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Representations of Domestic Violence in the British Press
Monika B¹k


The purpose of my research is to discover, through analysis of the debate on domestic violence in the British press, how newspapers define domestic violence, and what is the meaning and popular understanding of the term in British culture. I also expect to find out the role of the press in shaping attitudes towards violence and certain patterns of social behaviour. The press is a very powerful medium which tries to impose a particular way of thinking on their readers by means of a careful selection of topics and usage of different linguistic techniques in the articles. As Roger Fowler puts it in his book Language in the News, the newspapers ‘construct’ reality, so what they offer is always subjective.[1] However, the press also reflects the society’s beliefs and adjusts the articles to the demands of the public.


Domestic violence is a very serious problem in contemporary Britain and there is a lot of research carried out into its various dimensions. The findings of The 1992 British Crime Survey [2] show that it is the most common type of violence, even more frequent than street violence or violence in pubs or clubs. Moreover, it can be seen in the statistics that the number of the acts of violence has almost doubled during the 1980s: from almost 300,000 incidents in 1981 to more than 500,000 in 1991.[3] There are slight differences in defining domestic violence for the purposes of different studies, yet these definitions usually differ in emphasising one aspect over another. A broad definition of family violence would include a wide range of behaviour with the intention to subordinate one person to another physically, mentally, or both. What is also important, the relation between the victim and the abuser in the common understanding of domestic violence is not solely restricted to traditional family ties, and it also involves cohabiting, homosexual or past relationships.


 Although domestic violence is a very common problem, it is very difficult to assess its scale, as the majority of these offences go unreported, which may be due to the popular way of thinking about the problem as a private matter confined to demi-monde circles, and due to the low self-esteem and passivity characteristic of the victims.[4] In the majority of cases it is either a woman or a child that is abused.[5] Child abuse and the witnessing of domestic violence by children are very specific aspects and, as the surveys show, they appear simultaneously in the majority of cases concerning couples with children. Such experiences are a source of enormous trauma and irreversible negative psychical and physical effects on young people.[6] The causes of violent behaviour usually lie in individual features of character, and the chances of being victimised also depend on a certain personal disposition.[7] Although there exist legal regulations meant to protect victims from abuse, they are inefficient and need improvement.[8] According to the Women’s Aid Federation of England, they should concentrate around three general principles: protection, prevention and provision.[9]


Research work investigating the problem of domestic violence in the United Kingdom covers a wide range of aspects, yet no attempt has been made as yet to study systematically the way domestic violence is represented in the British press and the role the newspapers play in influencing attitudes and shaping the patterns of thinking about it in today’s Britain. British newspapers take an active part in the public discourse about the problem and their involvement must not be disregarded. The relation between the media and the audience works in both directions: the media represent reality for the readers or viewers, but also they are the expression of ‘values and beliefs’ that those readers and viewers share.[10] For this reason, an investigation of the representations of domestic violence in the British press is likely to produce a valid insight into the British social attitudes and convictions related to the problem.


The material selected for my research comes from The Guardian, one of the leading British quality dailies, and its Sunday equivalent - The Observer.[11] The articles for analysis were collected regularly during two months (July and August 2000) from the electronic editions of the papers. I selected 26 articles from The Guardian and 5 from The Observer (including letters to the editor) that consider domestic violence or various related issues. I chose all the articles in which either the term ‘domestic violence’ appeared, those which described incidents of abuse within close relationships, or discussing the ways of dealing with the problem of abuse. I used the Internet editions because of their accessibility and the wide choice of the articles. The electronic Guardian and Observer are basically the same papers as the printed editions, yet there happen slight differences in the number of articles in each issue, one of the advantages of the internet editions as they are not so limited by page space. I consider the texts coming from the electronic newspapers as good as those from printed editions since the internet is becoming an increasingly popular medium, almost as popular as television, radio and newspapers, and the number of its users is still growing. The number of British households that had access to the internet increased on average from 19% in 1999-2000 to 25% in the first quarter of 2000.[12]


