Dr. Donald G. Dutton explains that personality disorder is the cause of domestic violence

For the past several years Donna and I have attended the Battered Mothers Custody Conference and so we have been able to interact with domestic violence experts. Both of us were surprised to discover that although most of the worst spousal assault perpetrators have personality profiles indicative of sociopathy/psychopathy this fact is not recognized by many experts.

I have worked to become well acquainted with the scientific literature regarding intimate partner violence because I teach psychology of gender and because I very much want to understand why people who should know better often fail to diagnose sociopathy in perpetrators. This failure to diagnose has lead to intimate partner violence being erroneously interpreted as a gender issue related to male domination of females. This flies in the face of the real statistics which show that there are equal numbers of female perpetrators. The failure to recognize personality disturbance in female perpetrators has lead to male victims being further traumatized.

I am happy to report that the leading expert on intimate partner violence, Professor Donald Dutton of the University of British Columbia is fighting to correct the above misconceptions and to help people understand that domestic violence is perpetrated by disordered men and women.

In 1979, he cofounded the Assaultive Husbands Project, a court-mandated treatment program for men convicted of spousal assault. He has frequently served as an expert witness in civil trials involving intimate abuse and in criminal trials involving family violence. Dr. Dutton has published over 100 papers and four books, including Domestic Assault of Women, The Batterer: A Psychological Profile, Rethinking Domestic Violence and The Abusive Personality Violence and Control in Intimate Relationships.

I just finished reading The Abusive Personality and recommend it highly. In this book Dr. Dutton details the profile and personality structure of both male and female batterers. He makes a compelling case for his contention that personality disturbance is behind domestic violence in Western society. Next week I will summarize the personality profile of “Abusers” and explain how abuse relates to sociopathy/psychopathy.

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104 Comments on "Dr. Donald G. Dutton explains that personality disorder is the cause of domestic violence"

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Hiya sabrina and ErinBrockovick,

Get a buzz out of the site and see the love…tiss good. This nashing of teeth over his/her violence ( him more her more?)can be answer by reading:

Apples and Oranges in Child Custody Disputes:
Intimate Terrorism vs Situational Couple Violence:

Michael P Johnson

Hope it helps to answer the questions????????


Yesterday, Annie was discussing in another thread about the mother’s march scheduled in Washington DC tomorrow on Mother’s Day….Annie saw this march as unfair because fathers were not always or even most of the time according to some statis the abusers. While I don’t agree with Annie about the march on “Mother’s day” being a bad thing (I think ANYTHING that raises awareness about CHILDREN’s abuse is a good thing) I do see her point and I think Dr. Dutton seems to se the same thing, PEOPLE (regardless of sex) abuse other people.

Response to Peter Ward.

Johnson is a feminist academic, they are committed to presenting DV in a gendered way. His assertions about IT being gendered are not supported by the finding of the more legitimate domestic violence research community.

You can find links various studies to that effect here …

Sigil, it is NOT unusual for two personality disordered individuals to hook up together and battle for control, with them both at the end of the relationship presenting themselves as VICTIMS. In cases where the woman is the “loser” in the mutual fight, I have personally seen these women work the “victim” angle like the psychopathic pros they are. Men usually just engage in the “smear campaign” against his ex to his next potential victim.

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