Domestic violence is one of the most common crimes committed to women and children each year around the globe. Victims are either verbally, emotionally, or physically abused by their love ones, often in long durations or in bouts of great aggression often caused by drug or alcohol use. Sometimes, reports of domestic violence even record men being domestically abused by their wives or boys being abused by their parents. Several methods have already been proposed by experts in order to counter the growing number of domestic violence. One of these proposals was through counselling men in order to redirect their aggression towards their families. Some question the capacity of this method in stopping domestic violence, but proponents’ stress that it is a promising means to stop domestic violence. Counselling men on domestic violence could decrease the domestic violence rates once it is used.
Domestic violence or intimate partner violence can be defined as the “emotional, physical, psychological or sexual abuse perpetrated against a person by that person’s spouse, former spouse, partner, former partner or by the other parent of a minor child.” According to McCue (2008), abuse can be done through verbal threats, injury, harassment, terrorism or even physical violence. Most of these abuse tactics are often used to ensure that victims feel fear and submit to the demands of the abuser. It is most often reported that women are the usual victims of these domestic violence, while a few are homosexuals or men. As far as the perpetrators are concerned, they can be anyone. However, most of them are men who have a perfect standing outside their home. It is often observed that men often abuse or batter their wives or children because of jealousy, possessiveness and the desire to dominate their relationship. Women are ordered by their partners to stop socializing in order to satisfy their desire to isolate their partners. Some batterers often take possessiveness to the next level as some would use eavesdropping and stalking to check their partner’s activities and spending. Most of the time, this occurs when the woman tries to stop their relationship. Researchers note that most of these feelings felt by batterers as unfounded beliefs considering it is their behavior that has caused women to shy away from them. In other special cases, some batterers are caused by personality disorders or childhood experiences. Others just batter their wives out of the belief females should be submissive to their male partners .
Experts have stressed that preventing domestic violence and intervening in current cases should start early considering that domestic violence has a lasting impact on its victims and to the abusers. According to Carter (2000), the media continues to report that battered women have tried almost everything to escape their abusers, only to be killed alongside their children. Children are also continuously at risk due to domestic violence caused by batterers continue to increase. As a result of child abuse, some of these children even become juvenile delinquents in the process. It is often difficult for governments to act against domestic violence due to the lack of resources and the sensitivity of the case. In order to act and prevent further onset of these domestic violence cases, experts believe it is essential that the efforts are done early through education campaigns and targeting low-income parents through intervention .
In addition to these additional risks, studies also reveal that a majority of domestic violence cases are not immediately spotted and the behavior of abusers vary depending on what stage the abuse is being done. According to Kenney (2012), abusers are often times in denial that they are abusing their loved ones. Once the abuse is done, the batterer often feels guilt and would even say his apologies to his partner. However, this may not mirror the batterer’s actual position on the plight of partner or children considering the satisfaction it can bring to the batterer. Although they may feel smug, batterers would start to worry about the possible consequences of what they have done. Some would try to rationalize their behavior by blaming alcohol or foreign influence. Once they manage to fix everything with their partners, the cycle of violence would start once more as the abuser would now begin in plotting means to abuse their love ones once more .
With the extent of domestic violence occurring around the globe, several proposals have been raised in order to prevent further domestic violence and treatment. However, counselling, according to Nelson-Jones (2005), is currently being considered as one of the best prevention strategies due to its capacity to reduce domestic violence significantly. Counselling actually targets three major issues that has to be addressed when it comes to stopping men from abusing their families: their excessive desire to succeed, restrictive personality and restrictive affectionate behavior. It is crucial that these three issues be targeted by counsellors as men often times do not allow themselves to accept the idea of changing their perceptions on gender roles. This stubborn behavior disables them from understanding the capacity of their loved ones to succeed if they were not restricted by these men by their behavior. Counselling also tries to get men become aware of the impacts of their behavior, and how it is affecting their relations with others. Another goal usually achieved through counselling is by helping men find other means to deal with stress and prevent physical violence .
Individual counselling, according to Palmer and Milner (2001), begins with the understanding of understanding the history of previous violence coming from the side of the victim. The victim would help counsellors to determine what course of action should be done in order to curb the behavior of the abuser . Once preliminary data is received from the abuser and the victim, seven key activities can be done by counsellors to engage men on stopping domestic violence. According to the ‘Guidelines for Working with Perpetrators of Domestic and Family Violence in Bright Futures’, counsellors can begin by engaging into conversations with perpetrators to entice them to accept their responsibility due to their actions against their families. Counsellors can use this period in discussing subtly what they think about people committing violence and convince perpetrators in accepting their guilt. These conversations could also allow counsellors to help perpetrators develop a sense of empathy and recognition of their acts towards their family and friends.
