The Psychology of Trauma

Domestic Violence

What is the difference between domestic violence and wife battering?

Domestic violence refers to any kind of violence between intimate (or romantic) partners. Generally this refers to a husband and wife, but it can also apply to unmarried couples that do or do not live together. Domestic violence can also occur between homosexual couples, either gay men or lesbians. The severity of violence can range from mild aggression, such as a slap or a shove, to severe aggression (punching, kicking), to extreme aggression (long assaults, burning, or breaking bones), and even to murder.

Domestic violence is a very general term that does not specify the perpetrator, the severity of violence, or the duration of violence. Wife battering is a more specific term and refers to a systematic pattern of intimidation, control, terror, and physical violence inflicted upon a woman by her male partner. The intent of such behavior is to gain total control over the woman.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Psychology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App