Domestic Violence and Fear Essay

Submitted By amaa8
Words: 7182
Pages: 29

“Criminals Are Inside of Our Homes”:
Intimate Partner Violence and Fear of
Crime1
Ryan Broll*
Department of Sociology, University of Western Ontario
Bien que des études suggèrent que les femmes soient plus craintives des crimes que les hommes, malgré le fait que leur taux de victimisation soit généralement plus bas, certains universitaires suggèrent que l’expérience personnelle joue, dans le meilleur des cas, un rôle limité en ce qui concerne notre sentiment de sécurité personnelle. Des universitaires féministes ont répliqué que de nombreuses femmes sont victimes de violence de la part de leurs conjoints masculins, mais que ce type de victimisation est rarement considéré par des études mesurant la peur du crime. Par conséquent, le taux plus élevé de peur chez les femmes est justifié, disent-elles. Cette étude utilise un échantillon national représentatif de femmes canadiennes âgées de 15 ans et plus pour examiner la relation entre la violence conjugale et la peur du crime. Les résultats d’analyses de régression et des tableaux croisés appuient la perspective féministe, indiquant que la violence physique et émotionnelle, ainsi que la violence physique sévère, exercée par des conjoints masculins accroissent généralement la peur des femmes envers le crime. Les résultats démontrent l’importance de tenir compte de la violence conjugale lors d’études portant sur les peurs des femmes envers le crime afin de ne pas faussement qualifier la peur des femmes d’« irréaliste ».
Mots clés : violence conjugale, peur du crime, insécurité, sécurité personnelle

Based on findings that suggest women are more afraid of crime than men despite their overall lower rates of victimization, some scholars have suggested that personal experience plays, at best, a limited role in our feelings of personal safety. Feminist scholars have countered by arguing that many women are abused by their male intimate partners, yet this type of victimization is rarely considered in studies measuring fear of crime. Women’s greater levels of fear, they argue, are therefore justified. This study draws on a nationally representative sample of Canadian women age 15 years or more to examine the relationship between intimate partner violence and fear of crime.
The results of regression and cross-tabular analyses lend support to the feminist perspective, finding that physical and emotional abuse and severe physical abuse committed by male intimates generally increases women’s fear
*Please direct correspondence to Ryan Broll, Department of Sociology, University of
Western Ontario, Room 5320, Social Science Centre London, ON N6A 5C2; rbroll@uwo.ca

© 2014 CJCCJ/RCCJP

doi:10.3138/cjccj.2011.E24

2

Revue canadienne de criminologie et de justice pénale

janvier 2014

of crime. The results demonstrate the importance of considering partner violence when studying women’s fear of crime so as to not misrepresent women’s fear as being “unrealistic.”
Keywords: intimate partner violence, fear of crime, insecurity, personal safety
Despite the fact that approximately one quarter of the Canadian population aged 15 years and older reports being the victim of a criminal incident in the past year (Perreault and Brennan 2010), few Canadians seem to be worried about crime. In fact, 93% of Canadians report feeling satisfied with their personal safety, more than 8 in 10 are not worried when home alone in the evening, and some 90% of Canadians feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhood at night (Brennan 2011). Notwithstanding these general feelings of safety and personal security, past research indicates that Canadians who have been the victim of crime – whether property or violent – are more likely to report higher levels of fear of crime than those who have not been victimized (AuCoin and
Beauchamp 2007; Brennan 2011; Keown 2010). For instance, 94% of
Canadians who have not been a crime victim are satisfied with their personal safety,…