Comparing love and domestic violence in heterosexual and same sex relationships



This ESRC funded project was a collaboration between the Universities of Sunderland and Bristol. It involved a comparative study of domestic violence in heterosexual and same sex relationships, exploring in particular the impact of ‘narratives of love’ as rationales for explaining and enduring domestic violence. Feminist scholarship has considered gender and power as central issues in heterosexual domestic violence and ‘narratives of love’ as key features in help-seeking decisions. However, little is known about domestic violence in same sex relationships where gender may not be a similar factor. The study involved a national incidence survey within the same sex community with use of secondary data on heterosexual domestic violence; focus groups with both heterosexual and those from same sex relationships; and semi-structured interviews with a sample of heterosexuals and individuals in same sex relationships to explore the ‘narratives of love’ used to make sense of violence in adult relationships.


Download the final report (PDF, 197kB) published by the ESRC.

All reports and further details of this project can be found on the ESRC website.

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