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Domestic Violence Research Paper Titles Examples

The high profile case of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice has brought the problem of domestic violence to light again.

Pixel Project’s “16 For 16” Campaign highlights ways to end domestic violence. (Credit: 16 Days of Activism)

A good research paper topic for your sociology or women’s studies class might be to provide a definition of domestic violence, offer domestic violence statistics, discuss organizations like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and report on actions to prevent domestic abuse.

Sports figures and domestic violence

NFL player Ray Rice was caught on an elevator security camera punching his then-girlfriend now wife Janay Palmer Rice so hard she passed out, after which he carried her unconscious body out of the elevator. Due to public uproar, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been forced to change his position of suspending Rice for only two games and suspend him indefinitely.

In other sports-related cases, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was suspended after being convicted of violence against his then-girlfriend, while Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson was suspended for allegations of child abuse. It’s a shame it takes the suspension of multimillion dollar popular sports figures to bring to light the viciousness of domestic violence, but at least it gets people talking about the problem.

Definition of domestic violence

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, “Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse (using money and financial tools to exert control). Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education.”

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) made a statement following the NFL decision against Ray Rice. The NCADV “supports the National Football League (NFL) in its efforts to prevent domestic violence by suspending Ray Rice indefinitely. To finally be heard and have people understand the impact of domestic violence is encouraging. However, although this is a step in the right direction, NCADV recognizes that domestic violence does not live only on the football field.”

Health and monetary costs of domestic violence

A research paper topic choice might be to describe the economic and healthcare costs of domestic violence. Studies have seen victims of abuse exhibit debilitating symptoms many years after leaving abusive situations. “[Victims] now face far higher than normal rates of chronic health problems, including arthritis and hormonal disorders, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, severe headaches and irritable bowel syndrome,” reported Alexis Jetter in “Domestic Violence: A Hidden Cause of Chronic Illness” posted on More.com, November 2013.

“As a result, these women spend nearly 20 percent more money on medical care than other women. Annual U.S. medical costs attributable to domestic violence, including years-old assaults that still cause health problems, range from $25 billion to $59 billion, according to a 2008 study funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the damage is from old physical injuries, some from the chronic stress of living in terror for too long,” wrote Jetter.

Violence Against Women Act: 20 year anniversary

Another idea for a research paper is to trace the recognition and steps taken to abolish domestic violence. It’s hard to believe but only 20 years ago, on September 13, 1994, the U.S. government during President Bill Clinton’s administration passed the Violence Against Women Act, which recognized domestic violence as a serious crime, rather than a private family matter.

The act funded programs to train police to investigate attacks and funded shelters for battered women. As Congress renewed the bill over the years, it has added elements to protect women from abusive boyfriends, initiated training programs for doctors to screen patients for physical abuse, and offered social services to victims of domestic abuse regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, as reported by Carrie Johnson at NPR.org.

How to stop domestic violence

Basically, giving women the same rights as men, which are due all human beings—education, safe housing, healthcare, justice, and political representation—goes a long way to curbing domestic violence. In the book The Political Economy of Violence against Women, published in 2012, Jacqui True writes: “Women are less vulnerable to violence when they have a good economic status, including access to full-time employment, land/property rights, access to credit/capital, and enjoyment of social and political rights… However, this broader political economic order is often neglected in analyses of violence against women. Governments, nonstate actors, and international organizations need to work together to create enabling conditions for the enjoyment of economic and social rights. Doing so would represent a major step toward eliminating violence against women, its causes, its consequences, and its costs.”

For more information, check out Questia.com’s library for Women’s subjects including Domestic Violence and Domestic Violence Prevention.

What are some other areas of domestic violence that can be pursued for a term paper?

The list of domestic violence research paper topics below will show that domestic violence takes on many forms. Through recent scientific study, it is now known that domestic violence occurs within different types of households. The purpose of creating this list is for students to have available a comprehensive, state-of-the-research, easy-to-read compilation of a wide variety of domestic violence topics and provide research paper examples on those topics.

