Literature review on DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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The concept of domestic violence is not a new phenomenon in the contemporary world that we live in. Domestic violence is the term that is used to indicate the aggressive deeds perpetrated by one of the partners in an intimate association on the other with whom they share close attachment. In America alone, a projected number of two million females endure violence at the hands of aggressive males who use it as an instrument of manipulation and control. This essays aims at reviewing literature on the factors that lead to domestic violence. In addition to the factors causing domestic violence, the various theories on familial violence that have been put forth by scholars and experts will be analyzed. Due to the fact that this is an area of study that elicits very diverse but strong sentiments and opinions from academicians as well as lay people, a variety of literature exists that can be studied, analyzed and used to come up with informed. For the purposes of this essay, however, focus will be on literature published from the year 1997 to date. The literature that has been chosen for the purposes of this critique brings out clearly the different theories that have been used to explain domestic violence, and their viability in explaining the issue. The reasons why women tend to stay in abusive relationships are also looked into in detail. After an introduction of the topic, a thorough critique of chosen literature on domestic violence will be drafted. Exhaustion of the topic will lead to the presentation of a conclusive summary about the same followed by a list of the bibliography cited in the essay.

Literature Review
Cohen et al (1999) assert that domestic violence has increased at an alarming rate in the modern day. In America alone more than twenty thousand people lose their lives every year as a result of violent offences perpetrated against them. In fact, several credible experts have referred to domestic violence as the top most health concern for women. Despite the recent trend of violence being perpetrated on men by females, women still remain the main victims of domestic violence; the perpetrators are usually family members that the victim has a close relationship with such as husbands, fathers, boyfriends, brother, uncles and cousins. The contemporary outbreak of aggression by children in learning institutions coupled with frequent broadcasts in the media about unimaginable incidents of violence necessitate that this area of study be re-analyzed.
As already stated, domestic violence involves one of the partners in a close relationship meting out aggression on the other. Anderson (1997) declares that domestic violence is common in most of the world’s civilization regardless of race, financial status or religion. The understanding of the reasons behind the monstrous perpetration of violence against people who are supposed to be loved and cared for will enable people from different fields such as sociology, criminology and psychology to come up with specific strategies for forecasting, deterrence and management of perceived perpetrators as well as victims. A social worker involved in the management of familial violence should be equipped with adequate knowledge about the issue. The prevention aspect of domestic violence is believed to be most effective when conducted on children who have witnessed or been victims of violence; in collaboration with the parents other concerned experts can be able to break the intergenerational conduction of aggression.
There are several theories that have been put forward in the effort to understand the concept of domestic violence, what causes it and how it can be managed. Akers and Jensen(2007) mention the social learning theory as being a very significant theory of domestic violence. The violence that is meted on women by their lovers during courtship and in marriage is believed to be as a consequence of premeditated actions that emerge from imitations and differential peer relationships. Social learning theory asserts that the males who perpetuate violence do so because as they were growing up they witnessed activities of aggression from their models (parents or guardians) which they imitated and are now perpetrating. Criminal investigations and studies in cognitive-behavioural fields have cemented this theory by ascertaining through research that most of the perpetrators of violence witnessed or underwent incidents of aggression in their childhood.
Cunningham (1998) mentions the biological theory of domestic violence. This is based on the argument that some men have it in their genes to be very protective of their women and resort to aggression to maintain their dominance. Cohen et al (1999) believe that psychopathology and neuropsychological dynamics also play a role in the commencement and perpetration of violence in the domestic arena. In the explanation of gender violence this theory purports that a combination of individual characteristics and experiential occurrences in a man’s childhood dayswork together to bring out violent and aggressive mannerisms. Such personality disorders resulting from trauma or remorse that are believed to transform males into batterers can be detected and treated through. Some feminist theories suggest that the power imbalances that exist in many of the world’s civilizations which are patriarchal, also tend to generate a feeling of the women under the subjugation of men and hence the occurrence of domestic violence.
Payne and Wermeling (2009) assert that there exists a variety of reasons why the abused women fail to leave abusive relationships. One reason is that they are victims of their own emotional realism. In many societies of the world, religion and cultural values do not recommend divorce or separation. This means that women who try to escape their aggressive partners are looked upon as deviants. Others stay because they are convinced that it is the best thing to do for their children who need both of their parents in order for them to grow up as stable individuals in the society. This coupled with the fact that a majority of them lack economic stability and depend financially on their husbands force the hapless women to put up with the aggression perpetrated against them in the hope that one day it will all go away. The problem, however, is that it always gets worse and many victims end up losing their lives. Kernsmith (2005) asserts that despite the increased crusades for gender equality and egalitarianism many men remain still very traditional feel that it is okay to ‘punish’ women in the event that their behavior or attitudes demean the position of a man as the head of the family. In order to get rid of these notions there should be more empowerment programs for women so that they develop feelings of self worth and confidence.
On the other hand, Cook (1997) asserts that despite the fact that in every fifteen seconds there is a woman being subjected to violence in the U.S., the numbers of men who are victims of aggression have also increased tremendously. Abuse is perceived as being physical, sexual, emotional or psychological. Cook argues the outcome of surveys conducted by the U.S. department of justice, through the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), about the issue of familial violence, have shown that the number of abused men have risen significantly in the last half a decade. While 54% of abused females report the incidents, only 45% of the men have the courage or will to do so.
Maiuro and Eberle (2008) state that when it comes to issues of familial or domestic violence the state should be on the forefront to deal with the perpetrators. The government or administration of any nation has the responsibility to safeguard its citizens from any sort of criminal victimization. Although there are many judicial and criminal agencies that are doing their best to deal with the issue, the rates of violence still remain high. It is necessary for a social worker to understand all these agencies so as to be able which is the most appropriate for the different cases that they encounter. In the earlier days cases of domestic violence were mainly handled as familial issues; currently however, it is a criminal offence in America to mete out violence on another person whether you are in an intimate relationship or not.
In conclusion, this critique has provided the major theories believed to explain causes of domestic violence. Whether the victims of domestic violence are females or males, the legal structures in any nation should be vigilant in the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. The victims should be protected and social and monetary support provided where necessary. The set up shelters and camps for victims of domestic violence should be able to provide the victims with shelter as well as supporting them in their changeover from their abusive home to another. Finally, the police officers should be very committed in their apprehension of violent criminals and the follow up of court decisions.

