Effects of Domestic Violence

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Abstract or executive summary

Domestic violence is defined as behaviour that is threatening, through physical, verbal, sexual, financial or psychological abuse (Mullender, 1996). This essay explains how domestic violence can affect its victims and those who are witnesses to it. As this form of abuse has many long term effects that are not only physical but deeply psychological. Research has found that around one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lives (Domestic Violence, 2008). The victims are not the only people who are affected by this abuse; children or other witnesses can also be dramatically affected. It can have major consequences for a child’s development and functioning. Concluding that the occurrence of domestic violence not only has an affect on the individuals, but also society.

Research question or hypothesis

That domestic violence has a negative and long lasting effect on victims and other persons living within the home.

Research (including methodology)

The information in this essay has been collected from numerous sources. These sources include books, print journals, electronic journals and the internet.


Domestic violence can be defined in multiple ways. The Government’s definition of domestic violence is, “any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality” (Green & Ward, 2010, p. 121). Mullender also explains it as being, on a general level, as a man using physical, sexual, verbal, psychological or financial abuse as a way of asserting domination and control over their partner (Mullender, 1996).

Both of these definitions explain how domestic violence is a way of abuse in many different forms; this repeated exposure of abuse could have long lasting negative effects on the victims and those who witness the abuse. It can have an overwhelming effect on the daily activities, functioning, personal relationships, thinking and sense of self on the victims (Domestic Violence, 2008). These effects can include: * Denial or a minimization of the abuse

* Fear
* Nightmares and sleep disturbances
* Anxiety
* Suicidal tendencies
* Anger
* Difficulty concentrating
* Depression
* Low self-esteem
* Shame and embarrassment
* Loss of hope
* Persistent physical complaints
* Substance abuse
* Social and emotional withdrawal
* Inability to trust
* Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
* Self-blame
* Numbness
* Hyper-vigilance
(Domestic Violence, 2008).

Other side effects from domestic violence can be post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks and fatigue (Domestic Violence, 2008). Domestic violence is very much a social problem as well as domestic problems. It is a gendered occurrence, which is mainly executed by men towards women (73%), mostly female partners; because of this, women are more likely to have a fear of being killed by their partners (Lapierre, 2009). Although it has been shown that domestic violence is mainly against women, some men are victimised by their female partners, and it may also happen between same sex couples (Lapierre, 2009).

It has been found that the occurrence of domestic violence against women is about one in four will experience it in their life. It was also found that of all women, those aged between 20-24 are at the highest risk of abuse from their partners (Domestic Violence, 2008). In the 2005 year it was recorded that domestic violence accounted for 9 percent of all violent crimes (Domestic Violence, 2008). As well as this, a study undertaken in 2004 found that it was more than twice as likely for a woman to be a victim of domestic violence if living in an underprivileged neighbourhood (Domestic Violence, 2008).

Particular groups of people and women are more...
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