Domestic violence research paper topics can be divided into seven categories:

  1. Victims of domestic violence,
  2. Theoretical perspectives and correlates to domestic violence,
  3. Cross-cultural and religious perspectives,
  4. Understudied areas within domestic violence research,
  5. Domestic violence and the law,
  6. Child abuse and elder abuse, and
  7. Special topics in domestic violence.

100+ Domestic Violence Research Topics






Part 1: Research Paper Topics on

Victims of Domestic Violence

Initial research recognized wives as victims of domestic violence. Thereafter, it was acknowledged that unmarried women were also falling victim to violence at the hands of their boyfriends. Subsequently, the term ‘‘battered women’’ became synonymous with ‘‘battered wives.’’ Legitimizing female victimization served as the catalyst in introducing other types of intimate partner violence.

  • Battered Husbands
  • Battered Wives
  • Battered Women: Held in Captivity
  • Battered Women Who Kill: An Examination
  • Cohabiting Violence
  • Date Rape
  • Dating Violence
  • Domestic Violence in Workplace
  • Intimate Partner Homicide
  • Intimate Partner Violence, Forms of
  • Marital Rape
  • Mutual Battering
  • Parricide
  • Spousal Prostitution
  • Stalking

Read more about victims of domestic violence.

Part 2: Research Paper Topics on

Theoretical Perspectives and Correlates to Domestic Violence

There is no single causal factor related to domestic violence. Rather, scholars have concluded that there are numerous factors that contribute to domestic violence. Feminists found that women were beaten at the hands of their partners. Drawing on feminist theory, they helped explain the relationship between patriarchy and domestic violence. Researchers have examined other theoretical perspectives such as attachment theory, exchange theory, identity theory, the cycle of violence, social learning theory, and victim-blaming theory in explaining domestic violence. However, factors exist that may not fall into a single theoretical perspective. Correlates have shown that certain factors such as pregnancy, social class, level of education, animal abuse, and substance abuse may influence the likelihood for victimization.

  • Animal Abuse: The Link to Family Violence
  • Assessing Risk in Domestic Violence Cases
  • Attachment Theory and Domestic Violence
  • Battered Woman Syndrome
  • Batterer Typology
  • Bullying and the Family
  • Coercive Control
  • Control Balance Theory and Domestic Violence
  • Cycle of Violence
  • Depression and Domestic Violence
  • Education as a Risk Factor for Domestic Violence
  • Exchange Theory
  • Feminist Theory
  • Identity Theory and Domestic Violence
  • Intergenerational Transfer of Intimate Partner Violence
  • Popular Culture and Domestic Violence
  • Post-Incest Syndrome
  • Pregnancy-Related Violence
  • Social Class and Domestic Violence
  • Social Learning Theory and Family Violence
  • Stockholm Syndrome in Battered Women
  • Substance Use/Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence
  • The Impact of Homelessness on Family Violence
  • Victim-Blaming Theory

Read more about domestic violence theories.

Part 3: Research Paper Topics on

Cross-Cultural and Religious Perspectives on Domestic Violence

It was essential to acknowledge that domestic violence crosses cultural boundaries and religious affiliations. There is no one particular society or religious group exempt from victimization. A variety of developed and developing countries were examined in understanding the prevalence of domestic violence within their societies as well as their coping strategies in handling these volatile issues. It is often misunderstood that one religious group is more tolerant of family violence than another. As Christianity, Islam, and Judaism represent the three major religions of the world, their ideologies were explored in relation to the acceptance and prevalence of domestic violence.

