Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Lisa Moyer


Researchers have been studying intimate partner violence (IPV) since the 1970s but the majority of the research has focused on heterosexual couples. With little research on IPV among same-sex couples there is little knowledge, education, or resources among the people that are employed (or recruited) to assist victims of same-sex couple IPV. This means that social service and law enforcement agencies have not been able to properly meet the needs of the LGBT community.

A mixed-method research design using an online survey was used to gather data from a non-randomized convenience sample. Fifty-one respondents completed the survey. The findings showed that one of the most common motives for using verbal abuse against a romantic partner was due to the participants wanting to gain control over the situation; 42% of the participants indicated that this motive applied to their use of verbal abuse against their partner. Results also revealed that while the incidences of physical aggression were low in this sample, 5% of the participants that used physical aggression noted that they used it to get their own way.

In regards to the perception of agency and law enforcement by individuals from the LGBT community, 60% of participants that had reported abuse to a social service agency or law enforcement felt that they were treated disrespectfully by the officer/agency personnel. These findings imply that individuals in same-sex relationships do not feel entirely safe reporting IPV to social service agencies or law enforcement.