Domestic violence often happens in the context of an intimate relationship. As the Nevada Attorney General’s Office describes, it refers to a series of chronic violent acts committed by a family or household member against another. The abuser tortures and controls the victim by calculated threats, power, coercion, and physical violence. Domestic abuse is a serious offense that may occur in any relationship, regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or religion.
Women are much more likely to be victims than men. 1/4 women and 1/7 men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. According to the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, every 9 seconds, another woman in the US is beaten.
Types & Causes
Apart from actual physical attacks or threats, many more people are likely to be abused in silence or subjected to non-criminal forms of abuse.
Some studies indicate that a cause of
domestic violence stems from an intersection or a combination of both
environmental and individual factors. Usually, the following situations are
correlate to intensify violence and abuse:
- Lack of control
The need to exert complete control over one’s partner is the leading cause of domestic violence. However, most violent people have the ability not to abuse their partners in public.
- Drug and alcohol abuse
Already abusive people decrease inhibition
and increase personal instability after intoxication.
Likely, using addictive drugs because of existing stresses and desires, cause further financial hardship and decay of health and relationship. Thus, another cycle of violence follows.
- Financial issue
Domestic Violence often leads to impoverishment or unemployment.
- Emotional factors
People who experience domestic violence may have stress, depression, desperation, jealousy, anger, and humiliation.
- Domestic violence cycles
If a child has experiences of domestic violence, his or her ability to trust others or control emotions will be undermined or destroyed after witnessing abuse as the norm.
- Agitation, anxiety and chronic apprehension
- Constant state of alertness
- A sense of hopelessness, helplessness or despair
- Fear of the inability to protect oneself or make independent
- A belief that one deserves the abuse
- A belief that one is responsible for the abuse
The following symptoms are at times caused by the constant stress and tension of living with an abuser:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Chronic pain
- Restless sleep or inability to sleep
Recognizing domestic violence in clinical practice use the diagnoses of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and low self-esteem. Two possible approaches are outlined to resolve low detection rate of domestic violence: the diagnostic approach and the screening approach:
- The diagnostic approach
Health professionals need to detect the longer-lasting psychological scars, such as depression, low self-esteem and PTSD (Posttraumatic Diagnostic Schedule), because significant physical signs often fade away. Asking questions to patients establishes the type and severity of causative trauma, which is an intrinsic part of making the diagnosis.
- The screening approach
Specialists need to make clear first the
condition and benefit of professional early intervention. Then, a screening
program can only be implemented with a reliable diagnostic test with good
sensitivity and specificity.
For the victim of domestic violence：
- Important considerations
To solve domestic violence, the physician
needs to first and foremost recognize, acknowledge and confirm the seriousness
of the problem.
- Information and resources
Under safe circumstances, the physician may provide the victim with written information (including phone numbers) on legal options, local counseling and crisis intervention services, shelters, and community resources.
- Actual physical treatment
- Mental health therapies
They may include psychotherapy, conjoint counseling, individual counseling, family therapy or group therapy.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Nonviolence can be learned by domestic violence perpetrators with CBT.
Keywords: domestic violence; domestic abuse.