The analysis of the newspapers’ ideology of domestic violence could be performed on different levels, yet because of the limited length of this paper I will only concentrate on the linguistic representations in the press. Language is the most important carrier of culture and its analysis reveals the ideologies it conveys, often implicitly, in this case the deeper sense of ‘domestic violence’ functioning within British society and culture. My analysis of the language of the articles will have a number of stages After a brief summary of the content of the texts, I will analyse the lexical structure of the headlines, particularly the choice of the noun phrases, verbs and clauses used and their connotations. Next, I will conduct a lexical analysis of the texts concentrating only on those noun phrases, clauses and sentences that describe two most important participants of domestic violence incidents: the victim and the oppressor, in order to discover what kind relations between them are foregrounded and who is blamed by the newspapers in the situations reported. I will also analyse the language used to comment on the problem of domestic violence and on particular acts of violence. In addition, I will search for instances of stereotypical thinking about abuse and for attempts to criticise popular myths connected with domestic violence existing in British society.


The majority of the articles offer an analysis of various aspects of domestic violence approached from different angles. They are usually written by people involved in the anti-domestic violence campaign or include the opinions of such people in support of the author’s claim. Only six of the texts are regular reports of domestic violence incidents and of their penal consequences. They present personal stories and descriptions of instances of abuse in the form of news reports, usually focusing on the findings of the police and court proceedings concerning particular cases (6, 9, 11, 16, 21, 24).[13] The remaining articles use real stories only as examples to illustrate the general problem and to provide a context for discussion. The stories that they present report numerous instances of battering and abuse (5, 8, 10, 22) and there are also stories of battered women killing violent men (5, 20). The remaining articles touch upon various aspects of family violence, including the scale of the phenomenon (7, 8), its psychological dimension (5), legislation (14, 18, 19, 23), institutional or individual work in prevention (3, 7, 10, 20, 22), domestic violence concerning ethnic minorities (5, 20), and finally, one article presents the problem of family violence abroad (25). A series of articles also appeared discussing the problem of child abuse and cruelty towards children, following Sarah Payne’s brutal murder by a paedophile in July 2000 (12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 22, 23). There are ten letters to the editor commenting on some of the articles from previous issues (1, 2, 15, 26).


  • “Behind closed doors” (5),
  • “Suffering in silence” (10),
  • “If it’s daddy, we don’t care” (12),
  • “Violence begins at home” (22),
  • “Abuse: bringing it home” (26),
  • “The home-made crime wave” (8).


The lexis of the headlines listed above manifests the newspapers’ tendency to suggest the private character of the domestic violence phenomenon. They signal that family violence is not brought into daylight but usually remains a private problem that concerns only the individuals involved. The headlines confirm and are confirmed by statistics revealing that the majority of incidents are not reported to the police. The occurrence of the word ‘home’ in the headlines has another function, that of creating contrast between the place of safety and company of people closest to us and the danger of experiencing abuse there. The term ‘domestic violence’ seems to be a contradiction: ‘domestic,’ which has connotations of peace and safety, and ‘violence.’ In the headline “Domestic violence explodes” (7), as well as in “The home-made crime wave” (8) mentioned above, there are traces of the anxiety about the rapid spreading of the phenomenon and its wide scale. A fear is built up of domestic violence as an uncontrollable and unstoppable element, flooding the country like a wave. The fact that it receives the grammatical position of the agent in some of the headlines [“Violence begins at home” (22), “Domestic violence explodes” (7)], suggests that it is an active factor and lives a life of its own, which makes it even more menacing.


The lexical choices made for naming the oppressor in the majority of the headlines suggest that domestic violence is a male domain:

  • “Hunt for husband after family killed” (11),
  • “Bored husband ‘asked friend to kill wife’” (6),
  • “Husband cleared of ordering contract killing” (21),
  • “If it’s daddy we don’t care” (12),
  • “Mothers’ boys” (1).


The headline “Attack on guide to beating wives” (17) also implies that domestic violence is a man’s ‘invention.’ Even the headline “Woman are violent too” (2) of the article which says that women are also responsible for many instances of violence, puts the blame on women only partially, implying that they only copy acts of aggression which are typical of men. There is only one headline in which a woman acts as a family oppressor: “Woman jailed for five years for throwing her six-year-old son to his death” (24).


