Social Isolation and Weapon Use in Intimate Partner Violence Incidents in Rural Areas

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This study relies on the concept of social isolation to analyze variation in weapon use in intimate partner violence (IPV) cases in rural North Carolina. Social isolation and IPV weapon use are operationalized through census and IPV incident data collected in three rural counties in southeastern North Carolina. The authors relied on reports of IPV from law enforcement agencies within these counties, which were geocoded by address and located within census tracts to assess IPV weapon use and its correlates across sub-county areas. The current study expands on studies of weapon use and social isolation by criminologists and public health researchers by assessing the nature of IPV incidents, accounting for possible incident-level and contextual correlates. Statistical analyses indicate that sex of the attacker (female) and age are the only significant predictors of weapon use. We discuss the implications of these findings for further research on weapon use and IPV in rural areas.



social isolation, intimate partner violence, rural communities, weapon use, police data


International Journal of Rural Criminology, v2, n2 (June, 2014), p. 244-267