Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence isnt just hitting, or fighting, or an occasional mean argument. Its a chronic abuse of power. The abuser tortures and controls the victim by calculated threats, intimidation, and physical violence. Actual physical violence is often the end result of months or years of intimidation and control. Many scholars define intimate partner abuse as the physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse to an individual perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner. While this term is gender-neutral, women are more likely to expe-rience physical injuries and incur psychological consequences of intimate partner abuse. In other hand, we defined domestic violence as past or present physical and/or sexual violence between former or current intimate partners, adult household members, or adult children and a parent. Abused persons and perpetrators could be of either sex, and couples could be heterosexual or homosexual.

Though the definition above seems simple enough, the application of the definitions varies quite significantly from organization to organization, state to state and country to country. The term intimate partners in some cases refers only to people who are cohabitating or have cohabitated (lived together) whereas at other times intimate partners refers to people who are dating or who have dated at some time in the past. Perhaps a better definition of domestic violence is emotional abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse between people who have at some time had an intimate or family relationship.

To understand how the meaning of domestic violence has and is changing, think about how the term family has changed in the past 50 years. They are both ever changing, and a bit controversial. Many view the above definition of domestic violence as overly restrictive. They argue that domestic violence can occur between adult family members who are not intimate in the traditional sense, such as adult brothers and sisters, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, mothers- and fathers-in-law. For example, many consider elder abuse to be a form of domestic violence.

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Though the definition above clearly states adult..., there is a recent trend for states to adopt legal definitions of domestic violence that include violence toward children. This could broaden the definition to be violence between any of the following husbands, wives, ex-husbands, ex-wives, partners, ex-partners, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, people who have lived together (which could include cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and caregivers), and people who are or have dated in the past.

Growing up in a violent home is a terrifying and traumatic experience that can affect every aspect of a child’s life, growth and development. It can make children less likely to succeed in school, more likely to suffer and commit violence, and more likely to face a host of health problems that can last throughout their lives. Most people recognize the grave harm that domestic violence causes to women who are battered, but too little attention has been paid to the harm suffered by the millions of children who witness domestic abuse. Intervention and support programs can transform the lives of children who grow up in violent homes, and prevention strategies can reduce their numbers dramatically. Yet, these programs are often underfunded and even ignored as lawmakers focus instead on increasing arrests and enhancing punishments for offenders. As a result, too often our nations fail to give children who grow up in violent homes the assistance and supports that they need.

Children growing up with domestic violence are also at risk of facing violence themselves. The overlap between domestic violence and child abuse has been well documented where one form of family violence exists, there is a likelihood the other does as well. Growing up in a violent family is also a significant risk factor for youth and community violence.

All of this is what have prompted us to do this research paper on domestic violence, in order to give some hints, or at least, a small help, to people who suffer from domestic violence. We hope that this paper would help to increase an awareness and involvement of women and men in the movement to eradicate domestic violence, or at least lower it a bit, in our Panamanian society.

I. Theoretical Frame.

Ninety-two percent of Latin American women rank domestic and sexual violence as one of their top priorities. One out of every three women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood. The full extent of such victimization is not known, however, it is estimated that only one in seven domestic assaults come to the attention of the police. So perhaps it is not surprising that the overwhelming majority of women indicated that domes-tic violence and sexual assault are their main concerns.

Domestic violence is more prevalent than people realize and this concern needs to be recog-nized on a national level. Politicians should take note, seeing that at least 50% of the electo-rate deeply cares about this issue.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior that may include physical, sexual, econo-mic, emotional and psychological abuse of one family member or romantic partner by another. The goal of domestic violence is to establish and maintain power and control. 5% of reported cases of domestic violence involve a male batterer and female victim. Although public awareness about domestic violence has increased dramatically over the past decade, it continues to be underreported and misunderstood.

II. Methodological Procedures

Due to the scarce available material in our community about domestic violence, and due to the little available time to do a research, and due also to the close dateline, we must feel ourselves obliged to discard the idea of making interviews and surveys among the affected persons, and devoted ourselves to look for information in books, magazines and in the Internet.