The headlines blame society for ‘turning a blind eye’ to family violence, for not intervening [“If it’s daddy we don’t care” (12)]. The word ‘daddy’ is an affectionate name that children give to their fathers, and in this headline it is used in a reversed sense - daddy as a perpetrator, a person who destroys a child’s sense of safety. As far as the victims of family violence are concerned, the headlines suggest mainly women and children: ‘family’, i.e. wife and children (since the title is: “Hunt for husband after family killed”), ‘six-year-old son,’ ‘baby,’ ‘wife,’ ‘child,’ ‘wives.’ The labels for domestic violence are usually unequivocal: ‘violence’ (2x), ‘domestic violence,’ ‘abuse,’ ‘sex abuse,’ ‘crime.’ When the headlines refer to the acts of violence, they use straightforward words to describe them: ‘throwing someone to death,’ ‘death,’ ‘killing’ (3x), ‘blood,’ ‘beating’ and ‘smack.’


Finally, there is also a group of titles that suggest an active role of various institutions or organisations involved in anti-violence campaigns or providing support for victims:

  • “Sisters of mercy” (20),
  • “A tabloid horror story” (13),
  • “Appeal court ready to take a hard line” (14),
  • “Life support” (3).



The two main participants of the incidents described are the victim and the oppressor. Other parties involved in family violence situations also appear, including social workers or organisations specialising in providing help to victims of domestic violence, the police, law courts, the government, media people, public opinion, and experts on domestic violence issues. Here I shall discuss only the language referring to the two main participants, the perpetrator and the victim, as the most significant and meaningful instance of the press ideology in operation.


The perpetrator

In the majority of the articles the oppressor is a male, usually a husband or a father. The most frequent labels that the newspapers use when talking about the perpetrators is ‘a violent partner’ (10), ‘a violent husband’ (20), ‘a violent man’ or ‘violent men’ (7, 8), and ‘abusers’ (3). Terms also appear that suggest that the men who commit acts of family violence break the law, like for example: ‘perpetrators of domestic violence’, ‘a violent criminal’ and ‘offenders’ (8). Frequently the label connotes physical strength of the oppressor and his dominant position, the position of power over the victim: ‘bullies’, ‘a big lad’ (8), ‘the aggressor’, ‘a persecutor’, ‘an intimidating husband’ (3), or   descriptively, ‘the man who had waged a campaign of physical and sexual terror against her’ (20). The majority of the articles present the oppressor in distinctly negative terms, sometimes they categorise him or the act he committed in criminal terms. It is very clear in texts which serve the purposes of a campaign against family violence, where strong words, like ‘a child’s murderer’ or ‘a killer’ (12) are used. The article ‘Violence begins at home’ (22), which is a voice in the national discussion over the ban on children smacking, includes a direct critique of the MPs (past and present) who support (or even practise) corporal punishment. The politicians are presented as perpetrators and defined ironically as ‘decent and well-intentioned parents’, ‘a self-confessed spanker of children’ and ‘believers in corporal punishment’.


The victim

A lexical analysis of the descriptions of victims shows that the most frequently encountered terms are ‘a victim/victims’ (4, 5, 7, 8), or ‘a battered woman/women’ (3, 7). The descriptive phrases used to present victims connote their physical weakness and powerlessness [‘waiting to be asked’ (8), ‘those least able to defend themselves’ (22), or ‘a non-literate Muslim woman’ (20)], and all of them are defined in terms of their vulnerable age and/ or sex [‘a baby’ (5), ‘a budding adolescent’ (5), ‘women who suffer domestic violence’ (10), ‘a young girl’ (12), ‘small stepson’ (22), ‘children’ (22), ‘young woman’ (20), ‘battered women’ (3, 7), ‘six-year-old son’ (24), ‘the boy’ (24), ‘two baby sons’ (9), ‘the child’ (9)]. However, despite the lack of physical strength, the victims of family violence are described as having inner strength and stamina allowing them to ‘survive’ the most severe abuse. Most often, their experiences are described in terms of survival, and the victims are referred to as ‘a brave survivor’ (5), who ‘seems to exude an inner strength’ (5), ‘incredibly brave’ (20), ‘women survivors’ (3, 10). Elsewhere, the reader is informed that ‘[…] the woman wasn’t necessarily timid or passive’ (3). Frequently, positive features of the victims are exposed in order to evoke positive feelings towards them [‘talking with remarkable composure’ (5), ‘took pride in her children and her home’ (11), or ‘a little angel’ (24)].


