Newspoll: 53-47 to Coalition

The latest fortnightly Newspoll has the Coalition’s lead at 53-47 on two-party preferred, but this obscures a lot of movement on the primary vote: Labor down four after a curious aberration a fortnight ago to 31 per cent, the Coalition down two to 43 per cent (its lowest result in almost exactly a year), the Greens up one to 12 per cent and “others” on 14 per cent (“last that high in September 2006”, GhostWhoVotes advises). Julia Gillard has recovered a preferred prime minister lead she lost two surveys ago, now leading 39-37 after trailing 38-36 a fortnight ago, but this is very much a case of the lesser of two evils: she has recovered only two points from the slump on her approval rating in the previous poll, to now be at 28 per cent, with her disapproval also down two to 62 per cent. Tony Abbott is respectively up one to 32 per cent and up one to a new high of 58 per cent. The incurably spin-happy Australian is selling this as “Wayne Swan’s attacks on the nation’s billionaire mining magnates (having) failed to lift Labor’s electoral support”, despite the figures offering no basis of any kind for making such a claim.

Meanwhile, Essential Research advises: “Because of public holiday in Melbourne our data processing people weren’t working today so report will go out tomorrow. And it will be worth the wait.”

UPDATE: Essential Research continues to part company with the phone pollsters, with its Coalition lead out from 56-44 to 57-43. Labor is down a point on the primary vote to 31 per cent, and has dropped three points over the past four weeks, with the Coalition steady on 49 per cent (up two on four weeks ago) and the Greens steady on 10 per cent. As in Newspoll, the monthly measure of personal ratings has Julia Gillard taking a hit in the wake of the leadership spill, her approval down four points to 32 per cent and her disapproval up eight to 61 per cent. Tony Abbott’s figures are little changed at 36 per cent (up one) and 52 per cent (down one), and he has narrowed his deficit as preferred prime minister from 41-34 to 40-37. Approval of Bob Carr’s appointment to the Senate and foreign ministry is evenly divided at 37 per cent approval and 36 per cent approval, with strong disapproval (17 per cent) heavily outweighing strong approval (7 per cent) (which to my mind doesn’t reflect too well on the insight of the punters).

Other questions included an amusing experimental effort in which half the respondents were asked if they agreed with Wayne Swan that “Australia’s wealthiest individuals are using their wealth to try to influence public opinion and government policy to further their own commercial interests”, and the other half if they agreed with the statement without it being attributed to Wayne Swan. The results were extremely similar – 58 per cent agreed and 26 per cent disagreed when it was attributed to Wayne Swan, compared with 60 per cent and 24 per cent when it wasn’t – but it became so because strong partisan effects cancelled each other out, with Coalition voters especially far more inclined to reject the assertion (36 per cent agree, 51 per cent disagree) coming from Swan than when it was unattributed (55 per cent agree, 30 per cent agree). The poll also finds a decline in support for the mining tax since the question was last asked in February, with support down three points to 52 per cent and opposition up six to 34 per cent. Respondents were also asked to identify what constituted “middle income” ($60,000-$79,000 getting the highest response for individuals), “well off” and “wealthy” (with responses here very widely spread). Eighty-six per cent believed social class still existed in Australia against only 8 per cent who didn’t.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

2,394 comments on “Newspoll: 53-47 to Coalition”

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  1. Marrickville Mauler @ 2217

    bemused you are freaking me right out today . Instant dislike to Cossie at uni is one thing, admirable of course and consistent with reaction from a dear friend of mine in same time and place, but “Install cccp” !! Wow. Hadnt picked you as an advocate of Leninism.

    (The blue light indicates that a joke is intended)

    Hmmm got me wondering if I knew your friend!

    I shared some Economics and Politics lectures and tutorials with Costello. There is about a 10 year age gap between us as I was there as a mature age student.

    You will have to take up the issue of closet Leninism with comrade Musrum – he wrote the script. I am not that clever. Lenin always struck me as too austere and cold blooded. Marx was a better writer.

  2. Castle 2235, Tom 2238, those are very good, but where is the BISON or WARTHOG like badge to go with them?

    Appoint Someone Simply Harping On Legacy Endeavours maybe?

