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Running head: Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse: The Effects on People Involved

Dakota J. Saavedra
University of Texas at El Paso

Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence is an increasing issue in the world that is not

going unnoticed. There have been many studies and papers that have
shown the interest in the topic. There have been many cases that
reach the media which has caused an up rise in conversation of
domestic violence within communities. With the use of law
enforcement and programs seeking to aid victims and batterers there
is help for individuals in this situation. In this report I discuss the types
of domestic violence, the population that is affected by it, and the
consequences of these actions.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence has been a growing area of study in the

United States and around the world in recent years because of severity
of these types of situations. There are many people that have gone
through different situations but they can all be described as domestic
violence. Although this topic is very controversial there have been a lot
of males, females, and children that have spoken out about what has
happened to them. In the past 20 years there has been much interest
in research of domestic violence cases. These stories and descriptions
are the key to finding an effective solution to stopping domestic
violence. The main goal for domestic violence is to lessen the amount
of cases and also help individuals that have been through these
situations. Learning how to deal and live with the experience of
domestic violence may very well be the hardest thing that some
people can do.
Domestic violence is the act of physically, emotionally, or
psychologically harming someone within your home or family. The
range of domestic violence can be stretched into many different
situations that differ from being aimed at the partner or spouse or even
the children of the relationship. The most common domestic violence is
between the spouses, but this can also turn into other people

Domestic Abuse
becoming involved in the household such as children. Most anybody
can notice bruises or bumps on an individual, yet most of the
symptoms are commonly psychological in children that grow up in that
There are many cases that include children as witnesses which
is one of the main reasons to stop domestic violence. In 75% of cases
the children were at home, or even in the same room (Hutchinson &
Hirschel, 2001). With this statistic it shows how severe these cases can
be. Studies on these cases also showed that 55% of children observed
violence in front of them and 15% noticed bruises and symptoms of
anger in an aftermath (Hilton, 1992). There can be different types of
exposure, these types of exposure have a great effect on the situation
of the family. Also with children exposed to these instances there could
be traumatizing effects on them as they grow older and as they
themselves begin relationships.
There are 10 classified types that range from prenatal domestic
violence to the child ostensibly being unaware. You can see that in
these categories there are times when children can be directly
There are many cases where the children would intervene on the
victims behalf, although this would often lead to more severe and
hazardous circumstances. This could also lead to the child being the
victim of abuse, in some cases this could also be done to terrorize the

Domestic Abuse
mother, this can be called Medea Syndrome. It was found that 65%
of batterers had threatened to harm the children or take them away
(McCloskey 2001). Being exposed to domestic violence in your home
as a child could have crucial effects on emotional and behavioral
development. The children from these homes are more likely to have
problems with cognitive functioning, initiative, personality style, selfesteem, and impulse control. These are reasons for children to be
aware of their surroundings and be ready if there ever is a day that
they come in contact with domestic violence. Being aware of anything
that could prevent the act of domestic violence could be key in helping
a home remain free of violence. Children should also be educated on
what can happen as a result of any domestic violence in their home.
Although there have been studies by (Tuppett, Yates, Sroufe, and
Egeland 2003) that show children that were exposed to domestic
violence in pre-school years of their life show externalizing behaviors in
adolescent males and internalizing behaviors in females. When looking
at the effects that domestic violence has on children it is known that
there are psychological and emotional issues that can come from
traumatizing experiences. Psychological functioning is more heavily
related with parenting in the study by Levendosky and GrahamBermann (Rogosh et al., 1992; Rutter, 1990; Sameroff et al., 1982).
Their study showed that the mothers psychological state of being was
very influential on the children that lived with them. It is stated that if

Domestic Abuse
the mothers psychological functioning is low then the parenting was
impaired for her children. This effect on the children could work in one
of two ways. If the parenting was affected then it would show direct
effects on the children such as themselves being injured or neglected
by one or both the parents. On the other hand, even if the mother is
able to maintain adequate parenting the changes in her mood could
have damaging effects on her childrens emotional well-being. This
shows that the children will try to be as strong as possible
(psychologically & physically) in an attempt to help their mother while
still being exposed to domestic violence.
It has also been found that this exposure to violence at young
ages can carry on through the lives of children in violent households.
Children in these environments were 158% more likely to experience
violence victimization than individuals from nonviolent households
(Mitchell & Finkelhor 2001). Realizing that a lot of kids grow up with
violence being so familiar to them programs and communities were
arranged with the help of governmental funding to help children in
need. However even with all this knowledge of the different situations
domestic violence is still a reoccurring issue.
This has led to law enforcement to declare that any domestic
violence cases would result in mandatory arrest. Once mandatory
arrest began there were still cases of domestic violence occurring. This
consequently led to many cases being left unreported. This could

Domestic Abuse
cause more severe problems within the family and for the victims. The
issue of domestic violence can be looked at as an iceberg seeing only
the most severe cases of violence at the top, while there are still
countless cases underlying the surface (Enrique Gracia 2004). While
this was done to ensure that batterers would cease their actions it
seems that there has not been much progress in this category of
domestic violence. Gracia also states that the issue of unreported
cases is not an issue of these problems being know. There are many
times that family members, friends, or co-workers may be informed or
know of a case of domestic violence, but they do not say anything out
of fear for themselves. Another point of view of unreported cases is the
female victims not calling them in because they are scared for their
own safety or the safety of their children. Mothers will not report cases
in hope that the violence will recede while socially acting as normal as
possible. This alone is such a crucial part of the entire domestic
violence problem, if there were more ways for these victims to feel safe
with reporting what is going on domestic violence could then decrease.
In conclusion there may be no sure fire way to stop domestic
violence, but with so much information on the topic it is hard to ignore.
While these batterers may have a condition (psychological or
emotional) that could be provoking them to be acting in violent out
bursts in their home, they should also make an effort in their part to
stop abusing anyone around them. They can seek help with many

Domestic Abuse
organizations and
foundations that
specialize in this field.
This is an ongoing
subject that is still
Figure 1. Stop Domestic Violence
ces-to-get-help-report-domestic-violence/ , 2011)

being worked on and

studied to improve the lives of men, women, and children everywhere.

The effort that is made to help these individuals is available, yet is not
as effective as hoped but that does not dictate the future of this topic.

Weisz, A. N., Tolman R. M., Saunders D. G., (2000). Assessing the Risk
of Severe
Domestic Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,
15, 79-90.
doi: 10.1177/088626000015001006

Domestic Abuse
Holden, G. W., (2003). Children Exposed to Domestic Violence and
Child Abuse: Terminology
and Taxonomy. Clinical Child and Family
Psychology Review, 6, 151-160. DOI: 10.1023/A:1024906315255
Lynengar, R., (2009). Does the certainty of arrest reduce domestic
violence? Evidence from mandatory and recommended arrest laws.
Journal of Public Economics, 93, 85-98.
Stover, C. S., (2005). Domestic Violence Research What Have We
Learned and Where Do We Go
From Here? Journal of Interpersonal
Violence, 20, 448-454. doi:
Menjivar, C., Salcido, O., (2002). Immigrant Women and Domestic
Violence: Common
Experiences in Different Countries. Gender &
Society, 16, 898-920. doi: 10.1177/089124302237894
Garcia E., (2003). Unreported cases of domestic violence against
women: towards an
epidemiology of social silence, tolerance, and
inhibition. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 58.
Levendosky A. A., Graham-Bermann S. A., (2001). Parenting in Battered
Women: The Effects of Domestic Violence on Women and Their
Children. Journal of Family Violence, 6, 171-192