Is it coercive controlling violence? A cross-sectional domestic violence and abuse survey of men attending general practice in England

Marianne Hester, Cassandra Jones, Emma Williamson, Eldin Fahmy, Gene Feder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: Surveys that examine prevalence of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) without consideration of impact, severity or context have limitations. The paper uses results from the first survey of a European clinical male population, the largest such study internationally, that measured a range of emotional, physical and sexual behaviours that could be construed as DVA, including experience and perpetration, and a range of impacts. The paper asks to what extent the behaviour reported by the men can be characterised as coercive controlling violence.

Method: A survey was administered to male patients in sixteen general practices (family medicine clinics) in England. Of 1,368 respondents who completed four screening questions regarding behaviour consistent with DVA, 707 (52%) completed detailed questions on lifetime experience of possibly harmful emotional, physical and sexual behaviours, perpetration, and impacts, and if they had ever been in a domestically violent or abusive relationship. One-way ANOVA was used to establish optimal thresholds across abuse and impact scales in order to ascertain severity of men's reported experiences.

Results: More than half (52.5%; 95% CI 48.7% to 55.9%) the men reported experiencing potentially harmful physical, emotional or sexual behaviour from a partner, however only 4.4% of the men experienced coercive controlling violence and of those nearly half also reported perpetration against their partner.

Conclusions: While a large minority of men presenting to general practice experience or perpetrate DVA behaviour in relationships, only a small minority experience coercive controlling violence and only one in forty have experienced such violence as victims only.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-427
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

Structured keywords

  • PolicyBristol
  • Gender Research Group


  • domestic violence and abuse;
  • coercive controlling violence
  • male victims and perpetrators
  • male patients
  • survey


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