  3. William at 2179…..

    re your link tag

    This makes a link.

    if you insert target=”_blank” after the URL the link opens in a brand new window. Not the same as the Bludgers Blog page you leave from… saves using the back button.


    This bracket at the start without the semicolons .. ‘This makes a link.

    This bracket at the start ‘

    Hope i have not confused you there …

  4. PTMD @ 2242

    You got within squashing distance of Cossie and held back? I don’t know if I am more disappointed at the lost opportunity or in awe of your self-restraint.

    Puffy, my plea in mitigation is that I could not foresee the future and what he would become. I expected him to grow up.

    But you can perhaps draw comfort from the fact that he did get snotted by another student at Monash, one of the wilder lefties named Red Bingham.

    Apparently at the time Costello cowered and squealed “Don’t hit me Red, don’t hit me”. I wish I had been there to see and savour every moment.

  5. [I for one welcome the enhanced level of decrepitude evident in Hammock Man’s visage, I find it comforting.]

    poroti, i know nuffin’

  6. btw

    cossie got caught out

    he specifically stated that he didnt know WHO the board had chosen

    such arrogance when earlier he acknowledged that the board had allegedly nominated him


  7. Ummm.. just watched Costello’s widdle whinge on 7:30.

    This man was at one time considered PM material??

    I mean, he got the job on the board of the future fund at the gift of Kevin Rudd who seems to have made that gift in order to tweak the nipples of the Opposition rather than anything else.

    He also seemed to be spruiking a bit for his book that was such a success after all wasn’t it??

    Does he realize how much of a complete dick he looks, and how much that complaining NOW just plays to his reputation for wanting things handed to him?

    Ahhh, maybe its all a cunning plan to make Kelly O’Dwyer who succeeded him in his seat look good??

  8. PTMD @ 2263

    bemused 2259
    Where was you-tube when we needed it?

    Yes indeed. But of course back then video cameras were very expensive and not common, mobile phones didn’t exist… 🙁

    For some reason or other Red Bingham keeps popping up in Facebook as someone I might know… tempted to send a belated message of congratulations and ask what made him stop.

  9. [But you can perhaps draw comfort from the fact that he did get snotted by another student at Monash, one of the wilder lefties named Red Bingham.

    Apparently at the time Costello cowered and squealed “Don’t hit me Red, don’t hit me”. I wish I had been there to see and savour every moment.]

    Bingham was an anarchist and all-round fruit loop. In fact he was so off the planet that there were rumours later-on that he was the ASIO guy on campus. Let’s face it, he’d have had the perfect cover, being just about the biggest ratbag there.

    The incident in question occurred in the Student Union while Custard was still a member of the Labor Supporters Club, when he and Bingham were alone together in a room. His cry “dont’ hit me Red” was heard by others (but no-one actually saw anything) and he was “rescued”, as I recall, by another couple of labor supporters, Alan Kornhauser and Dave Grey (if memory serves), who burst into the room.

    He ended-up with a red cheek.

    Can’t recall if any charges were laid, but I suspect not. Apart from Costello and Bingham there were no eyewitneses to the alleged assault.

    No doubt if Kornhauser and Grey had known what Costello was going to become, they just might have taken their time busting into that room.

  10. I am having to watch stuff in real time.

    I think the recorder blew up in yesterday’s electric storm. It did go Fizz. I watched it happening. Duh.

    It made electric blue colors and zzzzt sounds.

    I had unplugged everything except the new Topfield. I had even bought surge things, sure enough, not even plugged them in.

    Since then, well.

    So. Did watch in real time, Costello.

    Joke, assuredly.

    One could even be left with an impression that he had put his own personal fortune into a stake everything.

    For I suppose, the good of, who exactly?

  11. smithe @ 2267

    Bingham was an anarchist and all-round fruit loop. In fact he was so off the planet that there were rumours later-on that he was the ASIO guy on campus. Let’s face it, he’d have had the perfect cover, being just about the biggest ratbag there.

