Women's use of violence


Feminist scholars have conducted extensive research on women’s use of violence as well as women’s victimization. The journal Violence Against Women has been at the forefront of publishing high quality research on this subject.

Violence Against Women has published multiple special issues on women’s use of violence:

Vol. 8 issue 11, 2002

Vol. 8 issue 12, 2002

Vol. 9 issue 1, 2003

Vol. 18 issue 9, 2012

Here are some references on women’s use of violence


  1. Adinkrah, M. (2000). Female-perpetrated spousal homicides The case of Fiji. Journal of Criminal Justice, 28(2), 151–161. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0047-2352(99)00035-5

  2. Aldridge, M. L., & Browne, K. D. (2003). Perpetrators of spousal homicide: A review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 4(3), 265–276. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838003004003005

  3. Allen, C. T., Swan, S. C., & Raghavan, C. (2009). Gender symmetry, sexism, and intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(11), 1816–1834.

  4. Anderson, K. L. (2002). Perpetrator or victim? Relationships between intimate partner violence and well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(4), 851–863. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2002.00851.x

  5. Anderson, K. L. (2013). Why do we fail to ask “why” about gender and intimate partner violence? Journal of Marriage and Family, 75(2), 314–318. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12001

  6. Badenes-Ribera, L., Bonilla-Campos, A., Frias-Navarro, D., Pons-Salvador, G., & Monterde-i-Bort, H. (2016). Intimate partner violence in self-identified lesbians: A systematic review of its prevalence and correlates. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 17(3), 284–297. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838015584363

  7. Ballan, M. S., & Freyer, M. B. (2012). Self-defense among women with disabilities: An unexplored domain in domestic violence cases. Violence Against Women, 18(9), 1083–1107. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801212461430

  8. Balsam, K. F. (2001). Nowhere to hide: Lesbian battering, homophobia, and minority stress. Women & Therapy, 23(3), 25–37. https://doi.org/10.1300/J015v23n03_03

  9. Bernhard, L. (2016). Physical and sexual violence experienced by lesbian and heterosexual women: Violence Against Women, 6(1), 68–79. https://doi.org/10.1177/10778010022181714

  10. Bible, A., Dasgupta, S. D., & Osthoff, S. (2002). Guest editors’ introduction. Violence Against Women, 8(11), 1267–1270.

  11. Bourget, D., Gagne, P., & Moamai, J. (2000). Spousal homicide and suicide. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 28(2), 4.

  12. Boxall, H., Dowling, C., & Morgan, A. (2020). Female perpetrated domestic violence: Prevalence of self-defensive and retaliatory violence (No. 584; Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice). Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi584

  13. Browne, A. (2008). When battered women kill. Simon and Schuster.

  14. Browne, A., & Williams, K. R. (1989). Exploring the effect of resource availability and the likelihood of female-perpetrated homicides. Law & Society Review, 23(1), 75–94.  https://doi.org/10.2307/3053881

  15. Brownstein, H. H., Spunt, B. J., Crimmins, S., Goldstein, P. J., & Langley, S. (1994). Changing patterns of lethal violence by women. Women & Criminal Justice, 5(2), 99–118. https://doi.org/10.1300/J012v05n02_06

  16. Caldwell, J. E., Swan, S. C., Allen, C. T., Sullivan, T. P., & Snow, D. L. (2009). Why I hit him: Women’s reasons for intimate partner violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 18(7), 672–697.

  17. Caldwell, J. E., Swan, S. C., & Diane, V. (2012). Gender differences in intimate partner violence outcomes. Psychology of Violence, 2(1), 42–57.

  18. Caldwell, J. E., Swan, S. C., Allen, C. T., Sullivan, T. P., & Snow, D. L. (2009). Why I hit him: Women’s reasons for intimate partner violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 18(7), 672–697. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926770903231783

  19. Campbell, J. C. (2007). Prediction of homicide of and by battered women. In J. C. Campbell (Ed.), Assessing Dangerousness: Violence by Batterers and Child Abusers, Second Edition (2nd ed., pp. 85–104). Springer Publishing Company.

  20. Cook, S. L., & Swan, S. C. (2006). Guest editors’ introduction. Violence Against Women, 12(11), 995–996.

  21. Dasgupta, S. D. (2002). A framework for understanding women’s use of nonlethal violence in intimate heterosexual relationships. Violence Against Women, 8(11), 1364–1389.

