A new definition of partner violence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this article is to propose a new theoretical definition of partner violence (PV). This definition emphasizes "awareness that the [defined] behavior may hurt and that it is used without the other partner's explicit (informed and free-willed) consent." The definition is discussed at the backdrop of common perceptions and definitions of PV that emphasize "intention of causing physical pain or injury" and the Conflict Tactic Scales (CTS) that has been a widespread PV measurement among researchers and practitioners for the last 40 years. The main argument of the article is that there is a gap between the common perceptions of PV and its measurement. The proposed new definition bridges this gap. The new definition is presented and examined, and serves as an opportunity to critically revisit core issues in the study of PV. Its implications for theory, research and practice in PV prevention and intervention, stemming from the shift from intention to knowing, are also discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
StatePublished - 1 May 2016


  • Conflict Tactic Scales (CTS);gender differences in partner violence
  • Intention of causing physical pain or injury
  • Motivations for physical partner violence use
  • Physical partner violence definition

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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