Akers, R. L. and Jensen, G. F. (2007): ‘Social Learning Theory and the Explanation of Crime’Transaction Publishers
Anderson, K. L. (1997): ‘Gender, Status, and Domestic Violence: an Integration of Feminist and Family Violence Approaches’ Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 59
Cohen, R. A., Rosenbaum, A., Kane, R. L., Warnken, W. J. and Benjamin, S. (1999):‘Neuropsychological Correlates of Domestic Violence’ Violence and Victims, Vol. 14
Cook, P. W. (1997): ‘Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence’ Praeger
Cunningham, A. (1998): ‘Theory-derived Explanations of Male violence against Female
Kernsmith, P. (2005): ‘Exerting Power or Striking Back: a Gendered Comparison of Motivations for Domestic Violence’ Perpetration Violence and Victims
Maiuro, R. D. and Eberle, J. A. (2008): ‘State Standards for Domestic Violence Perpetrator Treatment: Current Status, Trends, and Recommendations’ Violence and Victims, Vol. 23
Partners: literature updates and related Implications for Treatment and Evaluation’London Family Court Clinic: London
Payne,D. and Wermeling, L. (2009): ‘Domestic Violence and the Female Victim: The Real Reason Women Stay! Journal of Multicultural, Gender and Minority Studies Volume 3, Issue 1

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