    But if he donged Costello, he is my type of ratbag. 👿

    Hmmm and it is the same Dave Grey, he later became a state Labor MP for Syndal. He was also a mate of Malcolm Farnsworth. Small world isn’t it?

  12. Last evening about this time, I posted about my happy encounters with the health system, including my recent acquisition of a cochlear implant. A number of PBers responded with generous remarks and good wishes, some with a note of sympathy. This alerted me to the fact that I may have implied (or allowed the inference) that I was feeling sorry for myself. While my deafness has compromised some aspects of my life (now largely corrected), I want to reassure well-wishers that I have had a very fortunate life (far more so than Bert Facey, in my judgement).

    I hold a winning raffle-ticket in life being born in Oz at close to an ideal time in history, when access to education was becoming widely available and opening up opportunities for people of modest talent, previously unthinkable for working-class boys from ruralia. I had a rewarding working life (adequate in material terms, massively more so in the more significant aspects of fulfilment).

    I have always had people who care for me in my life, and this continues. With the exception of my defective hearing, I enjoy excellent health, and have every expectation that will continue for a good few years yet. I value my sense of engagement in politics, though I do wonder what unconscious crime I must have committed to suffer the punishment of having Kevin Andrews as my MP for life.

    BH early this morning asked if the cochlear implant was an Australian invention. Dr. Graham Clark (University of Melbourne) was in the forefront of the research effort, although not the first or only one in the field. Melbourne remains a major centre of the development, and as BH suggests this is another example of our country punching above its weight in an important scientific field. (Wiki has a useful summary of the history of the development).

  13. Another violence advocate… sry FAILED candidate

    GhostWhoVotes ‏ @GhostWhoVotes Reply Retweeted Favorite · Open
    #Newspoll QLD Seat of Ashgrove Better MP for Ashgrove: Jones 53 Newman 41 #qldvotes #auspol
    Retweeted by Gusface

  14. PTMD @ 2271

    I wish I had been at that uni.

    I was a part-timer so missed out on a lot of fun and games but I got to hear about a bit of it. I was there just after the Albert Langer era but had some friends who experienced that.

  15. Peter Fuller @ 2274

    And I think you are another person who I have encountered on my journey through life.

    Were you in the ALP and YLA over in the Croydon area back in the 1970s?

    If so, it is hard to imagine that tall, skinny, long haired youth now reporting all the symptoms of aging 😉

  16. [Apparently Chris Berg from the IPA has now been made editor of The Drum replacing Jonathan Green.]

    Evening all.

    Is this true? Surely it’s just a twitter rumour…

  17. The interesting thing about that Ashgrove NewsPoll is that they have the LNP primary vote back at 49pc and with that level of support they should win.

  18. myk42 @ 2283

    GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll QLD Seat of Ashgrove Primary Votes: ALP 44 LNP 49 GRN 5 #qldvotes #auspol

  19. And here’s a piccie from those Bright College Days at Monash:

    The group includes Costello (far L), Kornhauser, (next to him), Michael Danby (front row, 2nd from right), Paul Smith (front row, right) I’m the dude in the joe-cool aviators behind P Smith in the back row (who happens to be my brother). I was not an office holder, just there for the ride.

    It was taken in the Monash Union, I think. Can’t remember much of it. Dunno why Danby was there, so far as I know, he went to Melbourne.

  20. []

    Costello unhinging.

    The govt was right to reject him in favour of more suitable candidates.

    Thankfully Rudd no longer leads Labor, or we might have seen another Liberal appointed to a plum position!

  21. DavidWH @ 2287

    Thanks bemused I don’t know how to post links from my IPhone.

    Pleased to be of service comrade, but disappointed you are still drawn to the dark side.

    I know how to do it on my iPhone but it is damned fiddly. 🙁

    This is also interesting

    GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll QLD Seat of Ashgrove: ALP 48 LNP 52 #qldvotes #auspol

    ALP not doing well on preferences.

  22. 2274 Peter Fuller

    Missed all yours, till now.

    Great thing, the cochlear.

    I worked with a lass who was one of the earliest recipients.

    She was oh, I suppose, about 25 years old. If that. At the time of the device after implementation.

