Domestic violence occurs when a member of the victim’s household commits an act of violence towards them. Potential accomplices may include current and former spouses, direct family members, extended family members, and close family friends. Thus, when there is a close relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, the term “domestic violence” is used (Myhill, 2017). The victim and the abuser often have a difference in strength, and the latter might have additional influence over the former’s finances. Domestic violence includes any act that intimidates, manipulates, harms, humiliates, or places the blame on another person. This essay explores professional ways and tools to support victims of domestic violence.
Violence is the use of economic, sexual, intellectual, or psychological force or threats to direct and control the thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behavior of another person. Domestic violence, specifically, refers to coercive, threatening, degrading, abusive, or violent behavior by a spouse or former controlling partner, including sexual, financial, and emotional abuse. Family Violence Protection Act of Australia (2008) also describes domestic and family violence as forcing a person into complying, unlawfully restricting their freedom, and causing injury or death of an animal to enforce control. Moreover, the same Act (2008) states that forced outing of the sexual orientation of a family member, and discrimination against race, gender, or belonging to the LGBT community is considered domestic violence, as well. There are many myths surrounding domestic violence, the most common being the belief that the victim provokes abuse by behaving “improperly,” or that gaslighting and emotional manipulations are easy to counter if one “thinks critically.” Debunking those assumptions is vital to preventing domestic violence and developing a strong support system for victims of abuse.
Family violence protection orders are intended to shield victims from further abuse, usually by imposing restrictions on the conduct and movements of those responsible for the family violence. The majority of states and territories passed domestic abuse legislation in the 1990s in response to the growing realization that the current legal protections for victims of family violence were ineffective (Lucena et al., 2017). For instance, feminist critiques from the 1980s emphasized how the criminal justice system failed to protect women from current violence and how institutions as a whole failed to address family violence (Wendt, 2016). Overall, the topic of domestic abuse remains among the most discussed in both feminist and general spaces as it still poses a serious issue for society.
The Power and Control Wheel is a theory that depicts the strategies an abusive spouse employs to maintain relationships with their victims. The outside ring of the wheel portrays physical and sexual violence, while the interior of the wheel is made up of subtle, ongoing actions over time. The consistent employment of other, more subdued techniques found in the inner ring is frequently reinforced by abusive behaviors like those shown in the outer ring. Although it is impossible to fully capture the nuances of relationship abuse in a single graphic, the Power and Control Wheel offers a practical framework for looking at domestic abuse.
Similar to aggression between outsiders, abuse between family and friends is subject to legal intervention. It is well known that domestic and family violence can take many different forms, including not just physical assault but also mental and emotional suffering, social exclusion, and budgetary management (Lucena et al., 2017). Similar to the awarding of injunctive remedy, the emphasis is on preventing future behavior. With the use of legislative provisions for temporary orders or interim measures, the attention is on the rapid protection of persons, frequently in reaction to a crisis.
There is a myth that domestic violence refers only to physical abuse. However, Family Violence Protection Act (2008) recognizes many forms of family violence, ranging from verbal offenses to physical threats, financial control, racial or sexual discrimination, and radical enforcement of control. Even when there is no physical abuse, the perpetrator may still try to dominate and control a person through other means: for example, by forcing them into marriage (Family Violence Protection Act, 2008). According to various studies, domestic violence is considered the most common but least reported crime (Huecker et al., 2022). Men can also become victims of domestic abuse, but women account for around 97 percent of survivors, affecting one in four women at some point in their lifetime (Buchanan & Jamieson, 2016). Every case of domestic violence should be taken seriously, and it is crucial to remove biases when approaching it.
There is a common myth that the victim themselves is responsible for abuse towards them, as they try to appeal to the abuser thus encouraging them. This is an extremely harmful belief that redirects the blame from the abuser onto the victim, refusing the latter safety and support. Research claims that most abused women make every effort to appease their abuser and prevent more violent outbursts, yet despite their efforts, they are still at risk of further violence (Webster et al., 2018). It must be understood that the victim’s actions are aimed at mitigating the harm not because they agree with the abuser’s actions but because they might not feel safe to leave or do not have a support system.
