Situational Determinants in Intimate Violence

Deanna L. Wilkinson, Temple University
Susan Hamerschlag, Temple University

The purpose of this paper is to piece together the literature on specific situational variables, discuss the available data on violent events among intimates, and identify the gaps in our current knowledge. We will begin our discussion by focusing on how the nature of the relationship between the actors shapes violent events. Next, we will describe the circumstances or sparks of violent events, the interactional exchange between intimates including decision-making processes, the role of physical and social space, the role of third parties, weapon type and use, alcohol and drug use, the role of law enforcement, the event outcomes, and the aftermaths of violent events. With existing data on violent events among intimates we can speculate on commonalities and differences between those events and other violent events, however the appropriate event level data is currently not available to adequately explore these questions. We present a broad and preliminary search of the literature on intimate violence with an event- or situational perspective lens. Our review raises more questions than it answers and leads us to conclude our discussion by making recommendations for future research.

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Updated 05/20/2006