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Domestic Violence Essay

3255 words - 14 pages

Domestic Violence is a worldwide crime and occurs across cultures in every social grouping in society regardless of age, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. It is a fundamental violation of the human rights of each and every victim whether male or female adult or child. Unfortunately, it is a feature of contemporary family life in Ireland today. In the past domestic violence was accepted as a man’s right but today it is seen more as a public policy issue and not just a private matter between husband and wife in their own home. It can be defined as abusive, violent behaviour by one or both partners in a close intimate relationship and it can be physical, sexual, emotional or ...view middle of the document...

These were incidents where the abuser in the relationship was abusing the children as well as the mother. Some incidents include, hitting new born babies, forcing children to eat off the floor and threatening physical abuse. In addition to this there were another 3,408 calls where children disclosed they were witnessing domestic abuse against their mother. According to Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children and Young People, the witnessing of domestic violence is a form of emotional abuse (Women’s Aid 2008). In the report, Making the Links, abused women stated that 64% of children were in the same room when the abuse took place and that 90% of children were in the next room. An abuser may also use the children as part of their power and control tactics, by threatening to take them away or threaten to harm them (Kelliher & O’Connor 1995). In the book, On Behalf of the Child (1995) by Harry Ferguson and Pat Kenny it states that;

‘The nature and quality of family experiences influence not only how a child copes with life growing up but also helps to determine the quality of that youngster’s intimate relationships, parenting and mental health in adulthood’.

According to the 2005 study by the National Crime Council in association with the Economic and Social Research Institute, 15% of women and 6% of men are victims of severe domestic abuse. The ACCORD research (2003) found that women were the abusers in 30% of cases and men were the abusers in 23% of cases (AMEN: Research on Domestic Violence). Most men who experience domestic violence cover it up because of invisible social barriers such as, disbelief and fear of being laughed at. There is a stigma and silence surrounding male domestic violence which traps men in these violent relationships. There are very little services for men and there is also the problem of false allegations of abuse being made against men in separation or divorce cases. In April 1999 Judge Peter Smithwick, President of the District Court spoke out about trivial complaints being made and added that judges have to be on their guard against false allegations and exaggerated applications (AMEN: Men and the Domestic Violence Act 1996).

Domestic violence is also a factor in same sex relationships. This has come to light in recent times with the emergence of the gay rights movements. Studies have shown that domestic abuse in same sex relationships are higher than that of heterosexual relationships. Domestic Violence law in Spain protects heterosexual and lesbian married couples but gay couples are not included. Of the 120 domestic violence cases in 2008, 27 were men which include several gay men (Spanish Law and Gay Domestic Violence 2009). It will be interesting to see how this issue and other gay rights issues are dealt with in Ireland in the coming years.

The causes of domestic violence are complex with many different factors influencing it. One of the most common factors...

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