    I cannot say if it made a huge difference to her, she was an accomplished signer.

    Her personality was terrific.

    What I can say, is that it made a big difference to those who wished to communicate with her and had neither the means or comprehension to bother otherwise.

    Perhaps that is a tough assessment.

    There we go.

    Fantastic, that you have the opportunity, too, to just be in the strange world as we know it. On any level, by any means.

  23. smithe @ 2286

    Interesting link there.

    I guess one thing I can claim to my credit is that I was never taken in for a moment by Costello in his pretence of being Labor leaning. Seems lots of others were (not meaning to have a go at you). I just saw him spending too much time sucking up to Libs including Michael Kroger.

  24. [Thankfully Rudd no longer leads Labor, or we might have seen another Liberal appointed to a plum position!]

    Yes, Rudd’s regrettable tendency to appoint burnt-out Tory hacks to sinecures must have been something to do with his tendency to wear his Christianity on his sleeve, like some sort of badge of honour: Turn the other cheek, and all that.

    Whatever it was, it was a pretty stupid thing to do.

    You can’t mend bridges with this lot. They’re either kicking your arsk or grovelling at your boots. There is no middle ground.

    Treat them generously and they’ll hate you for it, then turn and stab you in the back at the first opportunity. Just look at Cossie and Downer’s continual attempts to sink the slipper into the Government in the MSM.

    I say keep that boot on their throats. Give them nothing.

    At least they can respect that.

  25. Oh, tutt.

    Forgot, Kevin Andrews.

    Is that worth a cochlear? Well, this is weird. The following is a bit of research ….

    I copied it and lost it on the iPad. Suddenly shows up. Anyway interesting, apologies Wiliam. No topic, large post.

    Educational, curriculm-based programs, such as the Domestic Containment Program in Duluth, Minnesota (Pense and Paymar, 1993), have used the most inclusive definition of what may be described as psychological violence.  This definition of psychological abuse is one of the most inclusive or broadest in that it includes the types of behaviors that have traditionally been viewed as dysfunctional or maladaptive but not “violent”. This definition stems from the ideology of the Duluth program. The problem of battering is understood from a sociopolitical perspective, rather than a psychological perspective (Paymar, 1993). The focus in their program is on the exploitation of women through men’s use of techniques (physical, sexual, and psychological violence) that upset the balance of power between men and women. They view the main purpose for men’s violence against women to be an effort to maintain control and power rather than a result of psychological deficiencies (Stets and Pirog-Good, 1990). The crucial difference between the profeminist approach to treating male batterers and other psychological approaches is that the profeminist approach focuses on the sexist attitudes that are precipitant of violence rather than the psychological causes. Additionally, profeminist programs tend to minimize the differences between batterers and non batterers, and hence the broader definition of psychological violence, allowing the men to look at the ways in which all men devalue women and assert their male privilege. Heavy emphasis is placed on the man examining how his behavior has affected his partner or family, and ways that he can make them safe from his violence. Although this perspective has been questioned from both a practical and philosophical standpoint (see Dutton, 1994 for an excellent review of this issue), many programs around the country use this philosophy as a basis for their treatment of male batterers.

    The power and control wheel is used in their groups to help men identify their coercive behaviors that may lead to physical or sexual violence if their attempts to get what they want is frustrated. The behaviors listed in the power and control is are viewed as being no different than physical or sexual violence in that they serve the same function – to control and dominate their partners. Using this model, programs using the Duluth Model will work with any man who demonstrates these behaviors and therefore are labeled abusive. One outcome of using this model is to define some men as batterers or abusers who in the past may have been labeled as domineering, authoritative, unfair fighters, or chauvinistic. Their power and control wheel describes eight forms of psychological violence consisting of specific behaviors.