  22. Dasgupta, S. D., Osthoff, S., & Bible, A. (2003). Guest editors’ introduction. Violence Against Women, 9(1), 4–9.

  23. Dobash, R. P., & Dobash, R. E. (2004). Women’s violence to men in intimate relationships: Working on a puzzle. The British Journal of Criminology, 44, 324–349.

  24. Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board. (2017). Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board 2016–17 Annual Report. Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board, Queensland Government. https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/541947/domestic-and-family-violence-death-review-and-advisory-board-annual-report-2016-17.pdf

  25. Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board. (2018). Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board 2017–18 Annual Report. Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board, Queeensland Government. https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/586182/domestic-and-family-violence-death-review-and-advisory-board-annual-report-2017-18.pdf

  26. Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board. (2019). Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board 2018–19 Annual Report. Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board, Queensland Government. http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/541947/domestic-and-family-violence-death-review-and-advisory-board-annual-report-2016-17.pdf

  27. Donovan, C., & Barnes, R. (2017). Domestic violence and abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGB and/or T) relationships: Sexualities. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460716681491

  28. Donovan, C., & Barnes, R. (2019). Help-seeking among lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender victims/survivors of domestic violence and abuse: The impacts of cisgendered heteronormativity and invisibility. Journal of Sociology, 1440783319882088. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783319882088

  29. Donovan, C., & Hester, M. (2014). Domestic violence and sexuality: What’s love got to do with it? Policy Press.

  30. Dragiewicz, M. & DeKeseredy, W.S. (2012). Claims about women’s use of non-fatal force in intimate relationships: A contextual review of the Canadian research. Violence Against Women, 18(9), 1008-1026.

  31. Dragiewicz, M., & Lindgren, Y. (2009). The gendered nature of domestic violence: Statistical data for lawyers considering equal protection analysis. American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, 17, 229.

  32. Dugan, L., Nagin, D. S., & Rosenfeld, R. (1999). Explaining the decline in intimate partner homicide: The effects of changing domesticity, women’s status, and domestic violence resources. Homicide Studies, 3(3), 187–214. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088767999003003001

  33. Durfee, A. (2011). “I’m not a victim, she’s an abuser”: Masculinity, victimization, and protection orders. Gender & Society, 25(3), 316–334. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243211404889

  34. Durfee, A. (2012). Situational ambiguity and gendered patterns of arrest for intimate partner violence. Violence Against Women, 18(1), 64–84.

  35. Durfee, A., & Goodmark, L. (2019). Is there a protection order to prison pipeline? Gendered dimensions of cross-petitions. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926771.2019.1685044

  36. Easteal, P. (1994). Gender and homicide: A comparison of men and women who kill. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 24(2), 140–151.Edwards, K. M., Sylaska, K. M., & Neal, A. M. (2015). Intimate partner violence among sexual minority populations: A critical review of the literature and agenda for future research. Psychology of Violence, 5(2), 112–121. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038656

  37. Peterson, E. S. L. (1999). Murder as self-help: Women and intimate partner homicide. Homicide Studies, 3(1), 30–46. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088767999003001003

  38. Enander, V. (2011). Violent women? The challenge of women’s violence in intimate heterosexual relationships to feminist analyses of partner violence. NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 19(2), 105–123.

  39. Fanslow, J. L., Gulliver, P., Dixon, R., & Ayallo, I. (2015). Hitting back: Women’s use of physical violence against violent male partners, in the context of a violent episode. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(17), 2963–2979. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260514555010

  40. Gilbert, P. R. (2002). Discourses of female violence and societal gender stereotypes. Violence Against Women, 8(11), 1271–1300.

  41. Girshick, L. B. (2002). no sugar, no spice reflections on research on woman-to-woman sexual violence. Violence Against Women, 8(12), 1500–1520.

  42. Goetting, A. (1987). Homicidal wives: A profile. Journal of Family Issues, 8(3), 332–341. https://doi.org/10.1177/019251387008003006

  43. Goldberg, N. G., & Meyer, I. H. (2013). Sexual orientation disparities in history of intimate partner violence: Results from the California Health Interview Survey. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(5), 1109–1118. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260512459384

  44. Gondolf, E. W. (2012). Physical tactics of female partners against male batterer program participants. Violence Against Women, 18(9), 1027–1044.

