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Journal: Journal of interpersonal violence


Previous research has shown that victims display characteristic body language, specifically in their walking style (Grayson & Stein, 1981). Individuals scoring higher on the interpersonal/affective aspects of psychopathy (Factor 1) are more accurate at judging victim vulnerability simply from viewing targets walking (Wheeler, Book, & Costello, 2009). The present study examines the relation between psychopathy and accuracy in assessing victim vulnerability in a sample of inmates from a maximum security penitentiary in Ontario, Canada. Forty-seven inmates viewed short video clips of targets walking and judged how vulnerable each target was to victimization. Higher Factor 1 psychopathy scores (as measured by the PCL-R; Hare 2003) were positively related to accuracy in judging victim vulnerability. Contrary to research with noninstitutional participants (Wheeler et al., 2009), inmates higher on Factor 1 of psychopathy were more likely to rationalize their vulnerability judgments by mentioning the victim’s gait. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Concepts: Choice, Walking, Psychopathy, Victim, Judgment, Concepts in aesthetics, Video clip, Hare Psychopathy Checklist


Rape myth attitudes (RMAs) can excuse men for rape, placing blame on female victims. This study identified and classified RMAs in rural western Kenya through 31 focus group discussions with youths and adults. We found that about half of the participants were likely to blame victims unconditionally. Stereotypes about rape victims and perpetrators were rife. Five of seven standardly used RMA categories emerged spontaneously in focus groups, along with a new category: “she owed him.” Based on the data, we developed a “blame index” to assess the likelihood of community victim blaming in Kenya. To reduce victim blaming and bring about more prosecutions for rape, community education, teacher training, and reforms of rape laws are highly recommended.

Concepts: Focus group, Qualitative research, Social psychology, Bullying, Victimisation, Scapegoating, Blame, Demonization


Using a sample of 2,838 students from a Southwestern university in the United States, the authors examine the effect of respondent’s gender, the adult’s gender, the age gap between the adult and teen, and the adult’s authority, on students' perceptions of vignettes describing adult-teen sexual relationships. Specifically, the authors investigate four dependent variables related to perceptions of the crime: the adult offender’s emotional motivation, whether the adult is a sexual predator, whether the adult should have limited interactions with children, and whether the adult should be included on a sex offender registry. ANOVA analysis revealed that a large age gap between the adult and teen, the presence of authority in the relationship, and respondent’s gender were significant predictors of perceptions of the offender as a predator and sex offender. The offender’s gender significantly predicted respondents' perceived motivations but had no effect on opinions regarding sex offender registration. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for perceptions of statutory rape.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Sex offender, Human sexual behavior, Statutory rape, Rape, Age of consent, Sex offender registration, Megan's Law


The risk of harm/injury in homes where intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs is not limited to humans; animals reside in as many as 80% of these homes and may be at substantial risk of suffering severe or fatal injury. Gaining a better understanding of IPV-pet abuse overlap is imperative in more accurately identifying the risks of harm for all individuals and animals residing in these homes. The objectives of this study were to utilize law enforcement officers' observations and IPV victim reports from the scene of the incident to (a) determine the prevalence of pet abuse perpetration among suspects involved in IPV incidents, (b) compare characteristics of IPV incidents and the home environments in which they occur when the suspect has a history of pet abuse with incidents involving suspects with no reported history of pet abuse, and © compare IPV incident outcomes involving suspects with a history of pet abuse with those involving suspects with no reported history of pet abuse. IPV victims residing in homes with a suspect who has a history of pet abuse often describe “extremely high-risk” environments. With nearly 80% reporting concern that they will eventually be killed by the suspect, victims in these environments should be considered at significant risk of suffering serious injury or death. In addition, IPV victims involved in incidents with a suspect that has a history of pet abuse were significantly more likely to have had at least one prior unreported IPV incident with the suspect (80%) and to have ever been strangled (76%) or forced to have sex with the suspect (26%). Effective prevention/detection/intervention strategies are likely to require multidisciplinary collaboration and safety plans that address the susbstantial risk of harm/injury for all adults, children, and animals residing in the home.

Concepts: Domestic violence, Report, Criminal law, Violence, Child abuse, Suffering, Abuse, Psychological abuse


Women’s greatest risk of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may come from an intimate partner, but few studies have analyzed context-specific risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence (IPV) in the DRC. This study analyzed data from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in Congo to assess risk and protective factors for IPV and the role of women’s status, a factor implicated in prior IPV research. Using a sample of 1,821 married or cohabiting women between the ages of 15 and 49, four logistic regression models tested relationships between physical, sexual, emotional, or any violence and independent variables of interest. Results indicated that 68.2% of respondents had experienced at least one of the three types of IPV. An attitude of acceptance toward spousal violence was associated with increased risk for physical and emotional IPV. Women who were the only wife of their husband were half as likely to experience IPV compared with women whose husbands had other wives or women who did not know their husbands' marital status. Partner’s use of alcohol was associated with nearly doubled risk for both physical and sexual IPV. The study’s results indicate that IPV occurs frequently and is justified as acceptable by many women in the DRC. Findings suggest that awareness-raising campaigns may be a helpful intervention and that partner characteristics should be considered when assessing women’s risk for IPV.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Marriage, Domestic violence, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic, Kinshasa, Husband, Wife


