Activists claim that assaults on women by their intimate partners tend to go unreported, and that, when they are reported, offenders are treated leniently while victims are mistreated. I review a research program consisting of seven studies that examines whether assaults involving intimate partners have different consequences than other assaults, and whether these consequences depend on the gender of offenders and victims. The consequences examined include: whether the assault was reported to the police; the reasons the victim gave for reporting or not reporting; whether the victim signed a complaint; whether the offender was punished; and whether the victim was satisfied with the way the case was handled. The evidence does not support the idea that assaults by male partners are particularly likely to be underreported or treated leniently. Rather, the results suggest that offenders who assault women are more likely to suffer legal consequences than those who assault men, whether their victim is their partner or someone else.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science