An exploration of women’s perceptions of perpetrating domestic violence against their partners
: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

  • Samantha Feirn

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Background: Instances of female perpetrated domestic violence are rising yet research in this domain is limited and there continues to be a focus on exploring male perpetrated acts of domestic violence (Steinmetz, 1977; Straus & Gelles, 1986). There is evidence of a population of women who are the dominant aggressors of domestic violence yet few studies explore the experiences of this group (Mills, 2003). This study aims to qualitatively explore female perpetrators accounts of their domestic violence toward men and their perceptions of that, including their understanding as to how those acts arose. This could highlight the treatment and supportive needs of this particular group and could inform the way in which counsellors work with female perpetrators through increasing our understanding of the possible factors that are linked with and contribute to their aggression.
Method: Interviews were conducted with eight women who self identified as the primary aggressor of domestic violence in their (heterosexual) relationships. Their accounts were audio recorded and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).
Findings: Three themes emerged from this including: violence in the wake of multiple triggers, the all encompassing emotional experience, and violence as the unrecognisable intruder.
Date of Award2 Sept 2016
Original languageEnglish

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