The field of hate crime research addresses the presence, sources, and impact of particular types of expressions of prejudice, often perceived as particularly damaging and hurtful forms of interpersonal abuse and violence. There is the reflexive question of the possibilities of researchers themselves ever being able to adopt a truly “unprejudiced” approach to the presence of such damaging prejudices. Can this goal be realized without a researcher necessarily losing an experientially grounded understanding of what these meanings, values and purposes have come to mean, and how they are themselves interpretively reconstituted anew, including within the lived experience of victims, witnesses, police, prosecutors, judges, and victim support workers? A possible philosophically informed approach to the dilemmas posed by this topic is offered by Husserl’s phenomenology. This study critically explores the possibilities, reflective stages, and theoretical limitations of a sympathetically reconstructed Husserlian approach to hate crime. It argues that despite its manifest tensions, gaps, ambiguities, and internal contradictions, aspects of the Husserlian philosophical approach directed toward the different levels of experienced hate crime still retain the potential to both challenge and advance our understanding of this topic.

Concepts: Psychology, Philosophy, Metaphysics, Abuse, Phenomenology, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl


Humans internalize environmental cues of mortality risk at an early age, which influences subsequent risk perceptions and behavior. In this respect, an individual’s current risk assessment may be viewed as an adaptive response to the dangers present within his or her early local environment. Here we examine the relationship between several variables indicating threat within an individual’s early environment (e.g., prevalence of violent and property crimes, registered sex offenders) and their perception of crime risk within both the childhood and current adult environments. We recruited a group of 657 students who hail from diverse geographic backgrounds to provide the zip code location of their childhood residence along with subjective ratings of danger of that and their current location, which enabled us to compare their ratings of risk/danger with the federally reported crime statistics of each setting. Our results indicate that the early prevalence of registered sex offenders indeed influences an individual’s risk perception in adulthood, and that these factors have a differential effect on males and females. Our findings provide support for the theory that early environmental factors signaling danger affect how individuals assess risk within their adult environment.

Concepts: Male, Female, Evaluation, Environment, Risk, Natural environment, Crime, Risk assessment


Research has found that victimized teachers are more likely to suffer from psychological distress, experience impaired personal relationships, and report higher levels of fear, consequently yielding detrimental impacts on their job performance and relationships with students. However, limited empirical research has been conducted to understand the prevalence and predictors of violence against teachers. Using a nationally representative sample of 996 Korean teachers, the present study measured various types of victimization and examined predictors of teachers' victimization, focusing on teachers' socio-demographic characteristics, teachers' student-oriented approach/classroom atmosphere, and school characteristics. The results suggest that teacher victimization is widespread in South Korea and show significant effects of individual socio-demographic factors (gender and being a homeroom teacher), classroom atmosphere, and school type on teachers' victimization. Policy implications are discussed in the conclusion.

Concepts: Education, School, South Korea, Korea, Teacher, Korean language, Korean War, Korean Peninsula


The stigma associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major challenge facing those in abusive and violent intimate relationships. This study explored the initial development and validation of the Intimate Partner Violence Stigma Scale, designed to measure stigma related to IPV. An exploratory factor analysis revealed four subscales including internalized stigma, anticipated stigma, perpetrator stigma, and isolation. The scale demonstrates evidence for clinical and research purposes to assess experiences of stigma related to IPV among survivors.


While extensive research has studied sexual assault reporting behaviors and described negative experiences with the criminal justice system among victim-survivors, fewer studies have explored police officer attitudes, knowledge, and thought processes that may affect victims' perceptions of negative interactions and unsatisfactory outcomes within reported sexual assault cases. This study explores police officer understanding of the definition of sexual assault and characteristics that influence their perceptions and response. Ten police officers were interviewed within one police department in a midsized city in the Great Lakes region. The study uses a modified grounded theory approach. Findings suggest that officers employ distinct schema of reported sexual assaults. Case characteristics, perceived credibility of the victim, and types of evidence formed categorizations of false reports, ambiguous cases, and legitimate sexual assaults. Police officers describe the ways in which perceptions of the case may or may not influence the response and point to areas for improvement within police procedure. The study findings provide insight into recommendations for improved police interviewing and response to reported sexual assaults.

Concepts: Crime, Rape, Criminal justice, Police, Sexual assault, Great Lakes, Constable, Police officer