Techniques of Neutralization Theory by Matza and Sykes

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The techniques of neutralisation theory that were first put forward by Matza and Sykes can be applied to many different aspects of criminal and anti-social behaviour. In this instance it will be applied to explain domestic violence, or more specifically the offenders who commit domestic violence. In order to explain this further we need to look firstly at what constitutes domestic violence, and then we can look at the techniques of neutralisation.

Domestic violence can take many forms and be committed in different ways. These forms include, but at not limited to, physical (hitting and kicking), psychological (embarrassing or intimidating), verbal (profane name calling), sexual (non-consensual sex) and economic (having control of finances) abuse. These various types of domestic violence have been able to encompass more victims and more offenders than previously thought.

The neutralisation techniques that were introduced by Matza and Sykes are essentially ways in which the offenders can justify, to themselves, the actions or incidents that they are responsible for. The techniques of neutralisation can be broke down into the below categories; • The denial of responsibilities (the offender doesn’t know that they done something wrong); • The denial of injury (they weren’t responsible for the injuries); • The denial of the victim (the victim deserved it);

• The condemnation of the condemners (those that condemn it are taking blame off themselves); • The appeal to higher loyalties (offence was for the greater good); • The disbursement of blame (passes the blame to someone else); • The dehumanisation of the victim (offender put victim in a lower human class); and • The misrepresentation of consequences (offender thinks about the rewards).

Applying various techniques to different types of domestic violence can help us get into an insight into how the offenders of domestic abuse justify, or neutralise, the actions that they...
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