Book Review: LGBTQ intimate partner violence: Lessons for policy, practice, and research

Published date01 June 2018
Date01 June 2018
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Messinger, A. M. (2017). LGBTQ intimate partner violence: Lessons for policy, practice, and research.
Oakland: University of California Press. 1 – 309 pp. $65.00. ISBN: 978-0-520-28605-4.
Reviewed by: Ava Carcirieri, State of Delaware Family Court, Wilmington, DE, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016817707807
LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence: Lessons for Policy, Practice, and Research is a much needed
consolidation and review of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-gender, Questioning/Queer (LGBTQ)
intimate partner violence (IPV). The work pulls not only academic research, but article op-eds and
policies together to illustrate flaws and gaps in the research, and also illustrates how our current
knowledge can contribute to bettering how we handle LGBTQ IPV. This is an important work that
fills in a much needed overall gap in this area of research, and because it was written with many
audiences in mind, it is a tool for learning and change as well.
This is the first book that comprehensively reviews all academic research that surrounds LGBTQ
IPV; the author intends to bring all existing research together not only to identify important gaps but
to use this research in implications and suggestions for policies and practitioners in the field. The
author then identifies core areas of research where it is both lacking and where existing research can
inform policy and practice in important and profound ways. The author also addresses an important
question throughout the book that ties into illustrating the difficulties with both researching LGBTQ
IPV and adequately addressing it in nonacademic realms: Should we use a one-size-fits-all approach
to IPV or do we need to differentiate LGBTQ IPV from heterosexual IPV? The author, with pages
and pages of research, argues that not only is LGBTQ IPV markedly different from heterosexual IPV
but that it should be treated both in policy and in practice in different ways that allow for the
complexities of sexual and gender identities.
The author brings many years of expertise to this publication as well; as an academic researcher
and professor at Illinois University, the author has published over 11 articles since 2012 about IPV
and the LGBT community. Additionally, the author is involved in several ongoing multicity projects
focused on LGBTQ help-seeking behaviors and prevention strategies. The authors’ previous works
that focus on the LGBTQ community, crime and IPV, and pedagogy indicate a clear familiarity and
authority on the many subjects included in this book and add to its legitimacy within the larger
academic field.
The book begins with an introduction to the invisible nature of LGBTQ IPV and a short illustra-
tion of why this type of IPV should be treated differently than heterosexual IPV. This is followed by
a general methodology review; the author uses existing LGBTQ research to illustrate methodolo-
gical strengths and weaknesses in addition to introducing terminology that will be used throughout
the work. The book then moves to the subject LGBTQ IPV—what we currently know about it and
what we do not know about it, including why it happens, what makes it different from heterosexual
IPV, and how different countries are treating the issue on a policy level. The author uses all of this
research to then take an in-depth look at both governmental and nongovernmental responses
LGBTQ IPV and how we can improve both types of responses on a policy and practitioner level
to better serve victims of IPV. The book ends with a short review of the major topics covered and
moves to look toward future policies and practices that will improve the way that we handle LGBTQ
IPV and victims in general.
The most notable strength of this work is that the author had multiple audiences in mind when
writing—researchers, students, policy makers/influencers, and practitioners. This means that this
book can be useful in a variety of ways and will appeal, in one part or another, to a variety of
individuals. Because this work is speaking to multiple types of readers, the writing style itself is easy
to read and digest. Another strength of this work is the sheer amount of research that has gone into it:
Book Reviews 275

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