Exploration of self-reported motivation for females’ use of intimate partner violence in Scotland
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Background: The perpetration of intimate partner violence by women remains a controversial issue with historical focus on males as perpetrators and females as victims. The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004) in the United Kingdom emphasised the importance of arresting domestic violence perpetrators regardless of gender and this has resulted in significant arrests of female perpetrators of IPV. This has been paralleled by a growing interest in understanding these offenders. Central to this, is gaining an understanding of the aetiology of this population of offenders and their motivations for perpetrating IPV. Investigating this empirically may inform understanding of females’ pathways into perpetrating IPV and may also inform treatment pathways and risk management of these offenders. Design/Methodology: Aims are addressed separately in two journal articles. In journal article 1, systematic searches of bibliographic databases, in addition to hand searches of various articles was conducted to identify any association between personality psychopathology and the perpetration of IPV in females. Journal article 2 describes an empirical investigation of motivation in 8 female IPV perpetrators through semi-structured interviews. The data was transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: The results of the systematic review revealed an association with personality psychopathology and female perpetration of IPV, in particular cluster B traits. In relation to motivations the results revealed the value of considering offence supportive cognitions which underpin females’ motives for IPV, in addition to the context of women’s lives and the dynamic of the relationship. Conclusions: The relevance of personality psychopathology identified in journal article 1 is discussed in relation to assessment and intervention, in addition to limitations of the synthesis and clinical and empirical utility. The offence supportive cognitions identified in journal article 2 are discussed in relation to other offending behaviour groups, in addition to their clinical implications in the development of assessment and management of this population and of the development of effective interventions.