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Domestic Abuse: Definitions, Explanations and Impacts

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 5530 words Published: 18th May 2020

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The aim of this essay is to critically examine definitions and explanations on domestic abuse as they have emerged historically, assess the potential impact of domestic abuse upon all those involved in the scenario from this assignment as well as critically evaluate the different resources and support eight networks that may be available for those living in situations of domestic abuse in the context of national and local policy and identify those which might prove most relevant for the individuals in the scenario.

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The definition of domestic abuse is viewed by the government as “any incident or pattern of incidents, controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, and emotional” (Home Office (HO), 2012).

Domestic violenceit is most common within people that are married or in a relationship. Often time, domestic violence hasn’t been reported, mainly because individuals refuse to get their loved ones in any trouble. Domestic violence is a contemporary issue, because people are getting hurt and not disclosing it. Over the years domestic abuse became prevalence because there are numerous calls that law enforcements receive about domestic abuse, however it’s important to contact the police in order for them to help you.

According to the Women’s Aid (2005) domestic violence has become more dominantand, in most cases, poses a threat on one’s life.As a result, it is destroying the lives of women and children. Crime statistics shows that domestic violence is gender specific, for example it’smostly experienced by women and perpetrated by men. Any woman can experience domestic violence regardless of race, ethnic or religious groups, class, disability, or lifestyle. In addition, thousands of people are affected by domestic violence daily and the number has increased enormously over the years. However, if a person is petrified, they won’t report such violence, because they are fearful of getting abused in any type of way.With that being said, today’s societies must be courageous and report domestic violence in order to fix the problem faced on a global scale.

According to (Millett, 1970), strong relationships inherent in a patriarchal society have been mirrored in male domination of the domestic sphere, while feminists identified violence closer to girls as a structure of patriarchy. In 1971, West London Women’s Refuge which was opens by Erin Pizzey in1971, in those days; domestic abuse was rarely spoken of, however the extent of youngsters especially girls that are seeking help has now become a political issue. Whereas the government uses created checks for domestic abuse by a select committee in 1975, which endorsed a minimal of one household refuge place per 10,000 people.

Also,domestic abuse and matrimonial Proceedings Act used to be enacted in the year 1976, which imparting civil protection orders (injunctions) for those at risk of abuse. Girls and youngsters at risk of violence had been effectively homeless and had the right to state-funded brief lodging, according to the Housing Act for people that’s homeless in 1977. (Isaac, 2014). Domestic abuse fees the taxpayer money: £3.1 billion in 2004 (Department of Health, 2005).

Regarding the scenario, Cynthia was emotionally and physically hurt. Her children are suffering in silence with pain. Emotional abuse is the repeated failure to meet simple emotional needs as well as its stunted and well- being impaired for improvement. For example the emotional symptoms and signs in the scenario can be seen in john where he’s being withdrawn. John is unusual happy and talkative when he’s at nursery. Where he’s is emotional withdrawn, these type behavioural sign links to abuse

Additionally, after suffering from domestic abuse the victims have to face the consequences. As regards to women, they find it very difficult to be involved in a new relationship. It takes lot of time for them to trust in a new partner. In some other cases, women tend to look for men with the similar characteristics to their previous partner. As a result, they often find themselves living in same situations all over again. Children are a high percentage of abused kids that may become future abusers.

Childhood is a very important stage in life. It`s the stage where children are learning how to behave, for instance. If they receive mistreatment from their parents or if they learn that problems can be solved by using violence, they will probably use that learning to behave in life. Thou, during adulthood they will remember how their parents were to them and they will follow the same pattern. Also abuse can occur in many ways, however where there’s a range of theoretical perspectives which can clarify why abuse has taken place.

In addition the feminist view is that, household Gender roles generally contribute lifestyle of abuse. Men, women and adolescents have a definite role, considering historic and stereotypical ideas of the family. For example in Emma and john live in a home where their father being violent, and dominant. However from a psychological perspective, verbal abuse can convey, an intellectual fitness issue which may additionally amplify the aggression in man or woman and so John and Emma is at risk abuse from their father.

The fallowing scenario study shows that Cynthia was mistreated by husband while her children affected by the over the years, where she sustains bruise and pain. As a result, these injuries can lead serious mental and physical problems for example Cynthia could be, permanent scared, suffering low self-esteem, emotionally, depression and incapability to form a new relationships. While Emma and john be dysfunction at a later life which could be withdrawal and poor relationship with her peers.

