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Michael Johnson’s differentiation of ‘‘types’’ of domestic violence has had a significant impact on courts and providers, in part because of its claim to an empirical basis. Unfortunately, the label ‘‘situational couple violence’’ has already been used by judges and evaluators to minimize abuse claims in custody cases. Johnson’s repeated assertion that SCV is the most common form of domestic violence reinforces the marginalizing of domestic violence. But what do his data actually show? Here Professor Meier takes a close look at the research Johnson relies on and finds that it fails to prove his thesis. Rather, the data suggest that Johnson has it exactly backward: Control-based abuse is probably far more common than ‘‘situational’’ domestic violence.

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GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2015-41; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-41

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