  • Africa: Domestic Violence and the Law
  • Africa: The Criminal Justice System and the Problem of Domestic Violence in West Africa
  • Asian Americans and Domestic Violence: Cultural Dimensions
  • Child Abuse: A Global Perspective
  • Christianity and Domestic Violence
  • Cross-Cultural Examination of Domestic Violence in China and Pakistan
  • Cross-Cultural Examination of Domestic Violence in Latin America
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Domestic Violence
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives on How to Deal with Batterers
  • Dating Violence among African American Couples
  • Domestic Violence among Native Americans
  • Domestic Violence in African American Community
  • Domestic Violence in Greece
  • Domestic Violence in Rural Communities
  • Domestic Violence in South Africa
  • Domestic Violence in Spain
  • Domestic Violence in Trinidad and Tobago
  • Domestic Violence within the Jewish Community
  • Human Rights, Refugee Laws, and Asylum Protection for People Fleeing Domestic Violence
  • Introduction to Minorities and Families in America
  • Medical Neglect Related to Religion and Culture
  • Multicultural Programs for Domestic Batterers
  • Qur’anic Perspectives on Wife Abuse
  • Religious Attitudes toward Corporal Punishment
  • Rule of Thumb
  • Same-Sex Domestic Violence: Comparing Venezuela and the United States
  • Worldwide Sociolegal Precedents Supporting Domestic Violence from Ancient to Modern Times

Part 4: Research Paper Topics on

Understudied Areas within Domestic Violence Research

Domestic violence has typically examined traditional relationships, such as husband–wife, boyfriend–girlfriend, and parent–child. Consequently, scholars have historically ignored non-traditional relationships. In fact, certain entries have limited cross-references based on the fact that there were limited, if any, scholarly publications on that topic. Only since the 1990s have scholars admitted that violence exists among lesbians and gay males. There are other ignored populations that are addressed within this encyclopedia including violence within military and police families, violence within pseudo-family environments, and violence against women and children with disabilities.

  • Caregiver Violence against People with Disabilities
  • Community Response to Gay and Lesbian Domestic Violence
  • Compassionate Homicide and Spousal Violence
  • Domestic Violence against Women with Disabilities
  • Domestic Violence by Law Enforcement Officers
  • Domestic Violence within Military Families
  • Factors Influencing Reporting Behavior by Male Domestic Violence Victims
  • Gay and Bisexual Male Domestic Violence
  • Gender Socialization and Gay Male Domestic Violence
  • Inmate Mothers: Treatment and Policy Implications
  • Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Retardation
  • Intimate Partner Violence in Queer, Transgender, and Bisexual Communities
  • Lesbian Battering
  • Male Victims of Domestic Violence and Reasons They Stay with Their Abusers
  • Medicalization of Domestic Violence
  • Police Attitudes and Behaviors toward Gay Domestic Violence
  • Pseudo-Family Abuse
  • Sexual Aggression Perpetrated by Females
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: The Need for Education in Servicing Victims of Trauma

Part 5: Research Paper Topics on

Domestic Violence and the Law

The Violence against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 helped pave domestic violence concerns into legislative matters. Historically, family violence was handled through informal measures often resulting in mishandling of cases. Through VAWA, victims were given the opportunity to have their cases legally remedied. This legitimized the separation of specialized domestic and family violence courts from criminal courts. The law has recognized that victims of domestic violence deserve recognition and resolution. Law enforcement agencies may be held civilly accountable for their actions in domestic violence incidents. Mandatory arrest policies have been initiated helping reduce discretionary power of police officers. Courts have also begun to focus on the offenders of domestic violence. Currently, there are batterer intervention programs and mediation programs available for offenders within certain jurisdictions. Its goals are to reduce the rate of recidivism among batterers.

  • Battered Woman Syndrome as a Legal Defense in Cases of Spousal Homicide
  • Batterer Intervention Programs
  • Clemency for Battered Women
  • Divorce, Child Custody, and Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence Courts
  • Electronic Monitoring of Abusers
  • Expert Testimony in Domestic Violence Cases
  • Judicial Perspectives on Domestic Violence
  • Lautenberg Law
  • Legal Issues for Battered Women
  • Mandatory Arrest Policies
  • Mediation in Domestic Violence
  • Police Civil Liability in Domestic Violence Incidents
  • Police Decision-Making Factors in Domestic Violence Cases
  • Police Response to Domestic Violence Incidents
  • Prosecution of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Protective and Restraining Orders
  • Shelter Movement
  • Training Practices for Law Enforcement in Domestic Violence Cases
  • Violence against Women Act

Read more about Domestic Violence Law.