    _ Using coercion and threats (making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her, threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, or to report her to welfare, making her drop charges, making her do illegal things)

    Using economic power (preventing her from getting or keeping a job, making her ask for money, giving her an allowance, taking her money, not letting her know about or have access to family income)

    Using male privilege (treating her like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the master of the castle, being the one to define men and women’s roles)

    Using children (making her feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay messages, using visitation to harass her, threatening to take away the children)

    Minimizing, denying, and blaming (making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously, saying the abuse didn’t happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying she caused it)

    Using isolation (controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads and where she goes, limiting her outside involvement, using jealousy to justify actions)

    Using emotional abuse (putting her down, making her feel bad about herself, calling her names, making her think she’s crazy, playing mind games, humiliating her, making her feel guilty)

    Using intimidation (making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying her property, abusing pets, displaying weapons)

    Based on this model, Shepard and Campbell (1992) developed the Abusive Behavior Inventory, a thirty item instrument that uses a five point Likert scale to measure the frequency of abusive behaviors during a six month period. This scale is based on the Duluth feminist perspective that views physical abuse and a means to maintain power and control over victims and that psychologically abusive behaviors reinforce this dynamic (Shepard and Campbell, 1992). This scale is similar to the Conflict Tactic Scale in that it includes both physical and psychological violence (here the authors refer to the power and control wheel descriptors as psychological violence). The authors differentiate their scale from the Conflict Tactics Scale in that it includes sexual abuse, other forms of psychological abuse not included in the Conflict Tactics Scale and, most importantly, it is not framed within the context of conflict, but rather abuse. This scale is useful for both the assessment and treatment process. The scale can be administered to the client and his/her partner during the assessment process so as to complete a violence history. It can be useful to assess for minimization and denial by comparing answers to the questions. During treatment, a similar check list could be filled out each week by group participants to determine if their violent behaviors persist.

    The Penal Code and Psychological Violence
    Use of the criminal penal code is one way of formulating a more clear, reliable and useful definition of psychological violence (Deerings California Penal Code, 1995). In most states a threat to hurt or batter is called assault. Simple assault may be a verbal act but is most commonly accompanied by a physical gesture, such as threatening with a fist or an object. Aggravated assault is usually a threat to kill as indicated by the use of a weapon, such as a knife or a gun. Threats to kill or terrorizing threats are also described in the penal code. Therefore, if we were to use the law as the criterion for defining psychological violence, then any threat to hurt or kill would be a part of this definition.

    Additionally, stalking would be an important part of this definition (Sonkin, 1994a/b). Stalking includes any attempt on the perpetrator’s behalf to follow, watch, harass, terrorize, or otherwise contact his partner against her desires. These contacts include in-person, telephone or mail contact, or communications through other persons. Stalking also includes any specific threats to kill or otherwise harm her, as well as veiled threats to kill or harm. Stalking may also include mailing cards or other cryptic messages, breaking windows or vandalizing her property including the car, taking away her mail, leaving things, such as flowers, on her doorstep or at work, watching her from afar, hang-ups on the telephone, or any other kinds of harassing behaviors.

    In California, a recent law was passed broadening the definition of stalking, which allowed police greater discretion in making arrests of stalkers. This new law defines stalking as willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person, and making a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family. According to California law, harassing means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at the specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the person and which serves no legitimate purpose. Credible threat, according to this new law, means a verbal or written threat, or a threat implied by a pattern of conduct made with the intent and the apparent ability to carry out the threat, so as to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. Course of conduct is defined in the new law as meaning a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose.

    The use of the penal code can be a good start in developing a working definition of psychological violence. Many of the men referred for treatment are court-ordered, and as a condition of probation or diversion are required to sign a statement indicating that they will abide by the court mandate as well as obey all laws (Ganley, 1987). If the client threatens or assaults his partner, then he has broken the law and therefore is in violation of his probation or diversion. When this type of behavior is reported by the treatment program the criminal justice system is likely to respond, as opposed to the mere reporting of an argument where the man called his wife a derogatory name.

    On the other hand, the obvious problem with using the penal code is its narrow and restrictive definition of psychological violence. Mental degradation, for example, can over time be experienced as painful and traumatic as a physical threat of violence. Not addressing this fact in counseling gives the message that any behavior is acceptable as long as it is not illegal.

