Departmental Papers (SPP)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

August 2004


Objectives. We assessed weapon use in intimate partner violence and perspectives on hypothetical firearm policies.

Methods. We conducted structured in-person interviews with 417 women in 67 battered women's shelters.

Results. Words, hands/fists, and feet were the most common weapons used against and by battered women. About one third of the battered women had a firearm in the home. In two thirds of these households, the intimate partner used the gun(s) against the woman, usually threatening to shoot/kill her (71.4%) or to shoot at her (5.1%). Most battered women thought spousal notification/ consultation regarding gun purchase would be useful and that a personalized firearm ("smart gun") in the home would make things worse.

Conclusions. A wide range of objects are used as weapons against intimate partners. Firearms, especially handguns, are more common in the homes of battered women than in households in the general population.


Reprinted from American Journal of Public Health, Volume 92, Issue 8, August 2004, pages 1412-1417.

NOTE: At the time of publication, author Susan B. Sorenson was affiliated with the University of California. Currently (August 2007), she is a faculty member in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania



Date Posted: 15 August 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.