Domestic violence

The most common terms used in the papers to describe domestic violence fall into several categories. The first set of terms categorises domestic violence as various types of aggression, general or specified [‘a problem’ (7), ‘an issue’ (8), ‘an abuse’ (5, 10), ‘beatings’ (5), ‘violence’ (12), ‘an act of violence’ (22), ‘domestic violence’ (3, 7, 8, 10, 20), ‘family violence’ (8), ‘domestic abuse’ (10), ‘rape and violence against women’ (10), ‘rape and sexual assault’ (10), ‘family attacks’ (8), ‘violent relationship(s)’ (10, 20), or ‘battering relationships’ (3)]. Another set of words and phrases describing the victims’ experiences are more loaded emotionally. The articles entitled ‘Behind closed doors’ (5), ‘Suffering in silence’ (10), ‘If it’s daddy, we don’t care’ (12), or ‘Sisters of mercy’ (20) are typical examples of texts which try to arouse the reader’s pity for the victims. They describe the difficult situation of the victims in a very convincing, vivid and expressive way. In ‘Behind closed doors’, Bobbie, a woman of Asian origin, experiences ‘cruel complexities of an adult world’, ‘almost unimaginable emotional turmoil’, ‘savage beatings by men’, ‘the pain outside and inside’ and ‘the mental torture’. Her life has been ‘like the improbable plot of a harrowing melodrama’, full of ‘brutal facts’, and she herself is a heroine of ‘an unusually intense and ugly story’ Other articles, which describe instances of death in consequence of domestic violence, use condemnatory adjectives like ‘appalling’ (11), ‘awful’ (12), ‘brutal’ (12), ‘bestial’ (12), ‘wicked’ (12), or ‘beyond belief’ (11, 12).


In the reports ‘Domestic violence explodes’ (7) and ‘The home-made crime wave’ (8) medical register is applied to treat domestic violence in terms of a disease. The problem is named ‘an epidemic’, requiring therapy ‘to cure’ it. The journalist discusses the effectiveness of ‘treatment programmes’ in ‘curing’ violent behaviours.[14]


Acts of violence

Here are some of the most significant examples of sentences describing particular acts of violence:

·         “She had been sexually abused from the age of five by the man she had thought was her father but who was, of course, her grandfather” (5),

·         “[…] Her boyfriend kicked her in the head with a steel-capped boot” (10),

·         “[…] Her partner threatened to kill her […]” (10),

·         “[…] He had regularly beaten his small stepson with a three-foot cane, causing prolonged bruising” (22),

·         “Allison Campbell […] picked up Derek […] and threw him from their tower block home […]” (24),

·         “Campbell picked up Derek and pushed him through safety netting on the balcony” (24),

·         “I grabbed hold of the younger one [daughter] by neck, pulled her into the bedroom and threw her on the bed and stormed out of the house” (8),

·         “[…] Dave threw a cup of scalding hot coffee at one of his daughters” (8),

·         “I had been working for years with a handful of staff at Chiswick, dealing with emergencies all day long, such as a woman whose husband had taken a hammer and chisel to her face which then needed 250 stitches to repair” (3),

·         “Another case was Marie Shahir, whose partner, in the midst of an argument about their newborn baby’s photographs, hit her head with a beer can” (3),

·         “Tony was himself caned as a schoolboy” (22),

·         “I was once whipped three times before breakfast […] and I do not think I was the worse for it” (22),

·         “She had been stabbed to death. Keiran, eight, and Jade, seven, were found strangled upstairs” (11)


In the majority of these sentences the clauses are built typically, i.e. with the agent at the beginning and the patient, or ‘experiencer’ after the verb. It is usually the oppressor that takes the grammatical position of the agent and the victim that takes the patient’s position. There is, however, a common tendency to use passive transformations when writing about incidents of domestic violence. This is either because the article is concentrated around the experience of the act of violence by the perpetrator himself, as in: ‘Tony was himself caned as a schoolboy’ (22), or in ‘I was once whipped three times before breakfast […] and I do not think I was the worse for it’ (22) or when the agent (the perpetrator) is not known but only suspected (when killing of a person is involved), e.g. ‘Asian women are driven to suicide and self-harm’ (5), or ‘She had been stabbed to death. Keiran, eight, and Jade, seven, were found strangled upstairs’ (11).


