Domestic violence has wide ranging and sometimes long-term effects on victims. The effects can be both physical and psychological and can impact the direct victim as well as any children who witness parental violence. Physical Effects
The physical health effects of domestic violence are varied, but victims are known to suffer physical and mental problems as a result of domestic violence. Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, more significant that auto accidents, rapes, or muggings. (O'Reilly, 1983).
Many of the physical injuries sustained by women seem to cause medical difficulties as women grow older. Arthritis, hypertension and heart disease have been identified by battered women as directly caused by aggravated by domestic violence early in their adult lives. Medical disorders such as diabetes or hypertension may be aggravated in victims of domestic violence because the abuser may not allow them access to medications or adequate medical care. (Perrone, 1992).
Victims may experience physical injury (lacerations, bruises, broken bones, head injuries, internal bleeding), chronic pelvic pain, abdominal and gastrointestinal complaints, frequent vaginal and urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV. (Jones & Horan, 1997 and Bohn & Holz, 1996).
Victims may also experience pregnancy-related problems. Women who are battered during pregnancy are at higher risk for poor weight gain, pre-term labor, miscarriage, low infant birth weight, and injury to or death of the fetus. Psychological Effects
While the primary and immediate focus for many people is the physical injury suffered by victims, the emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by batterers likely has longer term impacts and may be more costly to treat in the short-run than physical injury. (Straus, 1986, 1988, 1990).
Depression remains the foremost response, with 60% of battered women reporting depression...