CRJ 308: Psychology of Criminal Behavior
February 13, 2012
This paper will cover family violence by exploring current research that focuses on the cognitive aspects of criminal offenders involved in family violence type cases. This paper will also analyze the perceptions, reasoning, beliefs, decision making, and attitudes of criminal offenders. Applying psychological theories, referencing strengths, limitations, and applications of each in relation to family violence will also be touched upon. Illustrating sociological theories, referencing strengths, limitations, and applications of each in relation to criminal behavior will help conclude this paper. “Recent research has shed considerable light on family violence and various efforts to combat it within the justice system.” (U.S. Department of Justice, 1998). Domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, elder abuse, and wife/husband abuse are some of the major categories that are “hot topics” in family violence. Any instances where one family member has caused physical, sexual, or emotional abuse to another family member is considered family violence. The majority (48.9%) of criminal offenders for intimate homicides revealed that they were possessive of their victim. Alcohol abuse is also seen as a factor that is repeatedly seen in these types of cases. Men who abuse their children and wives are often seen as incompetent, immature, overwhelmed, and frustrated individuals. The attitudes of these offenders were precieved as irrational, expressive, and often precipitated by frustration and extreme anger. Some professionals also suggest that street violence is a rationale. (Bartol C. & Bartol A, 2011, pg 277). “Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) identified three primary types of male spouse batterers: Type 1 batterers who abuse family members only. Type 2 batterers who abuse family members because of emotional problems, and Type 3 batterers who are generally violent toward both family members and persons outside the family.” (Bartol C. & Bartol A, 2011, pg 277). Some researchers have suggested that family violence is predominately irrational and expressive. Alcohol abuse is seen as part of the clinical picture, and some studies have found support for this. Researchers have tried to find demographic variables, but they have been equally mixed thus the results are inconclusive. Wife and child abuses seem to cut across socioeconomic, religious, and ethic lines. The current and most up to date research does not show clear trends for women or men as abusers of spouses, children or parents. However, alcohol and drug abuse consistently appear to affect and contribute to family violence. It is noteworthy that these are not the cause of family, but more of an accelerant. Abusive husbands and fathers who drink heavily are reported to be violent more frequently. Husbands who beat their wives have been known to lack proper and effective communication skills. Some resort to physical violence by pushing, shoving, slapping, and some go on to commit full beatings. Husbands who do not hold a high status career position or one that is not as respected as their wives have been known to be more frustrated. These inadequacies, especially regarding job positions, have been noticed in the more life-threatening beatings. (Bartol C. & Bartol A, 2011, pg 278) Sibling-to-sibling violence is one of the more common forms of family violence. However, it is also the most overlooked form of violence. Many parents do not acknowledge the violence or they down play the seriousness of it to keep a particular family image. Many parents are also simply in denial since sibling rivalries are seen as the norm. Studies done on sibling violence revealed that males were much more violent than females. 70 percent of the violent acts were committed against the sibling’s closest age sibling and during their senior year of high...