Domestic violence: a global perspective

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Domestic Violence defined as intimate partner violence is differentially understood and responded to within and between countries and it frequently falls short of being seen as a human rights issue which requires government, community and professional responses. This article explores definitions and explanations of domestic violence that have been put forward and considers the associations that have been made between violence and abuse. It also reviews multi-country links between women's health and domestic violence and examines controversial issues surrounding fathers who have been domestically violent. As part of the discussion, professional responsibility and responses are also appraised. It is argued that domestic violence is intrinsically related to gendered power imbalances which have different manifestations in different social and cultural contexts. However the view that violence is inevitable in certain situations is challenged. The ethical imperative of zero tolerance is emphasized, but further research in relation to how gendered power imbalances foster intimate partner violence in some contexts but not in others and how this can be explored in ways which move the discussion away from pathologising explanations, is highlighted as an area for further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages12
JournalHong Kong Journal of Social Work
Issue number1&2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • domestic violence


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