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Victims as Offenders The Paradox of Women's Violence in Relationships by Susan L. Miller

Victims as Offenders The Paradox of Women's Violence in Relationships


Victims as Offenders The Paradox of Women's Violence in Relationships by Susan L. Miller

Arrests of women for assault increased more than 40 per cent over the past decade, while male arrests for this offense have fallen by about one per cent. Some studies report that for the first time ever the rate of reported intimate partner abuse among men and women is nearly equal. Susan L. Miller's timely book explores the important questions raised by these startling statistics. Are women finally closing the gender gap on violence? Or does this phenomenon reflect a backlash shaped by men who batter? How do abusive men use the criminal justice system to increase control over their wives? Do police, courts, and treatment providers support aggressive arrest policies for women? Are these women victims or offenders ? In answering these questions, Miller draws on extensive data from a study of police behavior in the field, interviews with criminal justice professionals and social service providers, and participant observation of female offender programs. She offers a critical analysis of the theoretical assumptions framing the study of violence, and provides insight into the often contradictory implications of the mandatory and pro-arrest policies enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. Miller argues that these enforcement strategies, designed to protect women, have often actually victimized women in different ways. Without sensationalizing, Miller unveils a reality that looks very different from what current statistics on domestic violence imply. This compelling account is essential reading for scholars and professionals working in the fields of criminal justice, sociology, women's studies, and social work.


Finally, a book that moves us forward in the 'mutuality debate'. Miller's research demonstrates the seeming inability-or unwillingness-of the criminal legal system to recognize that gender (as well as race, class, and sexual orientation) matters in intimate partner violence, but even more importantly, she offers compelling answers to the question, 'What can we do about it?' -Claire M. Renzetti, Ph.D., editor of Violence against Women: An International, Interdisciplinary Journal

About the Author

Susan L. Miller is a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware.

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Book Info

Publication date

31st October 2005


Susan L. Miller

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Rutgers University Press


184 pages




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