Interpreting community accountability: Citizen views of responding to domestic violence (or not)

Jacob Z. Hess, Nicole E. Allen, Nathan R. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In spite of common public condemnations of domestic violence, survey research suggests that citizens aware of actual abuse often believe they cannot or should not personally respond. Through in-depth interviews with 20 local citizens across the political spectrum, we sought to explore this dynamic more carefully by better understanding community interpretations of domestic violence and its appropriate response. This paper explores ten specific views identified in these interviews as potentially relevant to citizen action (or inaction) in response to known abuse. After examining subtle consequences of each belief, we explore broader implications for community mobilization and propose several ways of facilitating a more thoughtful and extensive deliberation about domestic violence among the general public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1096-1123
Number of pages28
JournalQualitative Report
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Community accountability
  • Domestic violence
  • Hermeneutic philosophy
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


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