Findings about partner violence from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development study

Moffitt,Terrie E.
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NCJ 170018
This report summarizes the results of a study conducted on a birth cohort of 1,037 men and women born in New Zealand between April 1, 1972 and March 31, 1973. The Dunedin researchers focused on partner violence as a potential example of antisocial behavior during childhood and teenage delinquency carried over into adulthood. Results of the study revealed that partner violence is associated with risk factors in childhood and adolescence involving poverty and low academic achievement for men and harsh family discipline and parental discord for women. Mental illness was present among 65% of females exposed to physical abuse and among 88% of the male perpetrators. The strongest risk factor for male and female perpetrators of partner violence involved a history of physically aggressive behavior prior to the age of 15 years. The findings from this study suggest that three intervention tactics are necessary to reduce partner violence in adulthood. The first needs to teach teenagers to avoid using violence against their partners. The second strategy involves interventions with young parents to reduce their stress and subsequently reduce the potential for exposure of their children to violence within the home. Lastly, given the findings that perpetrators of partner violence tend to be mentally ill and engage in other violent crimes, intervention needs to draw upon the interaction of law enforcement, the judicial system, and the mental health profession.
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Marital rape; perpetration; prevention; risk; underserved populations
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