Domestic violence is a widespread problem. However, its actual extent is difficult to measure. Many researchers believe that the extent of violence between couples (married or dating/courting) is higher than reports indicate. Analysis based on police or hospital records, seem to underestimate the extent of violence because many cases of abuse are never reported. Gatherings of individuals generally produce higher estimates of violence than that the official records like police and hospitals.

Domestic Violence are physically or emotionally harmful acts between husbands and wives or people in a relationship. It is a kind of violence that occurs in dating/courtship relationships or marriages, it can also occur between gay and lesbian partners.

Domestic violence takes many form which include emotional or verbal abuse, restraint of normal life and freedom, sexual assault, threats to life, denial of access to resources and money as well as physical harassment and attacks. In extreme cases, domestic violence may result in the death of a partner.

Men and women are likely to be victims of domestic violence. However, police and hospitals have records that majority of victims are of domestic violence are women.

According to the U.S. government statistics, women are far more likely to experience violence from their partner than men. DOJ report indicates that domestic violence occurs almost equally among women of all races and is slightly more likely to occur among women with low incomes. The report showed that the most common victims of intimate violence are younger women, between the ages of 16 and 24 years old.

Most times, domestic violence results to homicide. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), more than 500 men were killed by their wives and girlfriends in 1996, representing about 5 percent of all male homicide victims in the United States. In the same year more than 1300 women in the United States were killed by their husbands or boyfriends representing approximately 30 percent of all female homicide victims.


There is no reason that explains or justifies why men or women abuse and assault their partners. The following reasons just helps to understand what nay cause domestic violence and not justify the act. Hence, causes of domestic violence include;

  • The major cases of domestic violence can be found among youths (both the offender and the victim) among couples of this age bracket low income, growing up in a violent family, alcohol or substance abuse, unemployment, sexual difficulties, and low job satisfaction are the main causes of domestic violence.
  • Personality factor also causes domestic violence, offenders committing the most serious form of domestic violence tend to have antisocial personality disorders. People with such disorders have an impaired ability to feel guilt, remorse, or anxiety.
  • Social and cultural influences also contribute to spouse abuse. Because most victims of intimate violence are women, researchers who analyze social factors contributing to spouse abuse often focus on the role of women in society. In most societies, economic and social processes operate directly and indirectly to support a male-dominated social order and family structure which is associated with the subordination (restriction to inferior gender) and oppression of women. Analysts say that this factor contributes to lower economic status for women, which may make women dependent on men. This dependence may increase a woman’s likelihood of becoming involved in an abusive relationship or may limit a victim’s ability to leave such a relationship.


 Victims of such abuse suffer both short-term and long-lasting effects, which include;

  • Physical injuries can ranging from bruises, cuts, and burns to broken bones, stab wounds, miscarriages (in women), and death.
  • Victims also experience depression and other psychological distress, eating disorders, alcohol and substance abuse problems, and they to contemplate or attempt suicide.
  • Children who witness domestic violence experience depression and psychological distress and are more likely than other children to be physically violent.


Many programs and services, both for victims and offenders, exist in order to help treat and prevent domestic violence. Since 1964, more than 1800 shelters or refuges for battered women have been established in the United States. Initially designed to provide simply a safe place for victims and often victims’ children sometimes, at shelters, victims of abuse receive legal assistance, counseling for themselves and their children, referral to other treatment programs such as substance abuse rehabilitation and additional treatment and advocacy services.

An increasingly common response to domestic violence has been the establishment of treatment programs for offenders. Courts often require offenders who are found guilty of physically or sexually assaulting their partners to attend these programs as a condition of their sentences. The length of programs varies, but many are short term lasting from 6 to 32 weeks.

Although programs for offenders vary in form and in underlying theory, most involve group therapy. Many are educational which offer a feminist perspective on domestic violence. Such programs seek to educate male offenders about the role of patriarchy and to demonstrate that men’s attitudes and behavior about control and power lead to abuse of women. The programs also encourage men to examine their attitudes about what it means to be a man.

 Many treatment programs also emphasize anger management for offenders. Counselors teach participants to recognize cues of anger and then use a technique, such as waiting a period of time to calm down before reacting, to control the anger and avoid violent behavior.


 Laws in most states allow police officers to arrest people suspected of committing domestic violence without the victim filing charges. Before the 1980s arrests were uncommon, in part because many victims were unwilling to press charges and also because many law enforcement officials were reluctant to make arrests. Instead, officers typically attempted to calm the violent parties down or restore order. In response to criticism by feminist activists and as a result of research indicating that arrests seemed to reduce subsequent violence, many cities changed their intervention policies.

The most popular and widespread prevention programs have been community and national public awareness campaigns that identify domestic violence as an important social problem.


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