Domestic Violence: A Global View

By Randal W. Summers; Allan M. Hoffman | Go to book overview

4
GERMANY

Annette Jolin and Wiebke Steffen

Domestic violence refers to violence that men use against women to whom they are married or with whom they live in marriage-like relationships.1 It occurs most often in the privacy of the victim's home and takes many forms. Subde versions involve ignoring special needs; other forms entail humiliation, insult, intimidation, and threat, sometimes culminating in physical and sexual attacks that may lead to death.

At the present time there is little or no consensus about the definition of domestic violence. In part this is because definitions of violence depend on social valuations and these, in turn, depend on changing sociocultural conditions. But it is also due to variations in the points of view and interests of those who define the concept. “Defining the concept depends on who defines it, their scientific orientation, and their purpose. Different professional groups vary widely in how they define violence. Each is likely to adopt a definition that best fits its own overall mission and social function” (Schweikert, 2000, p. 39). Thus, definitions range from the very broad (“If a woman experiences it as violence then it is violence”; Schweikert, 2000, p. 69) to the very narrow (the batterer's violent conduct is recognized as such only if it violates the provisions of the criminal code).

One advantage of the different definitions of domestic violence is that it enables individual professions to address the problem in ways that best match their professional competencies. Psychologists, for example, are likely to stress the role of psychological abuse in their definition of domestic violence because they are trained to use psychological methods in the treatment of such problems. Discipline-based differences in definition remain

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Domestic Violence: A Global View
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Contents viii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1: Australia 1
  • 2: Canada 13
  • 3: England and Wales 25
  • 4: Germany 39
  • 5: Italy 55
  • 6: Jamaica 69
  • 7: Japan 83
  • 8: Russia 97
  • 9: Slovenia 111
  • 10: South Africa 125
  • 11: Spain 143
  • 12: Thailand 155
  • 13: United States 169
  • Index 185
  • About the Editors and Contributors 195
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