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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Many victimization studies have focused on one dimension of violence at a time, such as looking at the effect of a specific violence type on a health outcome. But the term common best describes the occurrence of intersecting violent experiences or, more specifically, intersecting dimensions of violence, abuse, and victimization. Over time, bodies of literature about this phenomenon have morphed in terms of conceptualization and operationalization. In this context, silos have developed that place barriers within and between fields and disciplines that concern the study and treatment of violence at various levels. However, shared catalysts and inhibitors, the common nature of experiencing more than one victimization event, and the possible concurrence of certain violence experiences offer points of disruption to these silos. In this light, there are many components, or dimensions, of violence that span from the most basic unit (the individual act of violence) to various means of categorization: violence type, severity or frequency, duration, and number of violence-perpetrating individuals. These dimensions, when identified within research, can help researchers map out how two acts (as well as their broader categorizations) intersect to influence lived experiences. Researchers use various terms to describe this phenomenon (e.g., poly-victimization, revictimization, cascading maltreatment, hybrid exploitation, cumulative violence exposure, cumulative patterns, constellations, and dose-response). This multidimensional approach offers the hope of (a) deconstructing the silos between and among fields and disciplines, (b) bringing research methods and analytical treatments of violence within studies closer to reality, (c) holistically acknowledging that violence varies, (d) deconstructing stereotypes, (e) identifying shared risk factors, (f) advocating for collaboration, (g) cultivating resilience, and (h) examining victims and survivors’ experiences through a lens that draws connections between intersecting abuse experiences and intersecting systems of oppression. Likewise, although there are some common instruments utilized for operationalization, these measurement tools vary greatly, as well. Analytical treatments of intersecting dimensions of violence, abuse, and victimization can be categorized into six overarching data analysis strategies: relationships between violent experiences, counting violence types, variety scores and indices, combinations of violent events or types, schemes, and person-centered approaches. Although these dimensions, terminologies, instruments, and analytical treatments can be identified within the literature, overlaps and mixtures of terms and analytical treatments become apparent when comparing studies. Implications for research include testing familiar cumulative relationships across fields, incorporating a broader policy context, and more thoroughly examining variation within and between violence types. Through the multidimensional perspective, violence prevention and intervention can be improved and advanced through thoroughness in application.

Keywords: cumulative abuse, poly-victimization, violence type, violence severity, violence duration, web of violence, multiple victimization

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