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Domestic Violeence

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This assignment is related to the case scenario submitted to our reflection and which relates specific domestic abuse concerns experienced by Ceciline, a 38 years old Black British woman and her children David, 14 ; Fidelia , 12 ; and Kathy, 2 within their home. The potential questions arising from this case scenario will determine the different steps of this assignment.

First and foremost, we will critically examine the definitions of domestic abuse and how its recognition as a societal concern has emerged historically.

Secondly, we will critically explore the theoretical explanations of the forms of domestic abuse identified in the case scenario.

In the third stage of this assignment, the potential impacts of domestic upon the adults and children in the scenario will be discussed and analysed.

Finally, we will critically evaluate the value and efficacy of current resources, initiatives and support networks which aim to reduce domestic violence and might assist the individuals in the case scenario.

Domestic violence has many types of definitions. According to the Department of Health (2000), domestic violence is continuum of behaviour ranging from verbal abuse, physical and sexual assault, to rape and homicide, more often perpetrated by men against women and their children.

The Home Office in 2006 has also defined domestic violence as "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse whether psychological, sexual, financial or emotional between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of sexuality and gender."

Those two definitions help to the identification of the kind of abuse many women like Ceciline have experienced or continue to experience in their intimate relationship.

Historically, the plight of women who are abused in a relationship has largely been ignored by the majority of healthcare practitioners due to a lack of understanding of either the problem or the potential solution (Shipway 2004). But since the 1990s, alongside other public services such as police, social services and local authorities, the problems of domestic abuse within a relationship has been more and more recognised as an urgent collective issue, even an important public health issue which can be viewed in any society regardless of age, gender and culture. In 1996, the World Medical Association, having recognised that doctors have a major role to play in the prevention and treatment of family violence, recommended that research should be encouraged to understand the prevalence, risk factors, outcomes and care needed for those who suffer from domestic violence in their home (Shipway 2004).

According to the Home Office (2001), two women are killed every week by a man with whom they have had, or are having an intimate relationship. Statistics related to domestic violence are various and must always be viewed with caution.

Mullender (1996), summarizing the debate on criminal statistics related to domestic violence acknowledged that only 2 to 27% of incidents are reported to the police. Moreover, as domestic violence is recorded only in terms of physical or sexual assault, the numerous women subjected to emotional and psychological abuse do not certainly appear within the statistics. Criminal statistics for England and Wales in 1997 showed that 47% of female homicide victims were killed by their partners (Shipway 2004). The overall costs of domestic abuse are estimated to be £278 million a year in Greater London alone (Stanko 2000).

Internationally, domestic violence is also recognised as a serious problem. For example in 1998, 66.7% of women in Sierra Leone had experienced physical abuse at the hands of their partners. A study undertaken in the Kissi district in Kenya in 1990 reported that 58% of women are regularly beaten by their partners (Shipway 2004).

To critically explore the theoretical explanations of the forms of domestic abuse identified in the case scenario, we need to notice that the abuse experienced by Ceciline in the case scenario can be viewed in several forms. The first and visible form of domestic abuse which can be identified in this case scenario is physical. As a matter of fact, the case scenario informs us that Ceciline family has moved to three different London Boroughs within 7 years as a result of several incidents of domestic violence in the woman relationships. Most of the time, when a woman decides to move to another location in an abusive relationship, it is because of the physical aspect of the abuse which makes her fear the worst. Moreover, the case scenario reveals that, 10 days ago, Ceciline was taken to hospital with a broken jaw. This assertion indicates the extent in which this woman has been physically assaulted by her current partner Tony. The second form of domestic abuse which can be identified here is the verbal abuse by Tony. A few months after moving to his partner home, he started to moan about the children and shout at them when they do not tidy up the house. He also has a threatening behaviour towards them. As another form of abuse, we can include a psychological abuse experienced by Ceciline, who has become depressed and starting drinking to cope with the whole situation. Her two children David,14 and Fidelia, 12 from a previous relationship are also psychologically affected by the experience which makes them to miss school very often and at the same time.

Looking properly at the case scenario, it is possible to include the fact that Ceciline is financially dependent of Tony who uses this situation to take advantage of her. In fact, Ceciline does not work but tony works for a delivery firm. This can explain why she accepted him when hen found her and return to live with her. The woman has no income and has a 2 years old daughter with Tony, who can financially secure their household, and knowing that, Tony uses this opportunity to control her and the children as he wishes.

After identifying those different forms of domestic abuse experienced by Ceciline and her children, a question needs to be answered. How can we explain these forms of abuse? In others words why do men abuse women? Obviously, one explanation to this question is that men abuse women because they can. It is beyond belief but nevertheless true that in this twenty first century, some men like Tony still believes it is their right to abuse their female partner for whatever reasons. The problem of domestic abuse raises the problem of gender inequality. Men always seek power over women due to the continuing dependence of women upon men for financial support. Even a working woman sharing her home with a male partner may not be financially independent and therefore not in position to leave a violent home.




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