  45. Gondolf, E. W. (2012). Physical tactics of female partners against male batterer program participants. Violence Against Women, 18(9), 1027–1044. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801212460755

  46. Hamberger, L. K., & Guse, C. E. (2002). Men’s and women’s use of intimate partner violence in clinical samples. Violence Against Women, 8(11), 1301–1331.

  47. Hester, M. (2012). Portrayal of women as intimate partner domestic violence perpetrators. Violence Against Women, 18(9), 1067–1082. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801212461428

  48. Hester, M. (2009). Who does what to whom? Gender and domestic violence perpetrators. University of Bristol, Northern Rock Foundation.

  49. Hester, M., Donovan, C., & Fahmy, E. (2010). Feminist epistemology and the politics of method: Surveying same sex domestic violence. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 13(3), 251–263. https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2010.482260

  50. Hester, M., & Westmarland, D. N. (2006). Domestic violence perpetrators. Criminal Justice Matters, 66(1), 34–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/09627250608553400

  51. Hirschel, D., & Buzawa, E. (2002). Understanding the context of dual arrest with directions for future research. Violence Against Women, 8(12), 1449–1473.

  52. Holmes, C. (2009). Destabilizing homonormativity and the public/private dichotomy in North American lesbian domestic violence discourses. Gender, Place & Culture, 16(1), 77–95. https://doi.org/10.1080/09663690802574837

  53. Houry, D., Rhodes, K. V., Kemball, R. S., Click, L., Cerulli, C., McNutt, L. A., & Kaslow, N. J. (2008). Differences in female and male victims and perpetrators of partner violence with respect to WEB scores. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23(8), 1041–1055.

  54. Istar, A. S. (1996). Couple assessment: Identifying and intervening in domestic violence in lesbian relationships. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 4(1), 93–106. https://doi.org/10.1300/J041v04n01_10

  55. Jurik, N. C., & Winn, R. (1990). Gender and homicide: A comparison of men and women who kill. Violence and Victims, 5(4), 227–242. https://doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.5.4.227

  56. Kimmel, M. S. (2002). “Gender symmetry” in domestic violence a substantive and methodological research review. Violence Against Women, 8(11), 1332–1363.

  57. Knauer, N. J. (1999). Same-sex domestic violence: Claiming a domestic sphere while risking negative stereotypes. Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, 8(2), 325–350.

  58. Kunz, J., & Bahr, S. J. (1996). A profile of parental homicide against children. Journal of Family Violence, 11(4), 347–362. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02333422

  59. Larance, L. Y. (2006). Serving women who use force in their intimate heterosexual relationships: An extended view. Violence Against Women, 12(7), 622–640.

  60. Larance, L. Y., & Dasgupta, S. D. (2012). Guest editors’ introduction. Violence Against Women, 18(9), 1004–1007.

  61. Larance, L. Y., Goodmark, L., Miller, S. L., & Dasgupta, S. D. (2018). Understanding and addressing women’s use of force in intimate relationships: A retrospective. Violence Against Women. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801218815776

  62. Larance, L. Y., & Miller, S. L. (2015). Finding the middle ground: Reimagining responses to women’s use of force. University of Miami Race & Social Justice Law Review, 5, 437–443.

  63. Longobardi, C., & Badenes-Ribera, L. (2017). Intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships and the role of sexual minority stressors: A systematic review of the past 10 years. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(8), 2039–2049. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0734-4

  64. McCarry, M., Hester, M., & Donovan, C. (2008). Researching same sex domestic violence: Constructing a survey methodology. Sociological Research Online, 13(1), 174–187. https://doi.org/10.5153/sro.1650

  65. McCloskey, K. A. (2007). Are half of all IPV perpetrators women? Putting context back into the intimate partner violence research field. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 15(3-4), 7–25.

  66. McMahon, M., & Pence, E. (2003). Making social change reflections on individual and institutional advocacy with women arrested for domestic violence. Violence Against Women, 9(1), 47–74.

  67. Melton, H. C., & Belknap, J. (2003). He hits, she hits: Assessing gender differences and similarities in officially reported intimate partner violence. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30(3), 328–348.

  68. Mikel Brown, L., Chesney-Lind, M., & Stein, N. (2007). Patriarchy matters: Toward a gendered theory of teen violence and victimization. Violence Against Women, 13(12), 1249–1273.

