Domestic Violence in Welfare States: A Comparative Analysis of Welfare State Typologies Within a Power Resources Framework

Tracey Peter, University of Manitoba

The prevalence and impact of domestic violence has been actively addressed in western democracies, especially since the early 1990s. Although almost all western countries have responded to this form of violence, little work has studied the issue comparatively on a state or societal level. Comparing the variations of state responses to domestic violence allows for a better understanding of how governments, and their respective agencies such as the police and judiciary, differ in terms of how social provisions are provided. This paper addresses this issue through a content analysis of related domestic violence legislation in the United States and Sweden. Specifically, this paper will argue that differences in how the United States and Sweden respond to domestic violence is best understood when variations of welfare state regimes are examined (needs-based versus universal-based) through a Power Resources perspective based on de-commodification, full employment, and full citizenship that incorporate a gendered experience. Finally, based on the theoretical framework of the current paper, proposed hypotheses are discussed for analysis of the International Violence Against Women Survey which should be released sometime next year.

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Updated 05/20/2006