What is it about?

Adverse childhood experiences refer to physical, sexual, and verbal abuse in childhood, and also include being exposed to parents' substance misuse, mental illness, intimate partner violence (IPV) and criminal behavior, or parents being separated. Men who commit intimate partner violence in adulthood often report witnessing their parents being violent to each other or being abused themselves as a child. Treatment for IPV offenders has often been based on what are thought to be unique factors for violence in intimate relationships. It has been suggested that adverse childhood experiences disrupt intimate relationships, and that is why they are common among men who commit IPV. In this study, we found that the whole range of adverse childhood experiences were prevalent among men who commit IPV, including parental separation, substance use, and mental illness. We compared these men with another group of men, who had committed other violent offenses, and with a group of men who committed only non-violent offenses. All these men had received a psychiatric assessment for the courts. The IPV offenders had the highest rate of adverse childhood experiences overall, but they were not significantly different from men who committed other violent offenses.

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Why is it important?

This work is important because treatment for offenders needs to address potential causes of crime. We found no clear indication that men who committed IPV had more adverse childhood experiences than other violent offenders. Therefore, we did not find evidence to support the notion that adverse childhood experiences disrupt intimate relationships specifically.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Criminal Propensity Among Intimate Partner Violence Offenders, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, October 2016, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0886260516674943.
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