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Perpetrator Data


There is a growing body of research that gives insight into the behaviors and patterns of perpetrators. Research on batterers demonstrates the mechanisms most often used to exert power and control over a target – from the earliest warning signs to the most extreme forms of violence (Johnson et al., 2006). Literature examining the behaviors of sexual offenders, particularly offenders known to the victim, give profound and clear insight into their patterns – including how they target, assess, and isolate a victim. (Lisak & Roth, 1988; Lisak & Miller, 2002).

There is also significant research delineating the characteristics, risk factors, psychosocial and psychological attributes of physical, sexual and emotional child abusers (i.e., Finkelhor & Ormond, 2001; Milner & Dopke, 1997; Rodriguez & Price, 2004; Quinsey & Lalumiere, 2001).

Application to Violence Prevention:

If Social Diffusion Theory speaks to “who” and Bystander Theory speaks to “what”, then understanding how perpetrators operate in targeting, assessing and victimizing speaks to “how.” While the proposed model wants to engage bystanders in active intervention when they see a high-risk situation, the perpetrator literature is valuable in clearly delineating what constitutes a high-risk situation. By knowing what a perpetrator is likely to do, a bystander can be alerted to behaviors that require intervention.


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