Weapons tied to repeat domestic abuse

January 29, 2014
Amy Bonomi is chairperson and professor in Michigan State University's Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

Women are up to 83 percent more likely to experience repeat abuse by their male partners if a weapon is used in the initial abuse incident, according to a new study that has implications for victims, counselors and police.

Michigan State University researcher Amy Bonomi and colleagues studied the police reports of nearly 6,000 couples in Seattle during a two-year period. An estimated one in four women in the United States experience at least once in their lifetime.

Because previous research showed that domestic abuse is more common in poor urban neighborhoods, the researchers expected to find that repeat violence could be predicted by where the couple lived.

But that wasn't the case. Instead, the main predictor of ongoing domestic violence was the use of a knife, gun or even a vehicle in the first incident. In those cases, women were 72 percent more likely to make follow-up calls to police for and 83 percent more likely to call for nonphysical abuse – such as a partner threatening to kill them.

"What this is telling police is that they are likely to be called back to this particular residence if a weapon is involved the first time they are called out," said Bonomi, chairperson and professor in MSU's Department of Human Development and Family Studies. "It's an indication of the danger and severity of over time."

"The presence of weapons in the home," she added, "is also a red flag for the women themselves and the counselors who deal with domestic violence."

Explore further: Studies explore weapons/arrests in domestic violence cases

Related Stories

Studies explore weapons/arrests in domestic violence cases

August 21, 2013

Weapons were involved in 40 percent of domestic violence cases in Houston, and researchers discovered distinct patterns on when and where each type of weapon was used, according to a recent study at Sam Houston State University.

When battered women fight back stereotyping can kick in

September 12, 2012

The topic of domestic abuse remains a controversial issue when it comes to determining punishment for battered women who use violence towards their partner. According to a recent study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, ...

Recommended for you

The oldest plesiosaur was a strong swimmer

December 14, 2017

Plesiosaurs were especially effective swimmers. These long extinct "paddle saurians" propelled themselves through the oceans by employing "underwater flight"—similar to sea turtles and penguins. Paleontologist from the ...

Averaging the wisdom of crowds

December 12, 2017

The best decisions are made on the basis of the average of various estimates, as confirmed by the research of Dennie van Dolder and Martijn van den Assem, scientists at VU Amsterdam. Using data from Holland Casino promotional ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2014
Ok, confirms what we all learned in kindergarten - cowards come from all socioeconomic classes.

But - where are the stats to support the bald statement that "The presence of weapons in the home is also a red flag ..."?
5 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2014
"The presence of weapons in the home" is completely different than "if a weapon is used in the initial abuse incident". This article proclaims that men are actors and women are always empty vessels and victims. More stupid propaganda
Lex Talonis
not rated yet Jan 30, 2014
Yes the bitch povocataeur comes with a free set of carving knives.....

More sensationalist feminist media crap...
not rated yet Jan 30, 2014
This article proclaims that men are actors and women are always empty vessels and victims.

No it does not. The study looked at the correlation between male partners using weapons on female partners and the repeated experience of abuse.

Nowhere does the article say that the converse (women using weapons on men may be correlated with repeated abuse of men) is not true. that was just not part of the research setup.

You (that is a general 'you' not a specific 'you') really have to learn to read scientific articles. Anything that is not EXPLICITLY stated in them is not there and wasn't part of the test. As soon as you start interpreting anything not stated you are invariably wrong.
not rated yet Feb 02, 2014
This study shows that if a weapon (sword, baseball bat, gun, kitchen knife, hammer, car etc.) was used, it will be used again. Nobody should be surprised by this.

Toward that end, the definition of "weapon" was rather broad. If one can classify a car or a knife as a weapon, then by definition, nearly all homes in the US have one.

The study shows a correlation, not a causation. As such, drawing conclusions for public policy based upon the availability of a particular kind of weapon gets you nowhere. It merely shows that those with a tendency toward violence will be violent repeatedly.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.