Part 6: Research Paper Topics on

Child Abuse and Elder Abuse

Scholars began to address child abuse over the last third of the twentieth century. It is now recognized that child abuse falls within a wide spectrum. In the past, it was based on visible bruises and scars. Today, researchers have acknowledged that psychological abuse, where there are no visible injuries, is just as damaging as its counterpart. One of the greatest controversies in child abuse literature is that of Munchausen by Proxy. Some scholars have recognized that it is a syndrome while others would deny a syndrome exists. Regardless of the term ‘‘syndrome,’’ Munchausen by Proxy does exist and needs to be further examined. Another form of violence that needs to be further examined is elder abuse. Elder abuse literature typically focused on abuse perpetrated by children and caregivers. With increased life expectancies, it is now understood that there is greater probability for violence among elderly intimate couples. Shelters and hospitals need to better understand this unique population in order to better serve its victims.

  • Assessing the Risks of Elder Abuse
  • Child Abuse and Juvenile Delinquency
  • Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States: An Overview
  • Child Maltreatment, Interviewing Suspected Victims of
  • Child Neglect
  • Child Sexual Abuse
  • Children Witnessing Parental Violence
  • Consequences of Elder Abuse
  • Elder Abuse and Neglect: Training Issues for Professionals
  • Elder Abuse by Intimate Partners
  • Elder Abuse Perpetrated by Adult Children
  • Filicide and Children with Disabilities
  • Incest
  • Mothers Who Kill
  • Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome
  • Parental Abduction
  • Postpartum Depression, Psychosis, and Infanticide
  • Ritual Abuse–Torture in Families
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Sibling Abuse

Part 7: Research Paper Topics on

Special Topics  in Domestic Violence

Within this list, there are topics that may not fit clearly into one of the aforementioned categories. Therefore, they are be listed in a separate special topics designation.
Analyzing Incidents of Domestic Violence: The National Incident-Based Reporting System

  • Community Response to Domestic Violence
  • Conflict Tactics Scales
  • Dissociation in Domestic Violence, The Role of
  • Domestic Homicide in Urban Centers: New York City
  • Fatality Reviews in Cases of Adult Domestic Homicide and Suicide
  • Female Suicide and Domestic Violence
  • Healthcare Professionals’ Roles in Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence
  • Measuring Domestic Violence
  • Neurological and Physiological Impact of Abuse
  • Social, Economic, and Psychological Costs of Violence
  • Stages of Leaving Abusive Relationships
  • The Physical and Psychological Impact of Spousal Abuse

Domestic violence remains a relatively new field of study among social scientists but it is already a popular research paper subject within college and university students. Only within the past 4 decades have scholars recognized domestic violence as a social problem. Initially, domestic violence research focused on child abuse. Thereafter, researchers focused on wife abuse and used this concept interchangeably with domestic violence. Within the past 20 years, researchers have acknowledged that other forms of violent relationships exist, including dating violence, battered males, and gay domestic violence. Moreover, academicians have recognized a subcategory within the field of criminal justice: victimology (the scientific study of victims). Throughout the United States, colleges and universities have been creating victimology courses, and even more specifically, family violence and interpersonal violence courses.

The media have informed us that domestic violence is so commonplace that the public has unfortunately grown accustomed to reading and hearing about husbands killing their wives, mothers killing their children, or parents neglecting their children. While it is understood that these offenses take place, the explanations as to what factors contributed to them remain unclear. In order to prevent future violence, it is imperative to understand its roots. There is no one causal explanation for domestic violence; however, there are numerous factors which may help explain these unjustified acts of violence. Highly publicized cases such as the O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson trials have shown the world that alleged murderers may not resemble the deranged sociopath depicted in horror films. Rather, they can be handsome, charming, and well-liked by society. In addition, court-centered programming on television continuously publicizes cases of violence within the home informing the public that we are potentially at risk by our caregivers and other loved ones. There is the case of the au pair Elizabeth Woodward convicted of shaking and killing Matthew Eappen, the child entrusted to her care. Some of the most highly publicized cases have also focused on mothers who kill. America was stunned as it heard the cases of Susan Smith and Andrea Yates. Both women were convicted of brutally killing their own children. Many asked how loving mothers could turn into cold-blooded killers.

Browse other criminal justice research topics.

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