National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book
Damaging property - Key Literature
The recording of domestic violence-related events by police is an area that requires further investigation. The study aimed to determine if an automated text mining method could identify abuse types and injuries sustained by domestic violence victims. Using data mining to evaluate 492,393 Australian domestic violence police reports, more than one-third noted victim injuries. The most common abuse type was emotional/verbal at 33.46%, followed by punching at 24.58%, and property damage at 22.27%. Bruising was the most common form of injury (29.03%), followed by cut/abrasion (28.93%), and red marks/signs (23.71%). The findings show that text mining can automatically extract information from police-recorded domestic violence events. These findings can be used to support further public health research the purpose of which is to assess the profiling of persons of interest involved in domestic violence events, and to change existing intervention policies for abuse victims.
This paper reports on the findings of the International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS), which was conducted across Australia between December 2002 and June 2003. A total of 6,677 women aged between 18 and 69 years participated in the survey, and provided information on their experiences of physical and sexual violence. In this paper the authors describe damage and destruction of property as a form of emotional abuse. The authors find that women whose current partners damaged or destroyed property or possessions, reported levels of physical violence almost eight times higher during the previous 12 months than the average for current intimate partner violence in general (23% versus 3%) (p48).
Follingstad, Diane R, et al, ‘The Role of Emotional Abuse in Physically Abusive Relationships’ (1990) 5(2) Journal of Family Violence 107.
This study reports on a qualitative study in which 234 women were interviewed to assess the relationship of emotional abuse to physical abuse. Six major types of emotional abuse were identified. One of the types of emotional abuse identified was damage or destruction of the personal property of the victim. The article provides examples of this form of abuse, including the abuser selecting a favourite personal object belonging to the victim and destroying it or cutting up clothes or tearing up favourite pictures in front of the victim (p109).
This comprehensive article overviews American statutes and case law in relation to domestic violence civil protection orders. While the law is not relevant here, there is a useful discussion of property damage as a form of domestic and family violence (at p872-874) explaining that perpetrators often damage the victim’s property in order to ‘terrorise, threaten and exert control’ over the victim. This article reports on a number of cases where protection orders were issued in circumstances where perpetrators have: destroyed furniture; broken windows and skylights; chopped holes in the roof with an axe; driven a truck through a garage wall; damaged the victim’s car; destroyed household property; destroyed pets (a form of property) and destroyed items of sentimental value to the victim.
The article focuses on economic abuse as a form of domestic violence perpetrated against women, commonly, by their intimate partners or ex-partners. The article describes damaging, or destroying property as a form of economic abuse in those cases where it has implications for the victim’s autonomy.
Sanders, Cynthia K, ‘Economic Abuse in the Lives of Women Abused by an Intimate Partner: A Qualitative Study’ (2015) 21(1) Violence Against Women 3.
This article presents research from a qualitative study involving 30 interviewees. The study examined the role of financial issues and economic factors in the lives of women who have experienced domestic and family violence. ‘Stealing and Destruction of Property’ is considered at p20-21 as a form of abuse. Interviewees gave examples including the destruction of a motor vehicle which was the victim’s form of transport and destruction of furniture and children’s toys. Victims also spoke of having to hide property including documents to ensure they were kept safe.