  69. Miller, S. L. (1989). Unintended side effects of pro-arrest policies and their race and class implications for battered women: A cautionary note. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 3(3), 299–317.

  70. Miller, S. L. (2001). The paradox of women arrested for domestic violence: Criminal justice professionals and service providers respond. Violence Against Women, 7(12), 1339–1376.

  71. Miller, S. L. (2005). Victims as offenders: The paradox of women’s violence in relationships. Rutgers University Press.

  72. Miller, S. L., & Meloy, M. L. (2006). Women’s use of force voices of women arrested for domestic violence. Violence Against Women, 12(1), 89–115.

  73. Muftić, L. R., & Baumann, M. L. (2012). Female versus male perpetrated femicide: An exploratory analysis of whether offender gender matters. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27(14), 2824–2844. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260512438282

  74. Muftić, L. R., Bouffard, L. A., & Bouffard, J. A. (2007). An exploratory analysis of victim precipitation among men and women arrested for intimate partner violence. Feminist Criminology, 2(4), 327–346. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557085107306429

  75. Muftić, L. R., Bouffard, J. A., & Bouffard, L. A. (2007). An exploratory study of women arrested for intimate partner violence—Violent women or violent resistance? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(6), 753–774. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260507300756

  76. Muftić, L. R., Finn, M. A., & Marsh, E. A. (2015). The victim-offender overlap, intimate partner violence, and sex: Assessing differences among victims, offenders, and victim-offenders. Crime & Delinquency, 61(7), 899–926. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128712453677

  77. O’Leary, K. D. (2000). Are women really more aggressive than men in intimate relationships? Comment on Archer 282. Psychological Bulletin, 126(5), 685–689.

  78. Osthoff, S. (2002). But, Gertrude, I beg to differ, a hit is not a hit is not a hit when battered women are arrested for assaulting their partners. Violence Against Women, 8(12), 1521–1544.

  79. Osthoff, S., Dasgupta, S. D., & Bible, A. (2002). Guest editors’ introduction. Violence Against Women, 8(12), 1420–1423.

  80. Perilla, J. L., Frndak, K., Lillard, D., & East, C. (2003). A working analysis of women’s use of violence in the context of learning, opportunity, and choice. Violence Against Women, 9(1), 10–46.

  81. Plumm, K. M., & Terrance, C. A. (2009). Battered women who kill: The impact of expert testimony and empathy induction in the courtroom. Violence Against Women, 15(2), 186–205. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801208329145

  82. Pollock, J. M., & Davis, S. M. (2005). The continuing myth of the violent female offender. Criminal Justice Review, 30(1), 5–29.

  83. Queensland Domestic and Family Homicide Statistical Overview: April 2018. (2018). Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board. https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/489167/ccq-dfv-qld-domestic-and-family-homicide-stat-overview.pdf

  84. Raushce, C.E. (1990). Early models for contemporary thought on domestic violence and women who kill their mates: Women & Criminal Justice, 1(2), 31–53. https://doi.org/10.1300/J012v01n02_03

  85. Reed, E., Raj, A., Miller, E., & Silverman, J. G. (2010). Losing the “gender” in gender-based violence: The missteps of research on dating and intimate partner violence: Violence Against Women. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801209361127

  86. Renzetti C. M. (1989). Building a second closet: Third party responses to victims of lesbian partner abuse. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 38, 157–163.

  87. Renzetti, C.M. (2006). Commentary on Swan and Snow’s “The development of a theory of women’s use of violence in intimate relationships.” Violence Against Women, 12(11), 1046–1049.Renzetti, C. M. (2002). Editor’s Note. Violence Against Women, 8(12), 1419–1419.

  88. Riggs, D. W., Taylor, N., Fraser, H., Donovan, C., & Signal, T. (2018). The link between domestic violence and abuse and animal cruelty in the intimate relationships of people of diverse genders and/or sexualities: A binational study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0886260518771681. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260518771681

  89. Roy, D. (2012). South Asian battered women’s use of force against intimate male partners a practice note. Violence Against Women, 18(9), 1108–1118.

  90. Seamans, C. L., Rubin, L. J., & Stabb, S. D. (2007). Women domestic violence offenders: Lessons of violence and survival. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 8(2), 47–68.

