Vilification of the "batterer": How blame shapes domestic violence policy and interventions

Ken Corvo, Pamela J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


This article explores ways in which the vilification of the "batterer" - the popular, policy, and "scientific" legitimization of the dismissive and degrading categorization of perpetrators - has influenced research, policy, and intervention in the field of domestic violence. The historical, political, ideological, legal, and theoretical bases of this process are reviewed. Factors behind the convergence of feminist and law enforcement perspectives are discussed. Current policies and practices are described as being unnecessarily constrained and unresponsive to a wide range of families and relationships. Vilification exerts its impact on policy through a rhetoric of blame, portraying perpetrators as undeserving of a broader range of interventions and services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-281
Number of pages23
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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