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The hidden half of domestic violence

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Gloves off in battle of sexes

Christine Middap

Brisbane Courier Mail

Mon 13/11/00

 

WOMEN are becoming more violent towards their partners - and have overtaken men as aggressors in relationships.

A study based on an analysis of 34,000 men and women by a British academic has indicated that women are more violent than men.

The report does not play down domestic violence by men, which is more likely to result in injury to women, but says women are more likely to lash out in a domestic confrontation, using tactics such as pushing, slapping or throwing things.

Researcher John Archer, professor of psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, said 40 percent of the victims in the cases he studied were men.

He has been analysing domestic violence studies and victims' reports from the UK and the US since 1972.

"In the past it would not even have been considered that women are violent," Professor Archer said.

"My view is that you must base policy on the whole evidence," he told Britain's Independent on Sunday newspaper.

The newspaper said his views would be endorsed in a paper soon to be published by Dr Malcolm George, a lecturer in neuroscience at London University, who would argue that men had been abused by their wives since Elizabethan times.

"It's a complex argument; but we do get more women aggressing against male partners than men against female partners," Dr George said. "The view is that women are acting in self-defence, but that is not true - 50 percent of those who initiate aggression are women".

Professor Archer said Westernised women were more likely to be violent because their greater economic freedom diminished the fear of ending a relationship.

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