The Psychology of Female Violence

Crimes Against the Body, 2nd Edition

By Anna Motz

Foreword by Estela Welldon

© 2008 – Routledge

408 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415403870
pub: 2008-01-30
US Dollars$42.95
Hardback: 9780415403863
pub: 2008-01-16
US Dollars$130.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

What are the causes of violence in women?

What can be done to help these women and their victims?

Why does society deny the fact of female violence?

This book explores the nature and causes of female violence from the perspectives of psychodynamic theory and forensic psychology. This fully updated and expanded second edition explores developments in research and services for violent women. Recent high profile cases of female violence are discussed alongside clinical material and theory. New topics include: the Victoria Climbié Inquiry, the controversy related to the diagnosis of Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder in women, and the impact of pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites. New chapters address central clinical issues of working with women who kill and designing therapeutic services for women in secure mental health settings.

Other major topics include:

  • Women who sexually and physically abuse children
  • Infanticide
  • Fabricated and induced illness
  • Self Harm

The Psychology of Female Violence will be valuable to trainees and practitioners working in the fields of clinical and forensic psychology, women’s studies, sociology, psychiatric nursing, social work, probation, counselling, psychoanalysis, the criminal justice system and criminology.


"This sophisticated book is recommended to forensic psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurses working with women who have offended." - Susan Hatters Friedman, MD, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

"This scholarly work by Anna Motz is a vital resource for all professionals dealing with violent women. It is a wonderful book and I am proud to be associated with it." - Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

"This deeply felt and well-researched book exposes the myths and challenges the rhetoric behind violent women. Its fascinating, sharply etched clinical portraits, richly embedded in their social and historical milieu, challenge us in a subtle and accessible manner. It offers an integrated approach to understanding and caring for a disadvantaged patient group. It should be read and reread." – Raymond Travers, The British Journal of Psychiatry (2009) 194, 379-384

"This short book is an excellent introduction to working with women in forensic settings, and also offers insights to more seasoned practitioners. […] I am certain that it is a book I will dip into whenever I am faced with a particularly complex and challenging female patient, and would definitely recommend to others, both as an introduction to working with women and as a reference." - Kajal Patel, The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 2009

"This is an invaluable book not just for those working within forensic settings (although it is undoubtedly essential reading if you do) but would be of relevance to anyone interested in female expressions of violence more generally."Laura Pipon-Young, Clinical Psychology Forum 198, June 2009.

"Motz's boook goes a long way in developing a better understanding of female violence and will be beneficial in the optimal confinement and treatment of women who commit such acts". - Nicola Revington, Psychological Medicine, Volume 42, 2012

Reviews of the first edition:

"Motz has provided not only an outline of the complexity of each aspect of female violence, but also a full explanation of the means by which each of the professional agencies combine to ascertain diagnosis." - Tessa Adams, British Journal of Psychotherapy

"Learning about this material rather than simply feeling the emotional impact of it is one of the factors that will make this book essential reading for anybody who comes into contact with violent women." - Anne Aieyebusi, Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part I: Violence Against Children. The Development of Maternal Abuse. Female Sexual Abuse of Children. Maternal Physical Abuse. Fabricated or Induced Illness. Part II: Violence Against the Self. Deliberate Self-harm. Anorexia Nervosa. Part III: Violence Against Others. Battered Women Who Kill. Part IV: Clinical Applications. Working with Women Who Kill. Hiding and Being Lost: The Need for Women Only Secure Units. Conclusion.

About the Author

Anna Motz is a Consultant Clinical and Forensic Psychologist with the Thames Valley Forensic Mental Health Services. She has extensive clinical experience with women as perpetrators and victims of violence and with the staff teams who work with them. She has written widely on this topic and is the Past President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Clinical Psychology