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Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence This essay will demonstrate that the issue of domestic violence is a complex one, much more complex than the term itself might convey. Indeed, domestic violence is complex in terms of its very definition, complex in terms of its theoretical explanations, complex in terms of gender relevance, complex in terms of its effects, and complex in terms of interventions to prevent and deal with its occurrence. The essay begins with a presentation and critique of various definitions for domestic violence, an exploration of the historical evolution of domestic violence as a societal concern, and a discussion and critique of theoretical explanations for domestic violence including consideration of the relevance of gender. This foundation will be used as a basis for exploring the impact of domestic violence upon its direct and indirect victims and the value and efficacy of the current resources, initiatives, and support networks used in combating domestic violence and assisting its victims. Finally, concluding remarks will be presented. A Critique on Definitions of Domestic Violence Finding a generally-accepted definition for domestic violence proved to be an elusive endeavor. This may be because there is no consensus definition of the term (Laurence and Spalter-Roth, 1996; Contemporary Women's Issues Database, May 1996; Contemporary Women's Issues Database, July 1996). Each writer seems to define the term to fit his or her topic or agenda. For instance, Chez (1994, cited in Gibson-Howell, 1996), in focusing on female victims of domestic violence, defines the term as the repeated subjection of a woman to forceful physical, social, and psychological behavior to coerce her without regard to her rights. Some definitions are basic and general: a pattern of regularly occurring abuse and violence, or the threat of violence, in an intimate (though not necessarily cohabitating) relationship (Gibson-Howell, 1996, citing Loring and Smith, 1994). Other definitions are comprehensive and specific (Manor, 1996; Neufield, 1996; Asian Pages, 1998; Josiah, 1998; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1999; Danis, 2003; Verkaik, 2003). ...read more.


Effects are not restricted to those that are physical and psychological in nature, however. Women can be financially impacted as well. Brown and Kenneym (1996) contend that women, in an effort to flee their attackers, may give up financial security and their homes in favor of safety. Mothers may experience additional negative effects from domestic violence. Starr (2001) contends that domestic violence against mothers is associated with harmful implications for mental health and parenting, as well as for the offspring. According to Starr, mothers who are in an environment of domestic violence suffer worse outcomes for themselves and for their children. Isaac (1997) suggests that abuse of mothers and children are linked, stating that from thirty to almost sixty percent of mothers reported for child abuse were themselves abused. Hewitt (2002) claims that ninety percent of occurrences of domestic violence are witnessed either directly or indirectly by children. Children can be affected in at least two ways by domestic violence. According to the British government, they can be traumatized by violence they witness against others in the relationship even when they are not the specific targets of the violence (CrimeReduction.gov.uk, Domestic violence mini-site, 2005). According to Hewitt (2002), children suffer low self-esteem, isolation, trauma, and homelessness that they may not manifest until later in life. They may also suffer from maladies such as worry, sadness, focus and concentration difficulties, forgetfulness, headaches and stomachaches, lying, and poor impulse control, according to Salisbury and Wichmann (2004). Importantly, there is also a strong correlation between domestic violence and child abuse, a point which reinforces Isaac's position mentioned earlier (CrimeReduction.gov.uk, Domestic violence mini-site, 2005). Edleson (1999, cited in Spath, 2003) takes the same position in stating that numerous research studies over the last several decades have reported a connection between domestic violence and child maltreatment within families. And, finally, as mentioned earlier, the social learning theory would suggest that children who witness violence learn that violence is an acceptable way to settle disputes. ...read more.


The Register-Guard, August 29, 2004. Schechter, S. (1982) Women and male violence: The visions and struggles of the battered women's movement. Boston: South End Press. Cited in Danis, Fran S. (2003) The criminalization of domestic violence: What social workers need to know. Social Work, April 1, 2003. Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1999) Domestic violence: Give us statistics we can work with. July 16, 1999. Shakespeare, William (1604), Othello act 5. sc. 2. Edited by Sanders, Norman. Cambridge University Press, 1984. Cited in Meyersfeld, Bonita C. (2003) Reconceptualizing domestic violence in international law. Albany Law Review, December 22, 2003. Siegel, Reva B. (1996), The rule of love": Wife beating as prerogative and privacy, 105 YALE L.J. 2117. Tuerkheimer, Deborah (2004), Recognizing and remedying the harm of battering: A call to criminalize domestic violence. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, June 22, 2004. Simerman, John (2002) Men, too, fall victim to abuse in big numbers. Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, November 25, 2002. Spath, Robin (2003) Child protection professionals identifying domestic violence indicators: implications for social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, September 22, 2003. Starr, Raymond H., Jr. (2001) Type and timing of mothers' victimization: effects on mother and children. Pediatrics, April 1, 2001. Tuerkheimer, Deborah (2004), Recognizing and remedying the harm of battering: A call to criminalize domestic violence. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, June 22, 2004. Verkaik, Robert (2003) One man in six `a victim of domestic violence'. The Independent, September 24, 2003. Wha-soon, Byun (1994) A study on the prevention of and countermeasures against domestic violence [Part 1 of 2]. Contemporary Women's Issues Database, January 1, 1994. Winkvist, Anna (2001) Researching domestic violence against women: Methodological and ethical considerations. Studies in Family Planning, March 1, 2001. Yllo, K. A. (1993). Through a feminist lens: Gender, power, and violence. In R. J. Gelles & D. R. Loseke (Eds.), Current controversies on family violence (pp. 47-62). Newbury Park, GA: Sage Publications. Cited in Danis, Fran S. (2003) The criminalization of domestic violence: What social workers need to know. Social Work, April 1, 2003. ...read more.

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