Female perpetrated domestic violence: Prevalence of self-defensive and retaliatory violence


Differences between male and female perpetrated domestic violence are widely acknowledged. However, there is a lack of Australian data on the circumstances of female perpetrated violence. This study analysed 153 police narratives of domestic violence incidents involving a female person of interest (POI). Results were consistent with international studies. Half of the episodes involved either self-defensive or retaliatory violence—otherwise known as violent resistance—meaning the POI had been a victim of prior violence by their partner or the episode involved a male victim who was abusive in the lead-up to the incident. Violent resistance was more common in incidents involving Indigenous women. The findings highlight the different motivations for female perpetrated domestic violence, and the importance of understanding the complex dynamics of violent episodes.


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