Walker, Julia and Gavin, Helen (2011) Interpretations of domestic violence: defining intimate partner abuse. In: The 12th Conference of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology. Crime, Criminalistics & Criminal Psychology: New Directions in Investigative Behavioural Science, 31st March-2nd April 2011, Amsterdam.

Domestic Violence (DV) is a global phenomenon affecting entire societies directly and indirectly; yet, after decades of research no single definition describes this phenomenon satisfactorily. Current official and unofficial definitions of DV have a tendency to intersect with other types of violence, obscuring understanding and creating ambiguity. This can impact on the reliability and validity of research and create shortfalls in policies and practices aimed at tackling DV. Consequently, the aim of this paper is to examine characteristics of DV, by deconstructing contemporary definitions, in order to establish a framework that can be adopted to assist in the development of a universal definition that is unambiguous and applicable comparatively across gender, sexuality, ethnicity, culture, religion and socioeconomic status. In order to accomplish this, the multitude of terminologies used synonymously with DV will be discussed to determine the most applicable term together with implications for policy, practice and future research

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