Term Paper: Domestic Violence Prevention

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¶ … domestic violence prevention as it relates to individuals. There were 10 sources used to complete this paper.

Domestic Violence Literature Review

Domestic violence is a serious issue in the United States. Each year victims of domestic violence are injured or killed at the hands of their abuser. Usually however, by the time the injury or death occurs the have been many signs along the way that it was coming and those signals were ignored.

Domestic violence does not just injure the people involved in the altercation but it also impacts those who witness the abuse. Recent studies have shown that children in homes where domestic abuse occurs have a higher rate of drug and alcohol use as adults and have a higher rate of going into a domestic violence relationship themselves (Sharron, 2005).

Domestic violence is insidious as it grows from within and destroys family units. While there are group therapy sessions and domestic violence shelters available to those who seek help the most significant assistance one can receive is education and tools about how to stop domestic violence as an individual (Sharron, 2005).

Dating Domestic Violence

There are many types of domestic violence. Fathers hitting mothers, parents beating children and children hitting parents are all common incidences of domestic violence, however, there is a growing domestic violence issue in America between boyfriends and girlfriends.

A recent case study illustrated how the problem occurs.

A.M. considers herself a jealous and possessive person. If she senses that her boyfriend is inattentive, or that he is speaking to a person she dislikes, she acts out physically against him. She reports that her anger causes her to hit, scratch or pummel him with her fists. He refuses to retaliate. She reports that she does not like it when he refuses to defend himself. She sees it as a sign of weakness, and is therefore casting her attention toward another potential partner. When asked why she physically strikes out at him, she replies that her anger is relieved when she hits him. She states, "I can't stand it when he doesn't hit me back. I don't respect that. I can't be with a guy I don't respect. The first guy who hits me back, that's the man I'll marry (Sharron, 2005)."

This is a classic case of a child raised in a home where domestic violence was an accepted practice. She now believes that it is an appropriate method of displaying anger.

A study conducted by Bergman, in 1992 concluded that 10 to 35% of dating partners in America have been victims of or perpetrators of domestic violence.

The problem does not respect gender boundaries as the prevalence of domestic violence issues between dating partners is equal with men and women being the aggressors (Sharron, 2005).

Domestic violence historically has been studied relative to spousal abuse. Abusive behaviors between unmarried courting couples were first reported in a study by Makepeace in 1981(Sharron, 2005). Since then, studies in the literature have defined behaviors, populations, gender differences, ethnic impact and intervention programs (Sharron, 2005). While the body of literature is growing, the general age range of the experimental or observed group continues to be adolescents of high school age (grades 9-12) (Henton et al., 1983; Bergman, 1992; Avery-Leaf et al., 1997; O'Keefe, 1997; Symons et al., 1994) (Sharron, 2005)."

2000 study by Pelcovitz, Kaplan, DeRosa, Mandel, & Salzinger, concluded that children who are subject to witnessing domestic violence in the home are much more likely to become either victims or abusers in a domestic violence dating relationship as adolescents and young adults (Sharron, 2005).

Hamberger and Ambuel attributed this pattern to the fact that people learn their conflict resolution tools through life experiences and those experiences often carry into adult relationships (Sharron, 2005).

Studies have demonstrated that perpetration and victimization of dating violence are prevalent in both genders. Both sexes are commonly victimized by less severe acts, such as pushing, grabbing or shoving (Henton et al., 1983). Girls are more likely to perpetrate dating violence (Malik et al., 1997; Morse, 1995; Foshee et al., 2001) (Sharron, 2005). Younger adolescent females of middle school age have been found to perpetrate more mild, moderate and severe violence than boys when controlled for self-defense (Foshee et al., 2001) (Sharron, 2005)."

In identifying the key tools that would be helpful to individuals in the prevention of domestic violence between dating partners several things were considered.

Education was found to be a primary need in the quest to reduce the incidence of domestic violence in dating partners. Education should include the ability to recognize early signals of domestic violence signs and walking away from such relationships before it reaches actual violence.

The second step according to the literature should be to provide intervention tools after the problem has already begun and harm has been caused.

All of the interventional studies conducted between 1992 and 2001 employed quasi-experimental design using pretest and post-test questionnaires that measured acquisition of knowledge and attitudes regarding dating violence (Sharron, 2005). Six studies (Jaffee et al., 1992; Frazier et al., 1995; Lavoie et al., 1995; Lonsway et al., 1998; Avery-Leaf et al., 1997; Foshee et al., 1998) worked on samples of eighth and ninth grade students who were primarily of European-American descent (Sharron, 2005). Three studies (Krajewski et al., 1996; Macgowan, 1997; Weisz & Black, 2001) focused on middle school youth. Two studies worked with primarily African-American students in urban settings (Macgowan, 1997; Weisz & Black, 2001) (Sharron, 2005). The others worked with students of European-American descent from suburban settings (Sharron, 2005)."

The study results were conclusive in the need for education.

Research has also shown that domestic violence has become a threat to the psychological and physical well being of the victims and their family members who witness the abuse.

Children in the Home

For many years children who witness domestic violence in their homes were not considered victims and therefore were not provided many services for what they had seen. Recently however, that has changed due to research study results concluding that the violence those children witness has a direct impact on their adult lives as they become victims or abusers themselves (Tomison, 2003).

Today there are many programs through social services that work with children as victims of domestic violence.

It is difficult to estimate precisely the number of children exposed to domestic violence. In a review of Victorians domestic violence legislation it was revealed that children under five years were present in: 65 per cent of domestic disputes involving the threat or use of a gun; in 79 per cent of disputes involving a weapon (usually a knife); and in almost two-thirds of disputes where property was damaged (Wearing 1992). While in a more recent survey of Australian youth, one quarter of young people sampled reported having 'witnessed' (1) an incident of physical domestic violence against their mother or step-mother (Indermaur 2001) (Tomison, 2003)."

If the cycle is to stop it is important that children as individuals be trained to understand the inappropriateness of domestic violence and also recognize its early warning signs so they can avoid getting into a relationship where domestic violence occurs as they grow older.

While the majority of children who have been exposed to domestic violence do not participate in further family violence, research has identified an association between growing up in a violent family and subsequent involvement in violent adult relationships as either an offender or victim (Tomison, 2003). Although the extent of the intergenerational transmission of violence attributed to exposure to domestic violence is not known, the best estimates put the extent of the intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment, as a whole, at 30-37% (Tomison, 2003)."

One of the things that the research found was that teaching individual children how to utilize protective behaviors including a safety plan can be helpful in giving them a sense of control and a feeling of security and safety in their lives.

Another program was found to be successful using one on one time to build children's self-esteem following exposure to domestic violence within their families. The studies of the program concluded that rebuilding a child's self-esteem makes it less likely that the child will grow up to take part in a domestically violent relationship themselves.

An Australian program has received positive comments through research when it comes to individual assistance for children who are witnesses to domestic violence as well.

This program aims to assist children ages 8-10 who have experienced domestic violence. The objectives of the program include: to provide a safe place where these children can be heard and assisted to heal from the effects of family violence; to work at a preventable level to break the cycle of violence and to reduce isolation, blame and guilt which may of these children carry in connection to the violence. It also aims to give the children the right to privacy and forum where they can express themselves safely' (Child Abuse Prevention Programs

Database (Tomison, 2003)).

Adults… [END OF PREVIEW]

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