    Integrating definitions
    Given the differing definitions of psychological violence, how does one decide which definition is appropriate for their intervention program? One may integrate these definitions by conceptualizing psychological violence on a number of continuums. One continuum could reflect the severity (or likeliness of causing psychological harm to the victim) of the specific acts. For example, on this continuum one would place the most terrorizing types of psychological violence on one end (such as threats to kill and stalking), the more common and less terrorizing acts in the middle (such as extreme controlling behaviors or verbal abuse) and the least intrusive or damaging and most common acts at the other end (such as using male privilege).

    Another continuum of psychological violence would describe the acts solely on a frequency basis, the idea being that the more frequent the abuse the more likely it will cause psychological trauma. This method would depend heavily on a way of quantifying specific acts of psychological violence. The author has developed a comprehensive Domestic Violence Inventory (Sonkin, 1995b) HyperCard stack for the Macintosh environment where the acts of physical and sexual violence and threats of violence are specifically quantified (once, twice, 3-5 times, etc.) and the acts of psychological violence are described more generally (never, rarely, occasionally, or frequently). In developing this tool, I found that clients found it difficult to quantify psychological violent behaviors. This may result from two reasons. First, some forms of psychological violence occur too often to actually quantify. Second, some terms may be too easily interpreted and therefore lack specificity. For example, take the category of mental degradation. What words constitute mental cruelty? Some victims have told me that it wasn’t what he said, but how he said it. Generally, rarely is defined as happening once or twice. Occasionally is defined as happening more than once or twice or periodically throughout the length of the relationship. Frequently is defined as happening on a regular basis. Although these terms are subject to great variability, depending on the clients subjective experience, however, asking does give the clinician an overall sense of the types and frequency of psychological violence.

    Another continuum may be one of inclusiveness where at one end is the most narrow definition of psychological violence (the legal definition), at the other the end is the most inclusive definition (Tolman, 1989; Shepard and Campbell, 1992) and in the middle a definition that captures both the narrow definition and specific pieces of the most inclusive definition (Amnesty International).

    If we could develop a way of defining psychological violence that both takes into account the many subtle and obvious manifestations (inclusiveness), the effects on the victim (severity) and the number (frequency) of acts this would make good clinical sense given the psychological variability in the population of male batterers as well as the circumstances of the treatment referral (self or court referred). Below is a proposed model that takes into account, severity, legality and frequency.

    Psychological Violence Inventory
    Category 1: High risk of psychological trauma – Criminal behavior

    Threats to hurt or batter
    Never Once Twice 3-5 Times 6-10 Times 11-20 Times > 20 times Don’t Know

    Threats with weapons
    Never Once Twice 3-5 Times 6-10 Times 11-20 Times > 20 times Don’t Know

    Threats to kill or terrorizing threats
    Never Once Twice 3-5 Times 6-10 Times 11-20 Times > 20 times Don’t Know

    Never Once Twice 3-5 Times 6-10 Times 11-20 Times > 20 times Don’t Know

    Category 2: Moderate risk of psychological trauma – Intimidating behavior

    Isolation of victim (separation from social support systems)
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Induced debility-producing exhaustion (preventing sleep, rest and personal time)
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Monopolization of perceptions, including obsessiveness and possessiveness
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Mental Degradation, including humiliation,denial of victim’s power, verbal name-calling
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Forced drug or alcohol administration
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Using intimidation (making violent gestures, smashing things, destroying her property, abusing pets)
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Category 3: Lower risk of psychological trauma – Dysfunctional behaviors

    Traditional role expectations
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Using children during arguments
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Minimizing, denying, and blaming
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Altered states of consciousness/denying her reality
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Withholding positive reinforcers
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know

    Threatening nonphysical punishment for noncompliance with requests, emotional distancing
    Never – Rare – Occasional – Frequent – Don’t Know


