Deviance Behavior Essay

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Family Violence

In recent years society has become increasingly more violent. This violence exists in many different spheres of life. One of the most harmful forms of violence is family violence. Family violence is defined as "the continuing crime and problem of the physical beating of a wife, girlfriend or children, usually by the woman's male partner (although may be female violence against a male ("Family Violence)." Additionally family violence is also classified as an anti-social mental illness. In addition, in many cases a woman's dependence, low self-esteem, and fear of leaving the offender cause her to stay in the relation or fail to protect her children. Also, "Prosecutors and police often face the problem that a battered woman will not press charges due to fear, intimidation and misplaced "love." Increasingly domestic violence is attracting the sympathetic attention of law enforcement, the courts, and community services, including shelters and protection for those in danger ("Family Violence)."

Every year many people die or receive injuries as a result of family violence. In addition to the physical toll that violence can take on a family, there are also very lasting sociological and psychological effects associated with family violence. The negative impact of family violence can be seen the criminal justice system, the diminished strength of the family structure and the difficulty that some victims have with interpersonal relationships.

The purpose of this discussion is to explore several issues related to the subject of family violence. First we will explore the ways in which family violence fails to conform to societal norms. The research will also focus on societal norms, Why people or groups engage in deviant behavior, How deviants view their behavior, the Positive and Negative Impact of Family Violence deviancy on Society, Society's Response to Family Violence and Sociological Theories on Family Violence.

Family Violence

Family violence offenders fail to conform to societal norms by expressing their feelings through violence. Offenders abuse children and spouses both physically and emotionally which leads to a whole host of problems. Societal norms dictate that the home should not be a place of violence and discord. Such violence causes instability that causes problems on other areas of life including school and social interactions.

According to Norwood et al. (2004) asserts that many of the theories associated with domestic violence are not united on the correlation between domestic violence and other types of deviance. The authors explain that these other types of deviance include behaviors such as aggression toward nonfamily members, theft, fraud, and criminal substance use, antisocial, or any behavior that is an infringement of the established community norms (Norwood et al. 2004).

In addition some theorists have asserted that domestic violence in men is only one manifestation of a general tendency toward engaging in deviant behavior. This position has as a foundation general theories of crime which asserts that family violence, as with other forms of criminal or antisocial behavior is best understood "by theories that invoke general explanatory principles such as low self-control or antisocial behavior traits. Such theories suggest that domestic violence and other forms of deviant behavior (though not necessarily any specific form of deviant behavior) should be associated. Such an association would be indicated by a greater prevalence of deviant behavior among men who engage in domestic violence compared with those who do not (Norwood et al. (2004)." The authors further explain that the aforementioned theoretical assertion is contradictory to the argument that domestic violence is a distinctive type of deviance. That is there are theories that assert family violence is a deviant behavior with distinct causes and correlates from other types of deviance, and as such it necessitates its own special theories for sufficient explanation (Norwood et al. (2004).

In addition this behavior is considered deviant because it has a negative impact on the entire society, including the immediate community in which these problems are occurring. According to Norwell et al. (2004), "At the community level, the burden occasioned by violence against women includes lost work time and wages, reduced productivity, and costs associated with the provision of health care and social services for victims and their families (Norwell et al. 2004)."

The societal norm or legitimate authority for regarding this person or group and their behavior as deviant

The legitimate authorities that designate this behavior to be deviant include national laws and law enforcement agencies. These authorities have the power to punish those that are participating in this activity. In addition these authorities understand and can attest to the harm that family violence causes for those within the home and the community in general.

Other organizations include Child and family welfare departments which work within the community to ensure that children are not being abused. If children are abused this organization is responsible for investigating the situation and removing the child for the home. This organization usually works in tandem with law enforcement to ensure the situation is handled correctly.

Why people or groups engage in deviant behavior

There are different as to why some people choose to engage in family violence. One of the prevalent reasons seems to be the cycle of domestic violence that is often present in offenders. That is many people who engage in this behavior grew up in households where such abuse also occurred. For instance, men who grow up in a home where their fathers were also abusive. This is known as the theory of Intergenerational Transmission of Violence. According to Murrell et al. (2007),

"many researchers have reported a link between violent childhood experiences (including witnessing domestic violence and/or being physically abused) and violent adult offenses…One often-hypothesized mechanism of such transmission is observational & #8230; most commonly described as learning from modeling with a social learning perspective. Social learning theory suggests that a child learns not only how to commit violence but also learns positive attitudes about violence when he (or she) sees it rewarded (Murrell et al., 2007, 524)."

This assertion suggests that children who have been exposed to violent behavior, learn that conflicts are resolved through violence. In addition, the communication patterns they learn are also destructive and often lead them to be emotionally abusive as they get older. The authors also explain that social learning theory dictates that observers and/or victims can be affected. However, children from more violent environments are more likely to participate in violent behaviors (Murrell et al., 2007).

Although the theory of Intergenerational Transmission of Violence explains why many people are domestic violence offenders, it does not explain all cases. Another reason why some people exhibit this deviant behavior is a lack of control over their tempers and poor communication skills. Some people do not have the self-control to How deviants view their behavior: Is it a one-time aberration or a deviant career?

Not all domestic violence offenders are the same. Some offenders understand that their behavior is destructive and hurtful to their families. Many of these individuals seek counseling and receive help for their problems. In some instances they are able to overcome these issues and the abuse stops.

However, it is quite often the case that offenders do not understand or care that they are causing their families a great deal of pain. There are many offenders that are quite narcissistic and blame their victims for their behavior. These individuals will continue to offend and in some cases that there violence results in the death of a child or a spouse. So in these instances the offender continues to victimize -- it indeed becomes their career.

Research concerning recidivism amongst domestic violence offenders is somewhat scarce and controversial ( Mears et al., 2001). According to Sartin et al. (2005) research into the recidivism of post intervention offenders is of particular importance. The authors point out that those who have received some type of intervention or treatment are usually the worst of offenders. These individuals are often ordered by a court of law into treatment. The authors point out that whether or not these interventions are effective in preventing recidivism is up for debate. The reason for the difficulty in understanding recidivism in domestic violence situations is the manner in which the word recidivism is applied to the issue. For instance the authors insist that some researchers define recidivism as any behavior that lands the offender back into the legal system (Sartin et al., 2005). On the other hand, some researchers only define recidivism as it relates to reoccurrences of domestic violence situations (Sartin et al., 2005). Because there are differences of opinion as it pertains to what recidivism is it is hard to determine how many offenders reoffend.

The Positive and Negative Impact of Family Violence deviancy on Society

The deviant behavior that is family violence can have both positive and negative impacts of society. The research has already discussed a great deal of the negative effects associated with domestic violence. These negative effects include the continuation of violence to the next generation. Poor self-esteem, anger problems. Social problems, loss time at… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Essay:

APA Format

Deviance Behavior.  (2009, November 4).  Retrieved December 13, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Deviance Behavior."  4 November 2009.  Web.  13 December 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Deviance Behavior."  November 4, 2009.  Accessed December 13, 2019.