A friend online showed a picture that said "Half of all domestic violence is perpetrated by women" and referenced a paper called Thirty Years of Denying the Evidence on Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence: Implications for Prevention and Treatment.

He also referenced the following as evidence:

Is it true that half of physical domestic abuse is perpetrated by women?

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    Be careful, particularly with the Guardian article, not to read "the victim was male" as implying "the perpetrator was female".
    – Oddthinking
    May 16, 2015 at 3:12
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    Very similar, if not duplicate question: skeptics.stackexchange.com/q/4796/104
    – Golden Cuy
    May 16, 2015 at 3:23
  • I hadn't seen that- I'll accept that as a dupe. Thanks. May 18, 2015 at 7:16

1 Answer 1


This article performed by the University of Bristol; http://www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/people/marianne-hester/pub/9852445 http://www.nr-foundation.org.uk/downloads/Who-Does-What-to-Whom.pdf seems to disagree.

In it's conclusion it includes this statement:

A vastly greater number of incidents were attributed to men, as either sole or dual perpetrators.

However I've found multiple uses of the term "Gender Symmetry" which means to say that actually there are an even number of female and male perpetrators. http://vaw.sagepub.com/content/8/11/1332.short http://vaw.sagepub.com/content/12/11/1003.short

It seems to me that perhaps there is a bit of ambiguousness. There seems to be multiple studies supporting gender symmetry in abuse but then multiple studies that show the majority of abusers to be male.

  • So the answer is... ? May 15, 2015 at 15:12
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    @iamnotmaynard The answer is that there isn't enough evidence to provide a conclusive answer. Or rather there isn't enough confirmation between studies to shape a conclusive answer. May 15, 2015 at 15:15
  • @iamnotmaynard Sometimes the answer "we don't know" is the best and most accurate answer. May 15, 2015 at 16:16
  • This is definitely a great answer. However, it'be awsome if it showed what peer review criticism of both studies exists, and what (possibly) faulty assumptions were made in each (or what differed between data sets such as demographics)
    – user5341
    May 15, 2015 at 17:29
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    Also, doesn't the study you site raise some questions given it was commissioned by Violence Against Women Research Group? Rejecting it on that basis would be a fallacy, but I'm pretty sure a study on how good tobacco is done by Philip Morris wouldn't be nearly as easily accepted as evidence without very thorough vetting
    – user5341
    May 15, 2015 at 17:32

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