Domestic violence is increasingly becoming a global epidemic and one of the most pervasive incidences associated with the violation of human rights, which involves the a trend of abusive behaviors propelled by partners who are in a relationship that is perceived to be intimate. The recent trends of domestic violence are worrying as evident by the killings, physical and emotional tortures, and the denial of the victim’s rights to enjoy their fundamental freedoms. Domestic violence is evident in almost every country irrespective of the cultural orientation, ethnicity and age factors, with the most of the cases of domestic violence occurring unreported to the law enforcement agencies (Marcelino, 2009). Research studies have reported that less than 1 per cent of cases of domestic violence have been reported to the police. This paper provides an overview of the domestic violence as a social problem by identifying the scope of the social problem, the underlying reasons why the problem of domestic violence has not been solved yet. The paper also takes into account the macro and micro levels in attempt to gain an in depth understanding of domestic violence.
Scope of the problem
Domestic violence has been considered a social problem by the larger human rights movements and the international community such as the United Nations. At the national level, many countries are raising concerns regarding the increasing cases of domestic violence and its socio-economic consequences due to the denial of fundamental rights of the victims of domestic violence. At the domestic sphere, the family unit has been identified as the core element of the social problem, with the women and girls being core victims of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is an instance of human rights violation, implying that both individuals and the state have the obligation of combating the social problem. On a micro level, the family set forms the base of domestic violence. The family is usually considered to be a sanctuary, which is a place where people often try to find shelter, love and security. However, evidence reveals that the family set up can be place that endangers the lives of people, and hubs most of the dangerous forms of violence that are committed against women and girls. Research studies reveal that domestic violence indicted at the domestic level are usually perpetrated by male individuals, who have been given the position of power and trust. The most common incidence of domestic violence usually involves men inflicting violence on women. Although women have also been reported to be perpetrators of domestic violence, their violent actions form a small fraction of the cases detailing domestic violence (Follingstad, 2008).
Magnitude of the problem
Determining the magnitude of the problem of domestic violence is often difficult owing to the fact that most cases involving domestic violence go unreported. In addition, there are no proper avenues for reporting cases associated with domestic violence, and this adds up the magnitude of the social problem. For instance, when women report domestic violence of seek treatment; they often present their cases to healthcare and law enforcement officials who do not have appropriate training to handle such cases. In addition, most of the victims lack the relevant information concerning their legal rights (Marcelino, 2009). Report of such cases is also hindered due to the lack of confidence in the judicial system by the victims, and fear of the legal system. The outcome of this scenario is an increased cycle of domestic violence that goes unreported to the relevant officials and continual assault at the domestic level. The following are some of the most prevalent cases of domestic violence.
Research studies estimate that approximately 20-50 per cent of women from different countries have fallen victims to physical violence. Physical abuse broadly entails cases associated with causing feelings of coercion and infliction of physical harm such as pain and injury. Physical abuse often serves as the onset of other forms of domestic violence such as sexual, psychological and emotional abuse (Follingstad, 2008).
Reasons why domestic violence is yet to be solved
A significant hindrance factor that bars the solution of domestic violence is due to the fact that most cases usually go unreported. This implies that even if legislation is implemented, they cannot be executed effectively to address the social problem. There are various factors that have played a significant role in hindering the solution to the problem of domestic violence (Follingstad, 2008).
The prevalence of cultural factors such as gender based specialization, the notion that the domestic set up is often under the control of the males and the perception that the family is a private sphere plays an integral role in the propagation of domestic violence within the society. The prevalent state of economic factors such as increased women dependence on men, discrimination of women against inheritance and minimal access to education for women implies that the causation factors for domestic violence are yet to be addressed. In addition, legal illiteracy of the victims is an indicator that the root causes of domestic violence have been addressed (Mc Cue, 2008).
Possible solutions to stop domestic violence
There are diverse approaches that may be deployed in help in combating the problem associated with domestic violence and its related consequences. This section discusses the possible strategies that may help in the elimination of domestic violence.
The first effective strategy in addressing the problem of domestic violence is through mass education of the population on the subject matter. This entails informing the population of the negative consequences associated with the domestic violence at both the domestic and societal level. In addition, appropriate education concerning the legal rights and freedoms of women is an integral strategy in combating domestic violence (Ernest & John, 2000). Education also incorporates the training and provision of community support services; the role of the community in combating crime is to identify the crime and create an awareness campaign concerning the negativities of domestic violence.
Another effective strategy in addressing the problem of domestic violence is through appropriate legislation and the obligation of the state towards issues revolving around domestic violence. Thus, domestic violence should be treated as a crime and legislation should reflect that fact. For instance, the legislation can implement stringent measures on individuals found perpetrating domestic violence. States have the obligation of maintaining the human rights of its citizens, and one way of doing that is through the deployment of legislation that aims at the elimination of gender based violence. Therefore, the state has the responsibility of maintaining equality regarding the protection of the law and treatment of domestic violence as a serious criminal offense that requires punitive punishment.
Additionally, the community can play a big role in stopping domestic violence by engaging in education and awareness activities aimed at increasing attitudes that are positive and non violent among community members and encouraging people to report cases of domestic violence in their community. Besides, community members can play a key role of recruiting and training volunteers to assist the victims of domestic violence. Some of the roles these volunteers can participate in include accompanying domestic violence victims to court, providing administrative support to shelters hosting domestic violence victims and establishing hotlines where victims can easily violence.
Victims and survivors of domestic violence should also be encouraged to develop safety plans that can assist them make important decisions regarding the own security. The plans should include strategies that a victim can use to respond to imminent violence. The safety plan should not just be a one off process, but an ongoing process that changes and evolves as the victim decisions that are difficult regarding the relationship. In this case, local shelters are the best avenues of providing information on safety planning and victims should strive to use them.
Finally, victims should be guaranteed protection by holding the abusers accountable. Most victims fear reporting violence out of fear of abusers not being held accountable. Thus, if there is guaranteed protection, then it is possible for many victims to come out and report. One way through which this can happen is by the state taking over domestic violence cases immediately they are reported since some victims may drop charges out of fear of retaliation.
Domestic violence affects all types of people regardless of their race, socio-economic standing, age or religion. Ending domestic violence is a process that starts with victims and requires a strong network of support from the family, community and the state through effective legislation.
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Mc Cue, M. (2008). Domestic violence: a reference handbook. New Jersey: ABC-CLIO.