervention programs that adequately address the needs of domestic violence partners.


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YourDissertation. "Domestic Violence: How Do Current Theories and Approaches Help US Understand Domestic Violence?" November 30, 2021.


YourDissertation. 2021. "Domestic Violence: How Do Current Theories and Approaches Help US Understand Domestic Violence?" November 30, 2021.


YourDissertation. (2021) 'Domestic Violence: How Do Current Theories and Approaches Help US Understand Domestic Violence'. 30 November.

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