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2003 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 8, No. 3
May 2003

Similarities between Perpetrators of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Many of the tactics used by domestic violence perpetrators are similar to those used by child abusers (Leberg, 1997; Groth, 1982; Herman, 1998; Sanford, 1988). Both batterers and child abusers:

  • Feel a sense of entitlement, feel justified

  • Are manipulative and often blame the victim

  • “Groom” their victims

  • Maintain a good public image

  • Are selfish and self-centered: their goal is self-gratification, power, and control

  • Use other people for their own purposes

  • Sow divisions within the family and isolate their victims

  • Confuse love with abuse

  • Threaten the victim (and victim’s family, friends, pets, etc.)

  • Impose secrecy

  • Claim a loss of control rather than specific exercise of it

  • Promise to change and may even express remorse

  • Receive societal/cultural support or affirmation

Source: NCCWDVC, 2002

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