However Emma, johns and their mother’s life, could be stress and the lack of ability for the children Cynthia to cope or manage from a dysfunction aspect. Family dysfunction suggests that family no longer function due to domestic abuse. Moreover dysfunction family tries to use different approaches to cope. Over the years it has become the norm where children are living in domestic abuse, as a result this could be affected where they aggressive or self-harm though psychological distress. Many teenagers accept are able to cope by protecting their younger sibling (DH, 2004). Social and economic dependence regularly compel female to stay in abusive relationships. They can also be financially dependent upon their companion and might also view single parenthood as unaffordable, or they worry losing their job. Social stigma could leave the victim feeling obligated to stay. They may also not desire to lose social guide team by having to go away, or may also be embarrassed about admitting their situation to friends. Leaving could appear like the route to social isolation. Richards (2008) unequivocally states, there is no factual basis in the popular myth that women continue to be because they like it. Guilt can play a large phase for girls in ongoing abuse.

According to (Women’s Aid, n.d.), refuge as become a home for female and children for weeks, months or even longer. Within every Three out of every five gets traumatised, for example children in most cases that witness domestic violence often suffers anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares, bedwetting, aggression, social isolation, loss of self-esteem and emotionally they will  need professional support. Far instant, in case Emma’s she may additionally begin the usage of alcohol or drugs, as well as developing eating disorders or try to self-harm. In relation to Cynthia, becoming safer and staying protected long-term, hard-won goals.’ Moreoverthere are many limitations to ending a relationship with her abusive partner, which includes shame, guilt, lack of support, and financial dependence.

Safety is a real concern, and with right reason women are considered to be at a greatest chance of homicide at the point of separation or after leaving a violent associate,(Refuge,2015).Independent Domestic Violence Advocates are professional  workers based  in police stations, hospitals etc, working with ‘high risk’ women and assisting them thru the civil justice systems. However, domestic abuse and the Justice system have been significantly reinforced in recent years. During 2013 to 2014, Independence Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) supported over 2,642 new ladies and 2,918 children, inclusive of supporting 1,024 ladies through the criminal justice system. 95% of ladies who wanted to make an official complaint had been empowered to do so, while 58% of cases went to courtroom resulted in a guilty verdict (Refuge, 2014, p 11).

Sources of support for workers in the field of preventing abuse can be provided by statutory, voluntary, and private or independent organisations. Statutory services have a distinct concern laid down by legislation e.g. social services and NHS. The voluntary sector is run on a non profit making basis and have arisen through a recognised need and reflect society`s feelings. E.g. Advocacy, Mencap. Private organisations make a profit but I am not aware of any private local organisation that supports vulnerable adults suffering abuse. Support can consist of Casework, by working on a one to one basis, by counselling again one to one, and by group work bring people together with shared issues to resolve problems together.

The National Care Standards are underpinned by way of the which have been set up under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001coverage and techniques on abuse cases within the care services, for example the Act regulate care providers in order for social work to carry out the principals of excellent care practice. The Care Commission group (CCG)was once set up under this Act to register, modify and look at all care services listed in the Act. It also established the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).The SSSC has goals to protect the service users, increase standard, underpin and support personnel professionalism.

In addition the risk assessmentconference held by multi-agency is a forum where professionals get together to provide a local, coordinated comeback for those at the highest risk of domestic violence (Smartt, 2006). If someone is assess as at very high risk of domestic abuse, for example he or she has scored very high on a standard risk assessment, they will be referred to MARAC, a monthly meeting chaired by the law enforcement. It is intended to share information about very high risk clients in order to avoid homicide, build up a safety plan, put all possible support in place and lower the risk as soon as possible.

MARACs were piloted in Cardiff in 2003 and estimate studies (Robinson, 2004; Robinson &Tregidga, 2005) show that MARAC conferences lead to significant improvements in the safety of victims and their children and promote better standards of professional practice.  However by 2008 there was 200 neighbourhoods had MARACs in place which over 12 months 2008-2009 worked to shelter over 29,000 victims of domestic abuse (Home Office, 2009a). MARACs are not confined by statute as yet, but there is anincreasing call for legislation in this area (CAADA, 2010) as it is more and more seen to be asuccessful model for mobilising support services for victims and promote early involvement.

Non-governmental organisation played a significant role in creating domestic violence policy; also feminist activism played a key factor in revealingviolence against women. (Refuge and Women‘s Aid20) In the 1970s women‘s organisations took a lead in helping women experiencing domestic violence and established the first women‘s refuges. The women‘s movement also commenced a campaign for policies that aimed at law reform, welfare benefits, housing provision and emergency assistance for victims of domestic abuse(Harwin, 2006)  (Radford 2004)Since the 1970s women‘s organisations have called for criminalisation of domestic violence. This campaign became a strategy; a successful one in many respects (Hester, 2005) domestic violence has being recognised and promoted policy development due to serious problem (Radford & Gill, 2006).

