In recent years more attention has been given to the ways in which mixed-sex and same-sex intimate partner violence (IPV) couples report crimes to the police. Specifically, what patterns of repetition, intermittency between contacts with the police, and harm trajectories over time exist, and are there variations between same-sex and mixed-sex dyads? We explore all eligible IPV reported in Sweden over 1,000 days (n = 14,939) and use descriptive statistics to examine differences between different victims and offenders. We code IPV offences within three levels of harm recognized by law and develop a tiered approach to harm quantification that supports the growing evidence that not all IPV harm is the same. Based on official records, IPV usually ends following the first contact with the police, as nine out of ten dyads never call again. Variations across cisgender and sexual identity groups exist: Repeat same-sex IPV is not as common as mixed-sex IPV but is reported more quickly to the police after it had occurred once. In the 1,000-day follow-up period, same-sex dyads do not call the police more than four times and the repeated incidents trends seem to be driven primarily by outliers. Moreover, we find an overall pattern of decreasing time intervals between each additional contact, but no overall pattern of escalating severity over time. However, the overall severity trend it driven by female-victim-male-offender dyads: male offenders are more likely to cause escalation of harm, while two out of five male–male repeat IPV experience escalation in harm. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings, which overall illustrate the importance of observing IPV in typological terms, rather than as a continuum.
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- domestic abuse
- domestic violence
- same-sex couples