The cycle of abuse can be broken with the help of medical professionals. Initial assessments can be influenced by a multitude of variables, including how well victims and offenders can conceal, downplay, and deny what has been happening, as well as expert knowledge, prejudices, and responses that can either facilitate or obstruct disclosures (Pease, 2019). There are specific indicators that might point toward existing issues with domestic violence, such as emotional and behavioral tendencies. Emotional indicators include, for example, depression, guilt, helplessness, low self-esteem, fear, anger, and a feeling of responsibility for the abuser’s behavior (Healthdirect Australia, 2020). Behavioral indicators belong to aversion to the eye and physical contact, vague answers to questions about the injuries, isolation from friends and other family members, suicide and self-harm attempts, and addictions (Healthdirect Australia, 2020). There might also be physical signs of abuse, such as bruises, scars, lacerations, fatigue, pain, fractures, and other possible injuries (Healthdirect Australia, 2020). To assess the risk of family violence, potential victims need to be questioned, as this enables them to talk about the situation and provide necessary clues for the professional.
Certain groups of people are at enhanced risk of being victims of domestic abuse. Women and children, LGBTQIA+ people, pregnant women, the elderly, sex industry workers, and people who live in rural areas encounter family violence more often than other populations (Huecker et al., 2022). Moreover, lower education levels and drug/alcohol abuse in victims correlate with an increased risk of being abused by partners and/or family members (Huecker et al., 2022). Childhood abuse is associated with becoming aggressive and abusive as an adult due to constant exposure to violence (Huecker et al., 2022). All these factors must be taken into account when assessing the risks of family violence.
Violence in an aggressive family can start suddenly and without warning. People can learn to perceive hazards and anticipate the necessary measures to keep themselves and their families safe by thinking through and planning for as many contingencies as possible (Pease, 2019). Choosing to end an abusive relationship can be difficult and highly emotional, evoking emotions ranging from relief to anxiety, fear, and insecurity. A professional must ensure that the victim is emotionally stable before taking action to leave the situation: issues related to depression and self-worth must be addressed beforehand. Building a support system that might include other family members and friends can also facilitate the feeling of emotional safety in the victim. A professional needs to be equipped with a set of skills to deal with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder to guide the healing process and ensure that the consequences of abuse are minimized.
Although screenings can be thought of as the initial stage of a risk management process, the two phrases should not be used interchangeably. Screening is the study and application of a test or inquiry to find those who are violently inclined enough to merit further research and targeted preventive action (Pease, 2019). Thus, screening is a preventative measure that helps identify those who are at risk and may also facilitate more accessible interventions through the prompt identification of helpful resources and recommendations. Through screening, practitioners can ask questions that recognize the likelihood of violence and address the client’s safety.
A variety of technical, non-legal, court, and support programs make up the family legal code. These include the Family Courts of Australia and Western Australia, the Australian Magistrates Court, and State Magistrates tribunals at the State and Federal levels that handle issues relating to children and the termination of the contract (Lee, Chia & Komar, 2022). In speaking, before turning to a court, families who disagree on parenting plans must make an honest effort to settle their differences through family conflict management. In every state, legal aid is offered in family law cases through legal representation organizations (Laing, 2017). Legal representation professionals can refer parents who are divorcing, offer legal counsel, and mediate family conflicts. Legal counsel about family law issues is also offered by several community legal centers.
Lawyers, judges, court administrators, therapists, family dispute settlement specialists, and psychologists are just a few of the professionals who work in the vast family law system. They employ a variety of techniques and adopt various strategies to meet the needs of their client. One of the primary responsibilities of the family law system is the detection and effective response to domestic violence (Laing, 2017). All professionals working in the family law system are accountable for identifying violence risk, taking appropriate action, and developing and putting in place mechanisms to support this.
The interrelated procedures of screening, risk assessment, and mitigation and preparedness help professionals fulfill their responsibilities regarding safety procedures and safe client outcomes. Regarding customer safety, they might allow joint working and serve specific purposes (Lee, Chia & Komar, 2022). Whether the victim and offender begin living separately or stay together, there are complex and ongoing emotional, psychological, and legal relationships between them, as well as complex power dynamics. After a divorce, parental responsibilities, visiting rights, and financial obligations usually remain.
