Behind the Wall: How Age, Gender, and Type of Violence Influence Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence


  • Brandon Krebs MacEwan University


In legal and public domains, the perception of intimate partner violence (IPV) is influenced by a range of legal and extra-legal factors. The present study was designed to investigate how jurors’ perceptions of IPV incidents are influenced by the type of violence perpetrated, the age of the couple involved, and the gender of the perpetrator and victim. Undergraduate participants (N= 576) were presented with an IPV vignette, a case judgement questionnaire, and several self-report measures. Vignettes differed according to the gender of the perpetrator (man/woman in a heterosexual relationship), the type of violence perpetrated (physical/sexual/psychological/financial), and the age of the couple (18/30/45/65). Participants’ overall assessment of IPV scenarios (i.e., how violent/severe) as well as their general perceptions of IPV, ageing populations, and traditional gender roles were measured. In general, participants perceived violence perpetrated by men as more violent, severe, and requiring criminal justice intervention more frequently than IPV perpetrated by women. Victim fear also was rated higher when the perpetrator was a man. Overall, physical violence was rated as the most severe, fear-provoking, and violent than financial, psychological, and sexual violence. Interestingly, sexual violence was perceived as the least common type of violence within ageing populations (65 years old). Finally, exploratory findings suggest that persons who minimize IPV and fail to see the necessity for criminal justice intervention, are those who endorse attitudes associated with hostile sexism and traditional gender roles. Results from this study have important implications for legal personnel concerning biases present in the assessment of IPV cases.

Department: Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristine Peace