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Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Intimate Partner Violence: An Analysis of Risk and Recidivism


The goal of the current study is to compare GLB couples to heterosexual couples on measures of risk for and recidivism of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Additionally, the study seeks to compare GLB couples and heterosexual couples involved in a dual versus single arrest for IPV. Finally, the third aim is to determine whether the two measures of risk accurately predict dangerousness and IPV recidivism for same-sex couples and heterosexual couples. It is hoped that this study can provide insight as to whether IPV among same-sex couples can be categorized as bi-directional, mutual, and less serious common couple violence (as prevailing ideology indicates) or unidirectional, more serious intimate terrorism (as research and social services aimed at this population finds).

Results indicate that GLB couples most closely resemble male-to-female violence; that is, IPV with a male perpetrator and female victim. Contrary to societal stereotype that all IPV is a “fight between equals,” this research demonstrates that at least some of GLB IPV can be considered serious and unidirectional, a finding that remains regardless of dual versus single arrest status. Finally, results also support the validity of the Danger Assessment in predicting dangerousness, and the Domestic Violence Screening Instrument-Revised in predicting recidivism for both GLB and heterosexual couple types.

Though the results are not definitive, it is hoped that this research will impact the future of IPV theorizing and police intervention for all couple types.

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