The verbs describing particular acts of violence are varied, as the papers touch different aspects of abuse and exemplify them with different instances. The most ‘gentle’ acts of domestic violence appear in the articles dealing with physical punishment inflicted on children: ‘smack’ (22, 23), ‘beat’ (17, 23), ‘spank’ (23), ‘wallop’ (23), ‘cane’ (23), ‘whip’ (23). There appear also the names for more serious and severe acts of violence and they include: ‘sexual abuse’ (5), ‘kicking in the head’ (10), and also verbal and emotional abuse, like ‘threatening to kill’ (10), or ‘driving to suicide and self-harm’ (5). There are also verbs that connote the abuser’s obvious physical superiority over the victim: ‘picked up and threw’, ‘picked up and pushed’ (24), ‘grabbed hold of’, ‘pushed’ and ‘threw’ (8). The worst incidents end up with ‘strangling’ (12), ‘stabbing’ (12), or ‘murdering’ (9). Odd acts of violence are also reported, i.e. ‘throwing a cup of scalding coffee on a daughter’ (8), ‘taking a hammer and chisel to wife’s face’ (3), or ‘hitting the wife’s head with a beer can’ (3).


Stereotypes, myths and common beliefs

The traces of various stereotypes and myths concerning domestic violence that function within British society can be found in the analysed articles. The newspapers usually challenge and question those beliefs, though sometimes indirectly One of such myths is the belief that pregnancy is always ‘a blessed state’ for a woman, questioned in ‘Suffering in silence’. ‘There is increasing evidence exploding the myth that pregnancy is a haven of peace and bliss for women’ (10). Instead, The Guardian offers an opinion that childbirth is a difficult moment for the family and brings about danger of violent outbursts: ‘abuse often begins or worsens during pregnancy’, ‘pregnancy is often a trigger point for abuse’ as the birth of a baby usually brings ‘huge emotional and financial stress on families’ (10). The paper also quotes the results of a survey according to which ‘a total 65% of the women were assaulted during pregnancy’ (10). Another myth that the same article addresses is connected with the psychology of the victim of domestic violence. Health workers are accused for ‘turning a blind eye’ to evident instances of battering among their patients since it is generally believed that either a woman’s situation is not that bad, or that it must simply suit her, otherwise she would have escaped such a relationship: ‘they assume if you are in that situation you don’t want to get out’ (10).


In ‘If it’s daddy, we don’t care’ (12), the reader is confronted with ‘one of the most pervasive myths of the past two decades - that the two-parent family home is a haven’ (12), a safe place for its members. This common belief is so deeply rooted that it successfully prevents society from acknowledging the truth that the complete family home has become a place of torture and cruel death for many children. Yet to admit this would mean to contradict the idyllic image of the family and to agree that evil does not only come from the outside, but also at the hands of the closest family members. The same stereotype is questioned by Neil Blacklock of the Domestic Violence Intervention Project in west London, quoted in ‘The home-made crime wave’ (8), who says that ‘People are almost certainly wrong if they believe they are more at risk of attack on the streets than in their own homes’ (8). Thus the papers contribute to creation of a new and controversial vision of the family home as a place dangerous for its members.


Helena Kennedy, one of the interviewees in The Observer’sLife support’ (3), describes her attempts to combat the stereotypical perception of the victim and the perpetrator of domestic violence in the courts:

I was trying to show that people like the chap in the dock, who in fact came across as a gentle soul and quite likeable, can also, behind closed doors, sometimes be violent. And a woman can sometimes be psychologically frozen and believe that the man who was once charming, who has turned into her persecutor, can be won back by her adjusting her behaviour. (3)


The article ‘Violence begins at home’ (22), which criticises smacking of children, discredits ‘the hoariest old cliché in the spanking phrasebook […]: ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’’ (22), according to which corporal punishment can do much good to a child and serves well in his/her upbringing.