Also, due to the very related aspects, similarities and consequences of the problem in almost all the parts of the world where it is given, we take the picked up data and we adapted them to our community, analyzing them from our point of view. Perhaps this work impels other, and to us likewise, to make a thorough investigation in our community about domestic violence and its effects and consequences in the society.

III. Data Analisis

What is Battering?

Battering is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Battering happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another. Assault, battering and domestic violence are crimes.

Definitions Abuse of family members can take many forms. Battering may include emotio-nal abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, inti-midation, isolation, and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation and power. In all cultures, the perpetrators are most commonly the men of the family. Women are most commonly the victims of violence. Elder and child abuse are also prevalent. Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of the following categories

· Physical Battering - The abuser’s physical attacks or aggressive be-havior can range from bruising to murder. It often begins with what is excused as trivial contacts, which escalate into more frequent and serious attacks.

· Sexual Abuse - Physical attack by the abuser is often accompanied by, or culminates in, sexual violence wherein the woman is forced to have sexual intercourse with her abuser or take part in unwanted sexual activity.

· Psychological Battering -The abuser’s psychological or mental violence can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the woman from friends and family, depri-vation of physical and economic resources, and destruction of personal property.

Battering escalates. It often begins with behaviors like threats, name calling, violence in her presence, and/or damage to objects or pets. It may escalate to restraining, pushing, slapping, and/or pinching. The battering may include punching, kicking, biting, sexual assault, trip-ping, throwing. Finally, it may become life threatening with serious behaviors such as choking, breaking bones, or the use of weapons.

Why Do Men Batter Women?

Many theories have been developed to explain why some men use violence against their partners. These theories include family dysfunction, inadequate communication skills, provocation by women, stress, chemical dependency, lack of spirituality and economic hardship. These issues may be associated with battering of women, but they are not the causes. Removing these associated factors will not end men’s violence against women. The batterer begins and continues his behavior because violence is an effective method for gaining and keeping control over another person and he usually does not suffer adverse consequences as a result of his behavior.

Historically, violence against women has not been treated as a real crime. This is evident in the lack of severe consequences, such as incarceration or economic penalties, for men guilty of battering their partners. Rarely are batterers ostracized in their communities, even if they are known to have physically assaulted their partners. Batterers come from all groups and backgrounds, and from all personality profiles. However, some characteristics fit a gene-ral profile of a batterer

· A batterer objectifies women. He does not see women as people. He does not respect women as a group. Overall, he sees women as property or sexual objects.

· A batterer has low self-esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. He may appear successful, but inside he feels inadequate.

· A batterer externalizes the causes of his behavior. He blames his violence on circumstances such as stress, his partner’s behavior, a bad day, alcohol or other factors.

· A batterer may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence, and is often seen as a nice guy to outsiders.

· Some behavioral warning signs of a potential batterer include extreme jealousy, possessiveness, a bad temper, unpredictability, cruelty to animals and verbal abusiveness.

Why Do Women Stay?

All too often the question Why do women stay in violent relationships? is answered with a victim-blaming attitude. Women victims of abuse often hear that they must like or need such treat-ment, or they would leave. Others may be told that they are one of the many women who love too much or who have low self-esteem. The truth is that no one enjoys being beaten, no matter what his or her emotional state or self-image.

A woman’s reasons for staying are more complex than a statement about her strength of character. In many cases it is dangerous for a woman to leave her abuser. If the abuser has all of the economic and social status, leaving can cause additional problems for the woman. Leaving could mean living in fear and losing child custody, losing financial support, and experiencing harassment at work.

Although there is no profile of the women who will be battered, there is a well-documented syndrome of what happens once the battering starts. Battered women experience shame, embarrassment and isolation. A woman may not leave battering immediately because

· She realistically fears that the batterer will become more violent and maybe even fatal if she attempts to leave;

· Her friends and family may not support her leaving;

· She knows the difficulties of single parenting in reduced financial circumstances;

· There is a mix of good times, love and hope along with the manipulation, intimidation and fear;

· She may not know about or have access to safety and support.

Barriers to Leaving A Violent Relationship

Reasons why women stay generally fall into three major categories

Lack of Resources

· Most women have at least one dependent child.

