School of Population Health

Peter J. Adams - male partner violence


Male partner violence (variously referred to as "gender based violence", "wife battering", "male violence against women", "male interpersonal violence", ) has serious impacts on the capacity of families and communities to function together. My key interest is in developing a better understanding of this form of violence in order to assist the design of more effective prevention and intervention strategies.

Recent book

Publisher |

Masculine Empire - Peter J Adams

This book - through having the reader 'eavesdrop' on the conversations of five 'kiwi' men who meet regularly in a sports bar and talk about their relationships - provides a unique insight into the 'masculine empire' of superiority and entitlement. It shows how men approach intimate relationships, their allegiance to their like-minded 'mates', and the role these men play in bolstering each other's need to be in charge of their women and their homes, capturing women in oppressive situations. It flips explanations for violence from what is happening in the minds of individual 'bad' men to a broader exploration of the social world of men. It illustrates what can happen to both men and women when male oppression goes too far and looks at options men might take for turning away from their controlling and violent behaviour.

On this page:

Community involvements

  • Currently involved with other researchers on violence in Social and Community Health at the School of Population Health.
  • Co-founded and established (1987) a collective providing stopping violence programmes for Auckland’s North Shore. The North Harbour Living Without Violence Collective currently provides programmes for male perpetrators and women survivor/victims and teenagers. Find out more on the North Harbour Living Without Violence
  • Initiated and developed the New Zealand’s first specialist training programme in violence as the Auckland University of Technology (AUT University) Diploma in Violence and Trauma Studies.
  • Member of a six person Professional Practice Committee which worked on developing a constitution, code of practice, professional structure, accountability guidelines and complaints procedure for the national umbrella organisation for intervention programmes in the area of physical and sexual abuse (Men For Non-Violence, now National Network of Stopping Violence Services.
  • Practiced in various ways as clinical psychologist with male partner abuse for ten years from 1985 until 1995.

Research interests

  • The way men use language to justify, conceal and support violence against women.
  • The cultural and social discourses that support and maintain tolerance of violence in communities.
  • The relationship constructions of masculinity have with violent behaviour.
  • The link between alcohol and drug use and male partner violence.


Violence against women

  • [ARTICLE] Towns, A. & Adams, P. (2009) Staying quiet or getting out: some ideological dilemmas faced by women who experience violence from male partners. British Journal of Social Psychology. 48, (4) 735-754  Read more
  • [CHAPTER] Adams, P., Towns, A., & Gavey, N. (2003). 3). Dominance and entitlement: the rhetoric men use to discuss their violence towards women. In K. Atkinson & D. Atkinson (Eds). Language and Power in the Modern World(pp. 184-198). Edinburgh University Press. Also published as an article in Discourse and SocietyRead more
  • [CHAPTER] Towns, A., Adams, P. & Gavey, N. (2003). Silencing talk of men’s violence towards women. In L. Thiesmeyer (ed.) Discourse and Silencing: Representation and the Language of Displacement. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.  Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Towns, A. & Adams, P. (1999) "If I really loved him enough he would be okay." Violence Against Women 6,(6), 558-585. Read more

Interventions with men

  • [BOOK] Adams, P.J. (2012) Masculline Empire: How Men Use Violence to Keep Women in Line. Auckland: Dunmore Press (Sole authored original book, 317 pages).
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2012). Interventions with men who are violent to their partners: Strategies for early engagement. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 38 (3), pp. 458-470.
  • [CHAPTER] Adams, P.J. (1997) Men. Chapter 9 in P.M. Ellis & S.C.D. Collings (eds.) Mental Health in New Zealand from a Public Health Perspective. (pp213-242). Public Health Report No. 3. Public Health Group, Wellington: Ministry of Health. Read more (180KB PDF)
  • [REPORT] Adams, P.J. (1994) “It takes two to tango”: a language-based approach to interventions with men who abuse women. Unpublished paper, circulated widely and used extensively by facilitators of mens and womens stopping violence programmes.

Sexual abuse

  • [ARTICLE] Lambie I. Seymour F. Lee A. Adams P. (2002). Resiliency in the Victim-Offender Cycle in Male Sexual Abuse. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 1431-48. Read more