chapter  17
Psychosocial Interventions for Intimate-Partner Violence
ByAlan Rosenbaum, J. Celeste Walley, Lori A. Meyerson
Pages 18

INTRODUCTION We now recognize intimate-partner violence (IPV) to be one of the most common forms of interpersonal aggression. It occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual, married and unmarried couples across the socioeconomic and age spectra, and within every ethnic, racial, and cultural group. It is perpetrated almost equally by males and females (1), although it is considered to be more damaging and malignant when the male is the aggressor. In recognition of this, the term batterer is almost exclusively applied to male perpetrators. Historically, society has tolerated, sanctioned, and, at times, even prescribed the use of aggression by men toward their female partners. The legal system has been unresponsive and batterers have been spared any legal consequences for their behavior. As a result, it was only through the efforts of the battered-women’s movement that IPV has been criminalized, and battered women have been accorded the same protections and rights as victims of other violent crimes. The sequelae of this process have been manifold and include dramatic increases in the rates of arrest and prosecu-

tion of batterers, the development and rapid proliferation of intervention, and, more subtly, the splitting off of IPV from other forms of human aggression. In other words, the extensive body of literature on the etiology and treatment of human aggression has been largely ignored with respect to domestic violence, which is too often characterized as being solely attributable to the male’s need to assert power and control over his female partner.