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Violence is the Physical Force Prohibited by Law

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“Violence…the unlawful exercise of physical force”
(The Concise Oxford English Dictionary).

How Well Does This Statement Define Interpersonal Violence?

One of the most common ways of defining violence is to only consider forms of criminal violence and to argue that violence is the use of force that has been prohibited by law (Riedel & Welsh, 2002, p.3). The Oxford dictionary when taking a legal dimension, defines violence as “the unlawful exercise of physical force”. This definition suggests that violence is harm that results in physical pain. It may be criticised for not taking into account emotional and psychological pain often associated with interpersonal violence. Interpersonal violence is said to include domestic violence, family violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child abuse or elder abuse. Other forms of violence which occur within schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods and other organisations can also be considered interpersonal. These forms of violence may be economic, emotional, sexual or physical. Interpersonal violence includes acts which can be considered as violent or harmful. The main purpose of this essay is to critically assess how well this statement defines interpersonal violence.

The above Oxford English dictionary statement suggests that there is a strong relationship between violence and acts of physical force. The English word violence is derived from the Latin word volentia. The meaning of violence is often
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