Domestic Violence: A Bleak Reality Research Paper

Pages: 6 (1882 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Domestic Violence:

A bleak reality in the modern United Kingdom

The crime statistics from the British Crime Survey (BCS) of 2008/2009, which is based upon the public's answers to questions about crime, reveal some promising data with regard to violence in the United Kingdom. Specifically, based on the 2008/09 BCS, violent crime remained stable in the United Kingdom relative to the data collected from the previous year. Another important gauge of crime data is based upon the police recorded crime index which provides even more promising data concluding that total violence against the person decreased by 6% (Crime in England and Wales, 2009). Given that violent crime has either remained constant or decreased depending upon which means of recording data is reviewed, it would seem as though this would necessarily include violence in the domestic arena. However, a more fastidious review of data and phenomenon, reveals that in the realm of domestic violence, the United Kingdom's crime statistics fail to demonstrate an adequate synopsis of the reality for the victims of such crimes. In fact, the statistics regarding victims of domestic violence must be analyzed in conjunction with data specific to domestic violence, not overall violence, so as to bring to light the crisis of repeated victimization combined with the social reality that there is a lack of resources for these victims. Indeed, this is the bleak reality of domestic violence in the modern United Kingdom.

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Even in a debate on the floor of the House of Lords as recently as March of 2010, even Attorney General and Baroness Scotland of Asthal misuses the statistics from the 2008/2009 British Crime Survey to support her contention that great strides have been made in the domestic violence realm. However, instead of comparing the data from one year to another, she uses the 2008/2009 data and compares it against data of 1997, prior to the enactment of several laws in the first decade of this century that now provide help and instill a duty to help victims of domestic violence. Moreover, she fails to recognize that the British Crime Survey may not be an entirely reliable predictor of the state of domestic violence in the U.K. since many domestic violence victims are afraid to report the violence at all. Furthermore, the data on general violence does not create an entire picture of the domestic violence issues.

A more fastidious approach to crime data in its entirety as opposed to for the purpose of making one's point as in the case of the Attorney General reveals that of all crime victims, to this day, it is the domestic violence crime victim that is most likely to endure a repeated victimization (Appendix a). Specifically, according to the data in the attached bar chart noted as Appendix a, thirty-eight percent of the victims of domestic violence during 2008-2009, experienced such violence and victimization on more than one occasion during the same year.

Behind the data revealed in the bar chart herein attached as Appendix a is a bleak picture for the woman who comprises the thirty-eight percent. For whatever reason, prosecution failure, forgiveness, short sentencing, a wonderful honeymoon stage, child visitation or shared custody, an unlocked door on a warm day, the domestic violence victim is more likely than any other victim of any other crime to have to experience the same victimization again. This repeated nature of domestic violence makes the effects of domestic violence particularly egregious. The effects do not cease at the short-term physical injury sustained such as a bruise or a broken arm. In fact, domestic violence victims are more apt to suffer in the long run even after the abuse ends from mental illness, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and depression as well as many other lasting physical ailments such as chronic pain, arthritis, fatigue, hypertension, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems ("Long Lasting Effects of Domestic Violence," n.d.). Additionally, the repeated victimization is oftentimes viewed by children which has a lasting deleterious impact upon their impressionable minds. In fact, one-third of the children who witness the battering of their mother have significant behavioral and/or emotional problems. These problems range from psychosomatic disorders to stuttering, anxiety and fears to sleep disruption and excessive crying. Inevitably, these effects have a negative impact upon their education and they encounter a variety of problems in school as well as in later relationships. (Jaffe et al., 1990). Thus, repeated victimization of the domestic violence victim leads to negative and lasting effects upon the victim as well as the children; and, in turn, should the children play out such abusive behavior later in their own relationships, society will have created additional victims by omitting to properly prosecute the initial perpetrator and provide services to the original victim.

Lack of Services

In the modern industrialized world of the United Kingdom, one might imagine that services existed for each and every woman who sought to escape from a violent environment or a threatening domestic partner. However, the statistics related to the treatment of victims and prevention of domestic violence crimes in the United Kingdom paint a bleak picture for many women in desperate need of support in escaping a violent situation.

As of 2009, over one in four local authorities in Britain do not have any specialized support services whatsoever for the victims of domestic violence (Coy, Kelly, & Foord, 2009). A review of Appendix B, Map 1: "VAW support services in Britain," demonstrates that over a quarter of local authorities do not have any services to support women in a violent environment. Additionally, Appendix C, Map 2: "Domestic violence services," further demonstrates that only 22 out of the 408 services that exist have a range of four or more services to offer women. Moreover, Appendix D, Map 3: "Women's Refuges," reveals that even in areas that have some kind of support services for women, only 64.4% of those areas have a place where women in a violent situation can actually seek safe harbor or refuge from the abuse (Cor, Kelly, & Foord, 2009). In fact, even the United Nations has noticed the lack of services throughout the United Kingdom and has made a public call for the United Kingdom to take action in order to adequately address the needs of its women who are in the midst of crisis and violence ("Secretary General's in Depth Study of Violence Against Women," 2006).

Why Provide Services to Treat Victims of Domestic Violence

There are many reasons on a variety of levels which support the fact that the victims of domestic violence deserve to have services provided to them to help extricate themselves from psychological, physical, and potentially lethal abuse. if, solely focusing from the perspective of a the criminal law, services were provided now for the woman/mother in a domestic violence situation, then her children would be spared a childhood of watching repeated abuse; and, the research is clear that "those boys who witness abuse of their mother by their father are more likely to inflict severe violence upon others (including their mate) as adults." Research also provides evidence that girls who witness maternal abuse may tolerate abuse as adults more often than girls who do not grow up witnessing such events (Hotaling & Sugarman, 1986). According to a study performed by Giles-Simes (1985), the negative effects experienced by a child as a result of seeing domestic violence may ultimately be diminished if the child receives intervention by the law and domestic violence programs (Giles-Sims,1985).

In order to get the child and the abused victim help, we must first have in place domestic violence services. Once those services are in place, then the women of the local community might feel more apt to avail themselves of help. In fact, the United Nations Study of Women and Domestic Violence notes that there area several reasons for the under-reporting as well as the failure of women to ever seek help in crisis or in order to leave the violent relationship. Two of these reasons that women stay and submit themselves to the abuse relate to the following two factors:

(1) Certainty and fear on the part of victims that they may not be protected by the law, and that perpetrators of violence will not be sentenced adequately; and,

(2) Assistance for victims may not always be available, effective and approachable.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that crime statistics show that the United Kingdom has made overall strides with regard to the reduction of crime over the past two years. However, a closer review of the data and research on crime shows us that women in violent situations continue to experience violence, many on a repeated basis. Thus, by adding services to the communities of women, the number of women who have been hiding for fear of reprisal and for fear that no one really can help them might actually pick up the phone and ask for help. By doing so, they would be assisting their overall mental and physical… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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