Despite changes to laws and policies across most western democracies intended to combat violence to women, intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA) remains discouragingly commonplace.

Domestic Violence and Psychology: Critical Perspectives on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse showcases women’s harrowing stories of living with and leaving violent partners, offering a psychological perspective on domestic violence and developing a theoretical framework for examining the context, intentions and experiences in the lives of people who experience abuse and abuse themselves.

Nicolson provides an analysis of survivors’ real-life stories, and thoughts about IPVA. The attitudes of the general public and health and social care professionals are also presented and discussed. The theoretical perspective employs three levels of evidence – the material (context), discursive (explanations) and intrapsychic (emotional). Domestic Violence and Psychology is divided into three parts accordingly, engaging qualitative data from interviews and quantitative data from surveys to illustrate these theoretical perspectives. Although many pro-feminist sociologists and activists firmly believe that any attempt to explain domestic violence potentially condones it, this book takes up the challenge to make a compelling case demonstrating how we need to widen understanding of the psychology of survivors and their intimate relationships if we are to defeat IPVA.

The new edition has been updated to include the latest developments in IPVA research and practice, and in particular examines the impact of a violent and abusive family life on all members, including children. This is essential reading for students, academics and professionals interested in domestic abuse, as well as professionals and practitioners, including psychologists, social workers, the police, prison officers, probation staff, policy makers, and charity workers.



chapter |9 pages


part 1|2 pages

The context

chapter 2|18 pages

Intimate partner violence and abuse

The material context

chapter 3|20 pages

Psychology, feminism and ideology

Moving forward

part 2|2 pages

Discursive constructions of domestic abuse and violence

chapter 4|15 pages

The social construction of intimate partner violence and abuse

Myths, legends and formula stories

chapter 5|19 pages

Public perceptions and moral tales

part 3|2 pages

(Re)turning to intrapsychic psychology

chapter 7|17 pages

Intimate partner violence and abuse across generations

Intrapsychic dimensions

chapter 8|12 pages

‘Doing’ intimate partner violence and abuse

Dilemmas of care and blame