The fact that The Guardian and The Observer present men as the main perpetrators of domestic violence contributes to the creation of a stereotypical pattern of thinking about the British man as a violent, rash male who bursts out with anger about any trifle [‘newborn baby’s photographs’ (3)] and frequently resorts to horrific acts of abuse. Yet, on the whole, the newspapers seems to argue against the traditional treatment of family problems as strictly private matters, and for more involvement of public institutions and communities in the situations of perceived violence and abuse (10, 12).



‘[...] However many times we are confronted with true-life stories that may contradict the fairytale construction of a happy family, we refuse to abandon the image.’[15] This sentence, coming from one of the articles, most accurately characterises the British stereotypical way of thinking about domestic violence as isolated pathological incidents that can never happen in a conventional family. On the basis of the analyses of the selected articles from The Guardian and The Observer, it is possible to define the meaning of domestic violence that functions in British culture. It is a phenomenon perceived in terms of acts of physical abuse, as a serious offence against the law involving use of physical force by one person, usually a man, against another closely related to the oppressor - a woman or a child. It is also understood that there exist verbal or emotional forms of domestic violence which are no less harmful to the victims and important to be discussed publicly. Domestic violence is generally regarded as a male domain, yet violent incidents with women acting as oppressors are not excluded. If the analysed texts accurately reflect the climate surrounding domestic violence, there is a lot of sympathy for the victims.  Domestic violence emerging from its newspaper representations is a classless phenomenon no longer confined to working-class people, the poor and other underprivileged groups. There is also fear expressed of the scale and the spread of domestic abuse in British society.


The discussion over paedophilia and child abuse that went on in the British press after Sarah Payne’s murder produced interesting insights into British attitudes towards domestic violence. It turns out that the British approve of a softer form of domestic violence such as physical punishment of children, which they consider quite normal, or even beneficial to a disobedient child. The fact is that the British are taught to live with and hear about violence on a daily basis. They are used to learning about bloody events in Northern Ireland, violent clashes during workers’ strikes, acts of racial violence and the excesses of football hooligans.[16] All this makes them accept different forms of violence in their lives more easily. However, The Guardian and The Observer take a different stance on the problem. The Guardian, for instance, seems to accept a cycle of violence theory where the violent and abusive family brings up violent society members. Therefore both papers openly criticise tolerance of domestic incidents of violence.


The analysed articles further suggest that the common British attitudes towards domestic violence are shaped by stereotypes, like the belief in the safe nature of home, or in the right of parents to use physical punishment as a means of bringing up children. In British culture domestic violence is largely considered a private matter, too shameful to be discussed publicly. The papers studied break away from this way of thinking, support new initiatives aiming at changing this attitude and see a chance for diminishing the scale of the problem in talking about it openly, and educating society about the forms of violence and ways of dealing with it. They argue for more social concern and interest in the tragedies happening in private homes. The British should finally realise that the home has never been a safe and cosy place, and that the family very often becomes a source of suffering and danger for its most vulnerable members.        


The newspapers rarely get involved or initiate social crusades for or against something, especially the delicate problem of family violence. If suddenly there appears a series of articles on something previously considered a taboo topic, it indicates a visible change in public attitudes towards the problem. By reporting incident of domestic violence, the newspapers testify to a change in thinking; by creating specific representations of the phenomenon, they contribute to the increased awareness of abuse committed at home and greater readiness of witnesses and organisations to intervene.



Primary sources:

Articles from The Guardian and The Observer

(In chronological order. Names of the sections given according to the Internet editions of The Guardian and The Observer)


1.        Lees, Sue. Stephanie Calman. “Mothers’ boys” (2 letters). The Guardian, 6th July 2000, Letters section..

2.        Cameron, D. A James. Nick Fearns. “Women are violent too” (3 letters). The Guardian, 7th July 2000, Letters section.

3.        Dennison, Stephanie. “Life support.” The Observer, 9th July 2000, Life section.

4.        Rabinovitch, Dina. “Courts leave children confused and parents feeling like criminals.” The Observer, 9th July 2000, Focus section.

