Psychological and Sociological Theories of Domestic Violence Essay

1674 Words May 15th, 2011 7 Pages
Domestic violence is a crime that occurs regularly within the United States. It claims millions of victims each year. There is not a specific cause to establish why domestic violence occurs. However, it has been documented that domestic violence is a product of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, and any other forms of torture or torment that the particular abuser wishes to employ to gain control or power over their victims (Gosselin, 2005). Due to the complexity of this crime, many criminologists and socialologists have studied its causes and the effects in order to determine social policies and additional theories to better understand the causation of domestic violence. The social policies and theories that are developed from …show more content…
This theory believes that an individual will choose criminal behavior by “free will” after weighing out the rewards and benefits verses the consequences or punishment for their behavior (Gosselin, 2005). In essence, the abuser will choose domestic violence as a means to the end since they feel control and domination is necessary in order to coexist within personal relationships. On the other hand, if the offender believes the risks outweigh the ability achieve personal gain, control, or satisfaction, he or she may choose not to commit the abuse (Schacter, et al., 2009). I believe this theory explains the restraint an abuser displays when they carefully select the type of abuse administered to their victims and the length of time they choose to enact the abuse. Most abusers will not openly abuse their victims in front of others in order to deter detection. Detection is not an option for most abusers, since they are familiar with the consequences of their actions.
A second example of a theory that would explain domestic violence would be the social learning theory. This theory falls under the category of the psychological theory. The social learning theory is the most relevant theory that applies to criminology. “Behavior is supported by rewards and extinguished by negative reactions or punishments” (Siegel, 2007, p.109). The social learning theory believes people are not born with the ability to act in
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