Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Research Proposal

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¶ … Child Abuse and Domestic Violence

The failure of the family to serve its nurturing function is demonstrated in cases of domestic violence and Child Abuse. Literature review shows that domestic violence can take on many forms and has both long-term and short-term effects. The broadness of the concept of domestic violence prodded the author to focus on one of its many dimensions, i.e. child abuse. The prevalence of child abuse is on an increasingly alarming trend. Effects of the abuse vary according to its severity. A number of coping mechanisms have also been detailed by previous studies. The author has observed that most of the studies conducted on this area followed the long-held tradition of employing quantitative techniques of research. Hence, this work proposes to study this subject matter by looking, instead, at the lived and constructed realities of people who have child abuse experiences. Moreover, this work aims to look at the concept of family of those who have been abused vis-a-vis those with no abuse experience. The author also aims to determine the effects of child abuse by employing qualitative research techniques.

I. Introduction

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The family, as a basic social institution, is tasked by the society to provide the basic needs of its citizens. Apart from biological maintenance, the family is expected to provide the warmth, care, and love that a person needs to be able to achieve a strong sense of security and individuality to be able to achieve his fullest potentials. But what happens when the family fails to provide all these? More particularly, what happens when, instead, one receives a brunt in the face and other related traumatic experiences from that highly-regarded social institution?

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Assignment

A sad fact of the matter is that violence is widespread in the American society. It is frequently aimed at women and children (Morrel et al., 2003, p.29). Findings of a national survey show that as much as one in every four women has experienced domestic violence. Statistics also show that 50% of men who assaulted their wives, also abused their children (Domestic Violence Resource Center, 2008). Hence, this happening demonstrates this paradox, "women and children are often in great danger in the place where they should be safest: within their families. For many, "home" is where they face a regime of terror and violence at the hands of somebody close to them - somebody they should be able to trust" (Innocenti Digest, 2000, p.1).

It is in this context that the researcher believes that a deeper analysis of family dynamics, particularly focusing on the occurrence of seemingly reversed role of the family (i.e. instead of providing a deep sense of stability and security to one's personality, it seemingly becomes the very core that destructs it) is needed. Hence a look at child abuse and domestic violence is proposed.

II. Literature Review

For the purpose of this review, this paper will first provide some conceptual clarifications on domestic violence. Later on, we will shift our focus, to one particular facet of domestic violence, i.e. child abuse.

Domestic Violence refers to the "abuse and/or assault of adolescents or adults by their intimate partners...Battering is often used to refer to domestic violence or frequency and severe abuse" (Baker et al., 2002, p. 4). This abusive behavior and clear act of coercion can take on many forms: physical abuse, psychological abuse, imposing economic restraints, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and other acts of intimidation ("Forms of Domestic Violence," 2006).

Effects of Domestic Violence

Children's exposure to domestic violence, particularly to the abuse experienced by their mothers, was the focus of Huth-Bocks's et al. (2001) research interest. When tested against those who have had no exposure to domestic violence, children with exposure to domestic violence registered poorer in terms of verbal ability while there is no difference between these two groups when talking about visual-spatial abilities. Effects of domestic violence also manifest itself indirectly as it causes maternal depression which influences the home environment of the child (pp.280-282).

The draught of research on the effects of domestic violence on health prompted Hensing & Alexanderson (2000) to look at the health consequences of domestic violence among employed women. Their findings shows that exposure to adult domestic violence is closely associated with lower self-perceived health. Moreover, domestic abuse heavily impairs women's vitality, emotional role functioning, and mental health. These women also have twice as many sick leaves (usually 8-30 days long) than women who do not experience domestic violence (pp8-12). Women, who were exposed to domestic violence, also reported that have had experiences of high levels of depression, anxiety, anger, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (Jarvis, Gordon, and Novaco, 2005, p.400).

Men, on the other hand, are found to be prospective perpetrators of domestic violence. The study of Wolf & Foshee (2003) proves this point as they suggest that exposure to domestic violence is positively associated with dating violence for men but not for women (p.314).

This discussion has demonstrated the broadness of the concept of domestic violence, and the many aspects that can be pursued under this umbrella topic. To make the research more manageable, we will now focus on the chosen dimension of domestic violence, i.e. child abuse.

Childhood Abuse

The alarming increasing rate of the prevalence of child abuse has been noted in the recent decades (Berliner & Elliot in Futa et al., 2003, p. 227). This inevitability led to numerous research works done on this topic. In 2001, Coid et al. wrote that women who experienced childhood abuse were likely to experience other forms of unwanted sexual activity thereby increasing their physical abuse risks. Those who have had lesser severe cases of childhood abuse, on the other hand, were associated with rape, sexual assault, and other traumatic cases but not domestic violence. Also, if the childhood abuse is of lesser degree, most likely, the later form of abuse would not be of the same kind/form (p.453).

When it comes to the manner by which people cope from childhood abuse, the study of Futa et al. (2003) sheds some light to this. Results of this study, which divides their respondents into no-abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse groups, suggest that those who were not abused during their childhood are less likely to exercise distancing and self-blaming habits. For those belonging in the sexual and physical abuse group, they reported greater use of their social support systems, tension reduction mechanisms, problem-focused coping, and wishful thinking (p.236).

III. Objectives

Basing upon what we have known from the research literature, this research thereby proposes to gain a thorough understanding of the family dynamics of those who have experienced domestic violence, particularly, childhood abuse. More specifically, this work aims to:

Provide a strong conceptual foundation of domestic violence and childhood abuse through the exploration of these concepts

Analyze the worldview, particularly the concept of family, of those with childhood abuse experiences in relation to the worldview of those with no such experience

Understand family dynamics by looking at power structures in the family, and modes of intimidation and coercion which led to the abuse

Determine the effects of childhood abuse

Look at the coping mechanisms of those who have child abuse experiences

IV. Hypothesis

It is hypothesized that those who have child abuse experiences have a distinct, unconventional, and even deconstructed definition of family. Moreover, feelings of resentment towards their abusers remain to be strongly felt even after a significant length of time has passed by. Based from the presented literature, it is then hypothesized that the effects of child abuse involve anger, depression, poorer academic performance, and a strong sense of insecurity.


Research Design

Since the study aims to examine the lived realities of people who have child abuse experiences, particularly the way they construct their understanding of the family as an institution, the qualitative gathering of data is proposed. Since data collection in this method is not limited by particular predetermined categories of analysis, it allows for a considerable level of depth that quantitative strategies are unable to provide (Patton, 2002). Moreover, since this is considered a rather emotional and highly sensitive topic, the author believes that the qualitative research design is appropriate since it requires the building up of rapport between the researcher and the respondent. This rapport is very much needed, especially, in encouraging the respondents to disclose this painful experience.

The Interview Method

This research proposes to employ a face-to-face in-depth interviewing. This method is a technique utilized to gain a vivid understanding of the respondent's take on the research topic (Family Health International Website, n.d., p.29). Moreover, interviews are seen as particularly "appropriate for addressing sensitive topics that people might be reluctant to discuss in a group setting" (ibid., p.30), such as our subject matter.

Sampling Method

This research employed a non-probability, purposive sampling type. In cases where certain qualifications or criteria are to be met such as this study, purposive sampling is considered as an appropriate sampling procedure (Nachmias & Nachmias, 1996).

This study proposes to have two… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Child Abuse and Domestic Violence" Research Proposal in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Child Abuse and Domestic Violence.  (2008, December 12).  Retrieved August 4, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Child Abuse and Domestic Violence."  12 December 2008.  Web.  4 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Child Abuse and Domestic Violence."  December 12, 2008.  Accessed August 4, 2021.