5.        Arnot, Chris. “Behind closed doors.” The Guardian, 12th July 2000, Society section.

6.        Chrisafis, Angelique. “Bored husband ‘asked friend to kill wife’.” The Guardian, 13th July 2000, News section.

7.        Bright, Martin. “Domestic violence explodes.” The Observer, 16th July 2000, UK news section.

8.        Bright, Martin. “The home-made crime wave.” The Observer, 16th July 2000, UK news section.

9.        Kelso, Paul. “Baby death findings ‘wrong’.” The Guardian, 18th July 2000, UK news section.

10.     Moore, Wendy. “Suffering in silence.” The Guardian, 19th July 2000, Society section.

11.     Bowers, Simon. “Hunt for husband after family killed.” The Guardian, 19th July 2000, UK news section.

12.     Birkett, Dea. “If it’s daddy, we don’t care.” The Guardian, 20th July 2000, G2 section.

13.     “A tabloid horror story” (a leader). The Guardian, 24th July 2000, Leaders section.

14.     Dyer, Clare. “Appeal court ready to take a hard line.” The Guardian, 25th July, 2000, UK news section.

15.     Eaton, Pamela. “The long walk from violence” (a letter). The Guardian, 26th July 2000, Society section.

16.     “OJ vows not to pay blood money.” The Guardian, 26th July 2000, In brief section.

17.     “Attack on guide to beating wives.” The Guardian, 26th July 2000, In brief section.

18.     Travis, Alan, and Clare Dyer. “Sex law shake-up brings tougher penalties.” The Guardian, 27th July 2000, UK news section.

19.     “Law for a liberal age” (a leader). The Guardian, 27th July 2000, Leaders section.

20.     Benn, Melissa. “Sisters of mercy.” The Guardian, 27th July 2000, Women section.

21.     Chrisafis, Angelique. “Husband cleared of ordering contract killing.” The Guardian, 29th July 2000, UK news section.

22.     Wheen, Francis. “Violence begins at home.” The Guardian, 2nd August 2000, G2 section.

23.     Chrisafis, Angelique. “Childminders condemn proposal to let them smack children.” The Guardian, 5th August 2000, News section.

24.     Scott, Kirsty. “Woman jailed for five years for throwing her six-year-old son to his death.” The Guardian, 5th August 2000, UK news section.

25.     McGreal, Chris. “South Africa slow to curb spiralling child sex abuse.” The Guardian, 14th August 2000, International section.

26.     Lovell-Jones, Marion. Yvonne Harris, and Megan Walters. Syd Hambly. “Abuse: bringing it home” (4 letters). The Guardian, 14th August 2000, Letters section.



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O’Sullivan, Tim, Brian Dutton, and Philip Rayner. Studying the Media: An Introduction. London, New York, NY: Edward Arnold, 1994.

Parton, Nigel. The politics of child abuse.1985; rpt. London: Macmillan Education Ltd, 1991.

Priestland, Gerald. The Future of Violence. London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd, 1974.

Swift, Carolyn F. “Stopping the Violence: Prevention Strategies for Families.” In Families in Transition. Primary Prevention Programs that Work. Eds. Lynne Bond and Barry M. Wagner. Newburry Park: Sage Publications, Inc., 1988, pp. 252-285.

The Office for National Statistics. Britain 2001. The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom. London: The Stationery Office, 2000.

Volpe, Joseph S. “Effects of Domestic Violence on Children and Adolescents: An Overview.” The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress Home Page. 1996. 5 chapters. The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. 8th December 2000. <http://www.aaets.org>.

Women’s Aid Website. 30th January 1999. Women’s Aid Federation of England. 8th December 2000. <http://www.womensaid.org.uk>


[1] Roger Fowler, Language in the News. Discourse and Ideology in the Press (London and New York: Routledge, 1991), pp. 1-2.

[2] Pat Mayhew, Natalie Aye Maung, and Catriona Mirlees-Black, The 1992 British Crime Survey (London: HMSO, 1993), p. 84, fig. 6.1.

[3] Ibid., p. 97, fig. 6.6.

[4] Martin Bright, “Domestic violence explodes,” The Observer (16th July 2000), UK news section.

   Martin Bright, “The home-made crime wave,” The Observer (16th July 2000), UK news section.

   “Facts and figures: domestic violence – fact sheet,” Women’s Aid Website.




  “Myths And Facts About Domestic Violence,” 3 pp., Facts and stats (29th December 1999.)

  The 2000 British Crime Survey quoted after The Observer:  Bright, “The home-made crime wave.”