The discussion between counsellors and the perpetrators can move towards the impact of their violent behavior towards their family and ask the perpetrator if he thought of the consequences of his actions. The counsellors can use the time to aid them in understanding what other means can be done to ensure the improvement of family life and treatment. Counsellors may also use the time to discuss with the victims as to what methods can be proposed to the perpetrator to prevent further onset of violence and open communications once more. It is crucial that counsellors also work on the perception of these perpetrators when it comes to their responsibilities to the family. The facilitator would then direct the talks as to how both the victim and the abuser can prevent the onset of violence by looking at the signs from one another that one is about to explode into anger and violence. With the safety plan created, counselling would then entail the implementation of such plans to ensure the safety of the rest of the family, as well as the clear identification of responsibilities within each family member. Victims may be convened to discuss the perpetrator’s proposed safety plan should he return back to his pre-counselling state. Counsellors will keep documentations, such as the copy of the plan, to ensure that both parties would continue to have access to the plans they have agreed on to fight domestic violence.
Aside from discussions and mediation between parties, individual counselling for men on domestic violence would also entail sessions discussing non-violent conflict resolution and training for parenting practices. These sessions would allow both the victim and the perpetrator to know other means to resolve conflicts. Information – such as local support groups and organizations – would be given to the perpetrator to ensure that they are aware of alternative groups that could aid in safety and their recovery. Finally, depending on the participation and session type done by counsellors, counselors or case workers can recommend them for additional intervention and treatment. The government may also use the recommendation of these counselling groups to determine as to the course of action that should be done towards the abuser in question .
Alongside individual counselling, couples counselling is supportive to counselling men on domestic violence. The organization Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (2010) indicated that couples counselling would permit counsellors and therapists to identify whether or not the aggression is mutual or just one-sided. Studies in the past have revealed that it is often that the half of reported abuse cases are mutual aggression for married couples, while 70% for dating couples are mutual aggression. Some experts raised that this counselling would aid in resolving the conflict between couples and even determine why there is violence in the family in the first place .
Counselling programs may take three to six months depending on the gravity of the issue, the reaction of the abuser towards counselling and whether or not there is a necessity to take further treatment and therapy. Experts argue that while men can finish a session in a given time already means he is cured. There are still factors that must be taken into account to ensure that the abuser is already clean and would no longer have the same abusive behavior . The prices for asking intervention also vary per country. In the United States, for instance, intake assessment fees cost up to $90 while evaluations can start from $120-$360. Sessions may amount to $20 to $55 per session, depending on how long the session should be as stated by the court .
The effectiveness of counselling men on domestic violence varies depending on how people perceive the definition of effectiveness. Nonetheless, evidences of court-ordered counselling treatments have been recorded throughout the years showcasing its effectiveness. In a study in 1995, 25 studies of court-ordered treatments were successful in decreasing abuse for a period of time. Another study revealed that people ordered to fulfill these treatments show a decrease in verbal and threat abuse. Some experts stated that counselling should not be limited to just one counselling type as some men would require help with their addictions, childhood trauma and specialized counselling. Others also added that counseling can work well alongside treatment and recovery for these men. Some couples would even benefit with relationship counselling to restore their relationship and identify which areas to concentrate on in improving communication and trust .
The issue of domestic violence should be taken seriously considering the impact it has to its victims in the long-run. The trauma and fear these victims would develop may become detrimental to their recovery and for abusers, allowing them to continue would only entice them to continue with their behavior. As men are often the ones who abuse their families, counselling them would help in curbing their aggression and prevent further abuse from being inflicted to their families. While many would be skeptic over the capacity of these counselling sessions to stop aggression, counselling would be able to help abusers to understand the consequences of their actions and recover their relationship with their affected family members. Families are what keeps people together and must be treasured no matter what challenges and adversities people would experience. They should never be hurt or abused in anyway because if they are abused to their limit, the abuser would find himself alone with no one to lean on.
Carter, Janet. "Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Youth Violence: Strategies for Prevention and Early Intervention." 2000. Family Violence Prevention Fund. Web. 20 November 2014. <http://www.mincava.umn.edu/link/documents/fvpf2/fvpf2.shtml>.
Family Law Court Appoiinted Special Advocates. "Domestic Violence Perpetrator's Treatment." 2014. Family Law CASA. Web. 22 November 2014. <http://www.familylawcasa.org/domestic-violence-perpetrators/>.
"Guidelines for Working with Perpetrators of Domestic and Family Violence in Brighter Futures." n.d. Web. 22 November 2014. <http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/docswr/_assets/main/lib100044/brighter_futures_domestic_violence_guidelines.pdf>.
Health Canada. Counselling Programs for Men who are Violent in Relationships: Questions and Answers for Practitioners in the Health, Social Services and Criminal Justice Systems. Report. Ontario: National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, 2000. Print.
Kenney, Karen Latchana. Domestic Violence. Edina: ABDO Publishing Group, 2012. Print.
McCue, Margi Laird. Domestic Violence: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008.
Nelson-Jones, Richard. Practical Counselling & Helping Skills: Text and Activities for the Lifeskills Counselling Model. London: SAGE Publications, 2005. Print.
Palmer, Stephen and Pat Milner. Counselling: The BACP Counselling Reader. London: SAGE Publications, 2001. Print.
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. "How Effective are Domestic Violence Programs in Stopping Partner Abuse?" July 2010. Stop Abusive and Violent Environment. Web. 21 November 2014. <www.saveservices.org/downloads/Why-DV-Programs-Fail-to-Stop-Abuse>.