  91. Saunders, D. G. (2002). Are physical assaults by wives and girlfriends a major social problem?: A review of the literature. Violence Against Women, 8(12), 1424–1448. https://doi.org/10.1177/107780102237964

  92. Schwartz, M. D. (1987). Gender and injury in spousal assault. Sociological Focus, 20(1), 61–75.

  93. Simkins, S., & Katz, S. (2002). Criminalizing abused girls. Violence Against Women, 8(12), 1474–1499.

  94. Stuart, G. L., Moore, T. M., Hellmuth, J. C., Ramsey, S. E., & Kahler, C. W. (2006). Reasons for intimate partner violence perpetration among arrested women. Violence Against Women, 12(7), 609–621.

  95. Sullivan, T. P., Meese, K. J., Swan, S. C., Mazure, C. M., & Snow, D. L. (2005). Precursors and correlates of women’s violence: child abuse traumatization, victimization of women, avoidance coping, and psychological symptoms. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29(3), 290–301.

  96. Swan, S. C., Gambone, L. J., Caldwell, J. E., Sullivan, T. P., & Snow, D. L. (2008). A review of research on women’s use of violence with male intimate partners. Violence and Victims, 23(3), 301–314.

  97. Swan, S. C., Gambone, L. J., Fields, A. M., Sullivan, T. P., & Snow, D. L. (2005). Women who use violence in intimate relationships: the role of anger, victimization, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress and depression. Violence and Victims, 20(3), 267–285.

  98. Swan, S. C., Gambone, L. J., Van Horn, M. L., Snow, D. L., & Sullivan, T. P. (2012). Factor structures for aggression and victimization among women who used aggression against male partners. Violence Against Women, 18(9): 1045-1066.

  99. Swan, S. C., Schramm, A. T., Rivera, E. A., Warren, P., White, C. N., & Satcher, L. (2018). A feminist analysis of women’s aggression in intimate relationships. In C. B. Travis, J. W. White, A. Rutherford, W. S. Williams, S. L. Cook, & K. F. Wyche (Eds.), APA handbook of the psychology of women: Perspectives on women’s private and public lives (Vol. 2). (pp. 253–269). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000060-014

  100. Swan, S. C., & Snow, D. L. (2002). A typology of women’s use of violence in intimate relationships. Violence Against Women, 8(3), 286–319.

  101. Swan, S. C., & Snow, D. L. (2003). Behavioral and psychological differences among abused women who use violence in intimate relationships. Violence Against Women, 9(1), 75–109.

  102. Swan, S. C., & Snow, D. L. (2006). The development of a theory of women’s use of violence in intimate relationships. Violence Against Women, 12(11), 1026–1045.

  103. Swan, S. C., & Sullivan, T. P. (2008). The resource utilization of women who use violence in intimate relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(6), 940–958.

  104. Tigert, L. M. (2001). The power of shame: Lesbian battering as a manifestation of homophobia. Women & Therapy, 23(3), 73–85. https://doi.org/10.1300/J015v23n03_06

  105. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Prevalence and consequences of male-to female and female-to male partner violence as measured by the national violence against women survey. Violence Against Women, 6(2), 118–41.

  106. Voce, I., & Bricknell, S. (2020). Female perpetrated intimate partner homicide: Indigenous and non-Indigenous offenders. Australian Institute of Criminology. https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-2355982261

  107. West, C. M. (2002). Lesbian intimate partner violence. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 6(1), 121–127. https://doi.org/10.1300/J155v06n01_11

  108. White, J. W., Smith, P. H., Koss, M. P., & Figueredo, A. J. (2000). Intimate partner aggression—what have we learned? Comment on Archer (2000). Psychological Bulletin, 126(5), 690–696. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.126.5.690

  109. White, J. W., & Kowalski, R. M. (1994). Deconstructing the myth of the nonaggressive woman. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18(4), 487.

  110. Willison, J. S. (2016). Characteristics of violent crime committed by female prisoners. Violence and Victims; New York, 31(3), 552–570. http://dx.doi.org.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-14-0002

  111. Worcester, N. (2002). Women’s use of force complexities and challenges of taking the issue seriously. Violence Against Women, 8(11), 1390–1415.


List updated April 2020 by Dr. Molly Dragiewicz www.mollydragiewicz.com