[5] “Facts and figures: What is domestic violence,” Women’s Aid Website, (30th January 1999, Women’s Aid Federation of England, 8th December 2000, <http://www.womensaid.org.uk>).

   Sharon Grace, Policing domestic violence in the 1990s (London: HMSO, 1995).

   Mandana Hendessi, “Voices of children witnessing domestic violence: a form of child abuse,” untitled site, ed. J. Sweeney, 1997, 4 chapters (Coventry Domestic Violence Focus Group, 28th December 1999, <http://www.coventry.gov.uk/social/child/dome/witness>).


[6] Nigel Parton, The Politics of Child Abuse, (1985; rpt. London: Macmillan Education Ltd, 1991).

    “Facts and figures: domestic violence – fact sheet, Children & domestic violence.” Women’s Aid Website.

    H. Hughes, D. Parkinson, and M. Vargo, “Witnessing Spouse Abuse And Experiencing Physical Abuse: A ‘Double Whammy’?” Journal Of Family Violence, 4 (2) (1989), pp. 197-209.

    L. Bowker, M. Arbitell, and J. McFerron, “On The Relationship Between Wife Beating And Child Abuse,” in Feminist Perspectives On Wife Abuse, eds. K. Yllo and M. Bograd (London: Sage, 1988).

    H. Hughes, “Impact Of Spouse Abuse On Children Of Battered Women,” Violence Update, 1 (August 1992), pp. 9-11.

    NCH Action For Children, The Hidden Victims: Children And Domestic Violence (London: NCH Action For Children, 1994).


    Joseph S. Volpe, “Effects of Domestic Violence on Children and Adolescents: An Overview,” The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress Home Page, (1996, 5 chapters, The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, 8th December 2000, <http://www.aaets.org>).

[7] Hendessi.

     “Facts and figures: What causes domestic violence?” Women’s Aid Website.

    P. Jaffe, D. Wolfe, and S. Wilson, Children of Battered Women (Canada: Sage Publications, 1990).

    “Domestic Violence Tied to Alcohol,” The Associated Press, AltaVista Live, 15th December 1999 (AltaVista Company: 28th December 1999, <http://live.av.com/scrips/editorial>).

   “Domestic Violence,” Cleveland, Ohio Domestic Violence Resource (23rd March 1997, updated 14th June 1999, 5 pp, 29th December 1999).

   Parton, Politics.


                 Carolyn F. Swift, “Stopping the Violence: Prevention Strategies for Families,” in Families in Transition. Primary Prevention Programs that Work, eds. Lynne Bond and Barry M. Wagner (Newburry Park: Sage Publications, Inc., 1988), pp. 252-285.

[8] “Protection from violence under the civil law: New remedies under the Family Law Act 1996 Part IV,” Women’s Aid Website.

      “Protection from violence under the civil law: Summary,” Women’s Aid Website.

                    “Protection under the criminal law: Summary,” Women’s Aid Website.

[9] “Families without fear. Women’s Aid agenda for action on domestic violence: Recommendations for a national strategy,” Women’s Aid Website

[10] Tim O’Sullivan, Brian Dutton, and Philip Rayner, Studying the Media: An Introduction (London,  New York, NY: Edward Arnold, 1994), ch. 4: ‘Representation,’ pp. 113, 117.

[11] The Guardian and The Observer are published in London and Manchester by Guardian Newspapers Limited, which was founded in 1821 in Manchester by John Edward Taylor. The first issue of The Guardian appeared on May 5, 1821 and throughout the years the newspaper has been strengthening its position of the dominant leftist broadsheet in the UK. The articles in The Guardian  and in The Observer are aimed at educated, upper class readers. They deal with serious political and social issues offering thorough analyses of discussed concepts, frequently accompanied with commentaries by outstanding experts.

[12] The Office for National Statistics, Britain 2001. The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom (London: The Stationery Office, 2000), p. 118.

[13] All the titles of the articles are listed in the bibliography on pp. 17-18.

[14] Such an approach to domestic violence goes along with the disease model of domestic violence described by Nigel Parton in The Politics of Child Abuse.

[15] Dea Birkett, “If it’s daddy, we don’t care,” The Observer, 20th July 2000, G2 section.

[16] Gerald Priestland, The Future of Violence (London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd, 1974).

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