Term Paper: Family Violence and Health Issues Domestic

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Family Violence and Health Issues

Domestic violence is one of the most unreported and insidious forms of violence in our society. The complex nature of this violence and the fact that it takes place in the privacy of the home often complicates and problematizes reporting of the issue and intervention strategies.

This factor also hampers the development and implementation of solutions to this widespread problem. Research and studies also show that domestic violence has a profound effect on society and has serious implications in terms of psychological and community health and well-being.

Family violence can include a wide variety of factors that lead to morbidity and health issues. These issues can include child abuse and the increasing prevalence of IPV or intimate partner violence. Central to this paper is that psychological and physical abuse can lead to a wide range of health issues that can exacerbate the family situation. As many studies indicate, the extent and the dimensions of family violence are often difficult to determine due to the variety of data source and privacy issues involved. (Family Violence)

According to The National Family Violence Survey it is estimated that one in six couples experiences intimate partner violence. (Brewster, 2002, p. 24) Another estimate that is considered to be more accurate is the National Violence Against Women Survey conducted by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This survey of 16,000 men and women is significant in that it revealed that;

1.5 million women and 830,000 men are victims of intimate violence each year in the United States. About 1.5% of the women surveyed reported having been physically assaulted and/or raped by a current or former intimate partner within the past year. About one quarter had been assaulted or raped by an intimate partner within their lifetime. This study also states that there are strong indicators that family and domestic violence is increasing at an alarming rate (Brewster, 2002, p. 24)

In the light of these findings, some of the relevant aims articulated as part of the Healthy People 2010 (HP2010) injury and violence prevention goals and associated objectives are the following;

Reduce deaths from unintentional injuries.

Reduce nonfatal unintentional injuries.

Reduce homicides.

Reduce maltreatment and maltreatment fatalities of children.

Reduce the rate of physical assault by intimate partners.

Reduce sexual assaults.

Castillo G. And Alexander J.)

It should also be noted that, "... Victims of domestic violence are more likely to attempt suicide and to experience mental health problems." (Castillo G. And Alexander J.)

2. Family profiles and health issues

There are numerous factors that can be discussed with regard to family profiles and domestic violence. Some studies indicate that urban rather then rural populations are more likely to experience family violence. However there are conflicting data on the subject. One statistic however that does seem to show consistency is the fact that women suffer the most through domestic violence. This is borne out by numerous facts. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice reports that "intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women...Of those victimized by an intimate partner, 85% are women and 15% are men. In other words, women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner." (Domestic Violence Facts)

More significant and less debatable are the various health issues that are related to and comorbid with family violence. Intentional injuries, as stated by Healthy People 2010, are strongly related to family and intimate partner violence. Sexual assault and child abuse as well as elder abuse, form part of the ambit of family violence. A related aspect is that spousal abuse is often linked to child abuse. "Data from the 1997 U.S. Department of Justice National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for 12 states show that 13% of child abuse incidents reported to the police are associated with spouse abuse.." (Castillo G. And Alexander J.)

These types of family violence can lead to serious health issues; including psychological as well as physical ailments. In particular, the figures with regard IPV are alarming." Nearly one-third of American women will experience intimate partner violence (IPV) as the leading cause of female homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. IPV also accounts for a significant proportion of injuries and emergency room visits for women." (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

The Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) defines Intimate Partner Violence as a, pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that may include inflicted physical injury, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, stalking, deprivation, intimidation and threats. These behaviors are perpetrated by someone who is, was, or wishes to be involved in an intimate or dating relationship with an adult or adolescent, and are aimed at establishing control by one partner over the other.

Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

IPV can include a variety of psychological aliments, such as depression and anxiety that may affect the quality of life of the individual as well as his or her social functioning. Research has linked IPV to some of the most significant health indicators defined in the federal Healthy People 2010 Initiative, which measures the health and well-being of the nation. For instance, "Women who have been victimized by an intimate partner and children raised in violent households are more likely to experience a wide array of physical and mental health conditions including frequent headaches, gastrointestinal problems, depression, anxiety, sleep problems and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

Another important health issue related to family violence is obesity. Results from a project by the Family Violence Prevention Fund suggest a close correlation between IPV and obesity. Numerous studies have found a significant relationship between family vioplence, particularly against women, and morbid obesity and disturbed eating behaviors. (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

Studies also link health problems emanating from addictive behaviors to the results of family violence. For example, in a study of 557 women, 42% of women who reported a history of lifetime IPV currently smoked cigarettes.... (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet) Alcohol abuse and its concomitant heath risks are also related to spousal abuse and violence within the marriage. "Spousal abuse has been identified as a predictor of developing a substance abuse problem. Additionally, women in abusive relationships have often reported being coerced into using alcohol by their partners." (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

Another area that relates to health risks is the abuse imposed on women during pregnancy. This is also linked to drug and substance abuse within a violent family situation. In a study of more than 2,000 prenatal patients in North Carolina, "... victims of violence were significantly more likely to use multiple substances before and during pregnancy than women who had not experienced IPV. (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

Women who experience family violence also tend to engage in sexual activities that can have negative health outcomes. There are also a higher number of women from violent families who seek abortions - with subsequent health risks. "In a study of 486 women seeking an abortion, 39.5% reported abuse." (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

This is also related to serious heath risks such as HIV / AIDS. Violence often occurs after HIV has been diagnoses. "In a study of 310 HIV positive women, 68% had experienced physical abuse as adults, 32%had experienced sexual abuse as adults and 45% experienced abuse after being diagnosed with HIV." (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

Another health related statistics from the Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet is that Women with a history of IPV are more likely to experience pelvic inflammatory disease, invasive cervical cancer and preinvasive cervical neoplasia. (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

The situation within the violent family also leads to a wide range of mental health issues. These issues can endure for years after the actual abuse and include serious disorders such as depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). "A study of 84 women diagnosed with depression who disclosed IPV revealed that 18.6% of abused women reported Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), compared to 6.7% of non-abused women." (Intimate Partner Violence and Healthy People 2010 Fact Sheet)

The psychological trauma and its effect on children in violent families is also another aspect that can lead to serious mental problems. These include "...psychological problems, behavioral problems, cognitive difficulties, mental health problems, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other trauma-related symptoms." (Castillo G. And Alexander J.)

4. Theoretical assessments, intervention and nursing care

The above are some of the main health issues associated with family violence. One of the theoretical models that can be applied in order to deal with these issues is the field model of determinants of health. This is a holistic approach which refers to a model of determinants of health… [END OF PREVIEW]

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