Authors: David M. Kennedy
Spring/Summer 2004
The National Center for Victims of Crime Networks

Domestic violence advocates, researchers, and theorists have tended to argue that domestic violence is "special" and that domestic violence offenders are similarly special. Because those who assault other family members are often depicted as otherwise law-abiding citizens, there is no compelling reason to apply broader notions of criminality. This conception of the "batterer as anyone" led to a clear distinction between these men and other violent offenders. This article shows that domestic violence offenders frequently are not at all special and unique, a fact that greatly increases the usefulness of criminal justice interventions for providing rehabilitation, incapacitation, or deterrence.