DV Conference Report #6: How a Child Grows up to Be an Abuser

Sacramento, CA–Background: The historic, one-of-a-kind conference “From Ideology to Inclusion: Evidence-Based Policy and Intervention in Domestic Violence” was held in Sacramento, California February 15-16 and was a major success. The conference was sponsored by the California Alliance for Families and Children and featured leading domestic violence authorities from around the world.

Many of these researchers are part of the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center, which is challenging the domestic violence establishment’s stranglehold on the issue. The NFVLRC promotes gender-natural, research-based DV policies.

I have been and will continue to detail the conference and some of the research that was presented there in this blog–to learn more, click here.

Marlene Moretti, PhD (pictured) is a full professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University and currently leads a multisite Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Emerging Team Grant on gender and aggression. She has published extensively in the fields of developmental psychopathology, social-clinical psychology, and intervention. Moretti has served as a member on several government committees working to promote the use of evidence based intervention. She is a coauthor of the book, Girls and Aggression: Contributing Factors and Intervention Principles (Kluwer-Plenum, 2004). Dr. Moretti can be reached at:

At the conference, Moretti co-presented the Plenary “Family Roots of Adolescent Violence in Relationships and Effective Interventions: A Developmental and Relational Perspective” with Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, PhD.

While the current domestic violence paradigm is very dismissive of intimate partner abuse by women, Moretti says both mothers and fathers who engage in violence toward their partners put their children at risk for aggression in their relationships. Boys and girls who observe their mothers engage in violence toward her partner tend to use more violence in their romantic relationships. As well, girls who observe their mothers violence toward her partner are more likely to be aggressive with their peers; similarly boys who observe their fathers violence toward his partner are more aggressive with their peers. These results are published in Aggressive Behavior, 2006, 32 (4), 385-395.

Moretti also says that boys tend to be more aggressive towards their friends, and girls tend to be more aggressive towards their romantic partners. She explained that, according to Crime in the US 2001, Table 33, there is an increase in violence by girls and a decrease in violence by boys.

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