Also the non-governmental organisations have played a vital role in the advocating government service enhancement. Women‘s Aid, jointly with the Refuge, are acknowledged and accepted by the government as professional organisations dealing with domestic violence (Hague, 2005).Moreover the women‘s division is recognised as possessing awareness around domestic violence (Mayor of London, 2001). Althoughthescope of measures that undertake by this division is diverse however they mostly focused on delivering services, code of practices, advocacy, advice, study publications andnewsletters that will undoubtedly influences the policy formation. In addition Domestic Violence Intervention Project, Greater London Domestic Violence Project Justice for Women,Mankind Initiative, POW! Prostitute outreach workers, Refuge: Rights of Women Standing Together Against Domestic Violence, Survivors UK Ltd, The Zero Tolerance Trust, Victim Support and Women’s Aid these organisations are some examples of nongovernmental organisations which prioritise combating domestic violence within the United Kingdom.

Primarily as a health establishment, in order for excellent practice to enlarge and flourish, there are steps should be take to provide the best environment to support good practice. For example Keep up to date with and learn from published research, disseminating learning within the organisation, Keep up to date with and learn from case law, to ensure that practitioners and legal advisers are aware of emerging practice in aligning responses to safeguarding and domestic abuse: Develop strong links with domestic abuse agencies, encourage local organisations of older, disabled or mentally ill people to support their members with and to refer for appropriate support if they are experiencing domestic abuse. Develop protocols, policies and ways of working to enable safe enquiry within assessments of domestic abuse and safeguarding as well as encourage improved access by domestic abuse-related organisations for older people; people with disabilities; people with mental health needs; and be aware of the many domestic abuse-related organisations that already have good access arrangements.ect (adass.org.uk)

To conclude, being in violent surroundings within your own family is a situation that brings lot of consequences. Although it’s very hard for the victims to deal with that domestic abuse, they should be able to ask for help. The physical and physiological issues are very severe and they are needed to be treated by specialist. If not, the long run consequences will be fatal in some cases. The international campaign for eradication of violence against women, in the recent years indicates the vast as well as the seriousness of the violence committed against women that are being witnessed worldwide. improvement along with its progressive changes in personal life style, living standards, varied economic development caused by urbanisation and changes in social philosophy contributes to a violent attitude and tendencytowards women, as a result crimes has increase against women, which has become a matter of concern and its suppression is a necessity in order for women around the globe attain their rights and live in dignity, independence, harmonyviolence and aspersions.


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Assignment Scenario Cynthia (23) and Peter (25) was in a relationship for about 3 months before moving in together. At the beginning of the relationship life was wonderful. Peter was affectionate, considerate, fun to be with and a great boost to her self-esteem. But once they moved in together, Peter became a totally different person. He told her not to see her family and started to control her money because she was ‘not responsible enough’ to pay the bills. Cynthia never had enough money to pay for essentials such as for food or clothing. Peter became angry when Cynthia got a new job in the local supermarket and found a new group of friends. He was constantly looking at her phone messages becoming angry and threatening if she did not allow him access to her phone. Peter started to go to Cynthia’s workplace leaving messages on her car that he was watching her. Cynthia was too frightened and ashamed to tell anyone what was happening. As soon as Cynthia became pregnant with her first child the violence began. After each violent episode, Peter would say he was sorry, promising that it would never happen again- but it always did. After 14 years and following two miscarriages Cynthia now has two children. John who is 3 years old and Emma who is 13 years old. Cynthia has left Peter on more than one occasion during their 14 years together but has always returned back to the family home. Cynthia often blamed herself when Peter was violent towards her, thinking that it was her fault that he got angry. Even after all the years of abuse Cynthia could not bring herself to tell anyone what was happening. Recently Emma was hurt when she tried to protect Cynthia during a violent episode in the home. Emma went to school the next day with a bruised face and made excuses that she had bumped into a wall. John had gone into nursery the following day and was very sad and quiet which was unusual as he was normally a happy, talkative child. It was at that point that Cynthia knew she had to leave the violent relationship. Cynthia called a domestic abuse helpline asking for help and explaining that the abuse had been going on for many years. The helpline advisor gave information on services that were available in the area. The advisor also spoke to Cynthia about how to plan for leaving when she was ready to do so. A couple of weeks later, after another violent episode which took place in front of both children, Cynthia left for good when Peter was at work. Cynthia and the children were placed in a refuge with a few clothes and a small amount of money she had saved. Since entering the refuge Cynthia has been seeing the counsellor who says she is suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. The children are also receiving counselling.


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