    The above proposed inventory illustrates how the earlier definitions of psychological violence can be integrated in a way that both appreciates the variability, the degree of trauma, and legality issues. In a treatment program, the number of clients who will be flagged as re-offending will depend on which category one uses and for what purposes. The first category, the most exclusive definition, are those acts that would likely cause severe psychological trauma too the victim and are illegal behaviors. Hopefully, this category would involve the smallest number of clients. The second category are those acts that are likely to cause significant trauma, particularly when occurring at a high frequency. This category would involve a greater number of clients than the first category because these acts are typical of many battering situations. The third category are those acts likely to cause emotional distress but are not traumatic, per se, like the other two categories. This third category of psychological violence would be evident in the greatest number of clients in that many of these behaviors are likely to occur throughout treatment with or without the therapist’s knowledge. The extremes of this continuum are clearly evident. Too exclusive a definition does not fully appreciate the various ways the clients are perpetrating psychological violence, whereas a too inclusive a definition brings so many behaviors into the definition that most clients would be considered re-offenders on a weekly basis. Conceptualizing psychological violence in this way can be extremely useful for both the clinician and the client.

    Where this model is most useful is when needing to address the issue of client re-offenses during the course of court-mandated treatment. It is clear that when client perpetrates physical or sexual violence while in treatment, that the clinician must act swiftly and decisively when intervening therapeutically. For many programs re-offenses of these forms of violence may call for immediate expulsion from the program, or for the criminal justice client, a referral to probation or the courts. Depending on the type of psychological violence perpetrated, the response by the clinician may range from a simple discussion of the problem to the dire consequence of termination from the program. Therefore, it is important for clinicians to clarify when developing program structure as to how this type of violence will be addressed. For example, it could clearly stated at the onset of treatment that any threats or stalking (Category 1) would be immediately reported to probation (for court-mandated clients) or could be grounds for termination from the program. Psychological violence that falls short of criminal behavior but is nevertheless likely to be experienced as traumatic (Category 2) could be considered when deciding treatment plans, interventions or additional treatment and may be reported to probation depending on the frequency of the acts. Finally, the most common acts of psychological violence (Category 3) may be considered goals of treatment but their presence are not necessarily an indication that treatment is failing to produce desirable results. In this way the most egregious and most harmful acts of psychological violence are noted and addressed by service providers while at the same time clients are not faced initially with the seemly insurmountable task of changing deeply ingrained behavior patterns.

    Given the various definitions of psychological violence, it is doubtful that any victims of physical or sexual violence have escaped being exposed to one or number of acts of psychological violence. In fact, the psychological violence that always accompanies physical and sexual violence may be the cause of the psychological trauma experienced by the victim (Stets and Pirog-Good, 1990; Vissing, Straus, Gelles and Harrop, 1991). Because of the chronic nature of domestic violence, most victims are experiencing these acts with sufficient intensity, frequency, and duration that they are having lasting negative effects (Dutton, 1992; Vitanza, S.; Vogel, L.C.M. and Marshall, L L., 1995). Therefore, it is both the serious acts and frequent acts of psychological violence that clinicians need to aggressively address in treatment, while at the same time work with clients to change the less traumatic forms of psychological abuse.. Obviously, while each category of psychological violence described above is distinct in principle, in practice there is a great deal of overlap within each client’s life, therefore the clinician is challenged to address multiple level of abuse at any one time.

    In Summary
    It is clear from the literature that although there are still many important differences between the various definitions of psychological maltreatment, there is also a great deal of agreement between definitional approaches. What is still unanswered is what short and long term effects the various types of psychological have on victims. Similarly, it is still unclear as to how to differentiate psychological violence from other behaviors that contribute to marital discord. Therefore, counselors are encouraged to cautiously use a definition of psychological maltreatment and refrain from making claims as to it’s effects without the support of empirical data. Additionally, it is also particularly important to exercise caution when working with court-mandated clients and handling crises. Because psychological abuse is likely to regularly occur with male batterers in treatment, it is suggested that counselors clarify with probation, the courts, and clients themselves what acts of psychological abuse will be considered a “re-offense” and therefore reported to the court (or probation). Similarly, it is suggested that counselors clarify from the beginning of treatment what types of psychological violence will be used as a basis of violating client confidentiality in exercising their duty to protect and/or initiate an involuntary hospitalization. In these situations, it is recommend that counselors use the more narrow, crime-specific definitions of psychological violence (threats, harassing, stalking, etc.) and reserve the broader elements of the definition (name-calling, using male privilege, etc.) for the long-term goals of treatment.

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