The premise is that domestic violence restraining order litigation is a civil lawsuit, and the structure of such orders has many familiar legal ramifications. For example, the civil standard of proof requires that relevant facts be supported by the preponderance of the evidence in such proceedings unless applicable law provides otherwise (Lee, Chia & Komar, 2022). In addition, contrary to elements of common state and territory criminal law, statutory measures relating to restraining order requests tend to further limit the ability of police and prosecutors to deal with matters such as arrest and imprisonment (Lee, Chia & Komar, 2022). Finally, it is worth noting that in all jurisdictions, it is illegal to violate a Domestic Violence Protection Order (Laing, 2017). For example, since rape is a criminal act, in most countries, the relevant issues, including arrest, detention, and bail, are dealt with in state and territory laws that generally govern crime.
Consequences and Effects on Children and Adults
Children and adolescents who experience domestic violence suffer dire consequences that can linger into adulthood. Each child will respond to trauma differently, and some may be persistent and show no adverse effects. Age, race, gender, and developmental stage are just some of the many variables that can influence how traumatized children respond to domestic violence (Minter, Carlisle & Coumarelos, 2021). Moreover, victims of domestic abuse tend to turn to addictions such as drug and alcohol abuse as a stress relief method, as well as suffer from depression and anxiety (Hoecker et al., 2022). While the consequences of abuse are largely psychological and psychosocial, physical and sexual injuries might also affect victims later in life, sometimes to the point of disability.
People often think about how much adult victims of domestic and family violence suffer when they think about these crimes. Most cases of domestic and family violence involve a man’s violent, abusive, or intimidating behavior toward a woman (Coates & Wade, 2004). Children and teenagers can also be abused without being witness to it. Children who experience domestic or family violence suffer severely and often for the rest of their lives (Lloyd, 2018). However, people may not be aware that domestic violence between parents also affects children’s physical and mental health and well-being.
An individual who has encountered or seen a traumatic incident may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health disease in which the symptoms of the memories impair successful functioning. Life may become complex daily when intrusive thoughts, anxiety, flashbacks, and emotions of dread are present (Almış, Gümüştaş & Kütük, 2020). While one person may be able to deal with and recover from inevitable tragedy, many find that mental problems surround them throughout their lives.
Children who witness domestic violence in the home frequently experience a wide range of medical symptoms in addition to their depressing mental and behavioral states. These youngsters might express typical aches and pains like headaches and stomachaches. Additionally, they may experience issues with bedwetting, cold sores, and uncomfortable and irregular bowel movements (Kelly & Westmorland, 2016). Domestic violence frequently has emotional effects, one of which is emotional conditions in children, which have been linked to these symptoms. Children who witness domestic violence may also behave uneasily and have problems with attention in addition to these constant whining about feeling unwell. They often exhibit some of the same signs as children with ADHD or cognitive impairment.
Education training may inform individuals about men’s and women’s rights breaches as well as educate them on how to stop domestic abuse. In addition, it will help individuals learn how to assist a man or woman who has been victimized by abuse (Buzawa & Buzawa, 2017). Low literacy has also been noted as having a detrimental impact on attempts to avoid domestic abuse. This is because those with low levels of education typically have lower economic productivity and, as a result, less negotiating leverage within the family. To prevent violence against any gender, excellent education may be one of the most effective strategies.
In partnerships, domestic violence frequently results from intolerance, rage, and a foul temper. One of the most practical ways to end domestic violence is through tolerance and communication (Humphreys, Healey & Mandel, 2018). Domestic abuse is associated with both jealousy and adultery allegations. Males and females both frequently engage in abuse or violent behavior as a result of adultery or claims of infidelity. Before engaging in certain behaviors, including having sex, both spouses must have the other’s approval to prevent domestic violence. Coercion and marital rape can both be considered violations of men’s and women’s rights (Wendt, 2016). Men are also abused, despite the perception that women are the only ones who experience it.
How different legal systems create points of convergence and disagreement and work together is of great concern to both the law and legislators and women users of the legal system. After experiencing physical, mental, and emotional abuse, victims of domestic violence, may continue to experience difficult consequences. People can suffer both immediate and long-term cognitive, behavioral, and emotional consequences. They can receive specialized emotional and practical help through domestic violence programs.
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