· Many women are not employed outside of the home.

· Many women have no property that is solely theirs.

· Some women lack access to cash or bank accounts.

· Women who leave fear being charged with desertion, and losing children and joint assets.

· A woman may face a decline in living standards for herself and her children.

Institutional Responses

· Clergy and secular counselors are often trained to see only the goal of saving the marriage at all costs, rather than the goal of stopping the violence.

· Police officers often do not provide support to women. They treat violence as a domestic dispute, instead of a crime where one person is physically attacking another person.

· Police may try to dissuade women from filing charges.

· Prosecutors are often reluctant to prosecute cases, and judges rarely levy the maximum sentence upon convicted abusers. Probation or a fine is much more common.

· Despite the issuing of a restraining order, there is little to prevent a released abuser from returning and repeating the assault.

Traditional Ideology

· Many women do not believe divorce is a viable alternative.

· Many women believe that a single parent family is unacceptable, and that even a violent father is better than no father at all.

· Many women are socialized to believe that they are responsible for making their marriage work. Failure to maintain the marriage equals failure as a woman.

· Many women become isolated from friends and families, either by the jealous and possessive abuser, or to hide signs of the abuse from the outside world. The isolation contributes to a sense that there is nowhere to turn.

· Many women rationalize their abuser’s behavior by blaming stress, alcohol, problems at work, unemployment or other factors.

· Many women are taught that their identity and worth are contingent upon getting and keeping a man.

· The abuser rarely beats the woman all the time. During the non-violent phases, he may fulfill the woman’s dream of romantic love. She believes that he is basically a good man. If she believes that she should hold onto a good man, this reinforces her decision to stay. She may also rationalize that her abuser is basically good until something bad happens to him and he has to let off steam.

Predictors Of Domestic Violence

The following signs often occur before actual abuse and may serve as clues to potential abuse

1. Did he grow up in a violent family? People who grow up in families where they have been abused as children, or where one parent beats the other, have grown up learning that violence is normal behavior.

. Does he tend to use force or violence to solve his problems? A young man who has a criminal record for violence, who gets into fights, or who likes to act tough is likely to act the same way with his wife and children. Does he have a quick temper? Does he over-react to little problems and frustration? Is he cruel to animals? Does he punch walls or throw things when he’s upset? Any of these behaviors may be a sign of a person who will work out bad feelings with violence.

. Does he abuse alcohol or other drugs? There is a strong link between violence and problems with drugs and alcohol. Be alert to his possible drinking/drug problems, particularly if he refuses to admit that he has a problem, or refuses to get help. Do not think that you can change him.

4. Does he have strong traditional ideas about what a man should be and what a woman should be? Does he think a woman should stay at home, take care of her husband, and follow his wishes and orders?

5. Is he jealous of your other relationships, not just with other men that you may know, but also with your women friends and your family? Does he keep tabs on you? Does he want to know where you are at all times? Does he want you with him all of the time?

6. Does he have access to guns, knives, or other lethal instruments? Does he talk of using them against people, or threaten to use them to get even?

7. Does he expect you to follow his orders or advice? Does he become angry if you do not fulfill his wishes or if you cannot anticipate what he wants?

8. Does he go through extreme highs and lows, almost as though he is two different people? Is he extremely kind one time, and extremely cruel at another time?

. When he gets angry, do you fear him? Do you find that not making him angry has become a major part of your life? Do you do what he wants you to do, rather than what you want to do?

10. Does he treat you roughly? Does he physically force you to do what you do not want to do?

The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children

There is a public education campaign about domestic violence currently being conducted on the New York City subway system. The poster used in the campaign has a picture of a child who is described as a highly sensitive recording device capable of detecting and remembering the abuse that occurs in his or her home. As the poster suggests, if tension, anger, and violence are present in the home, a child will know about it -- whether or not he or she has witnessed it directly and whether or not abuse is openly discussed. Regardless of how much effort has been made by care taking adults to shield and protect a child by making sure that the violence takes place in private and by keeping it a secret, when a mother is being battered, a child becomes a victim too. The difference between the child and the adult victim is that the adult is, at least to some extent, a fully developed person who is physically equipped to take care of her own basic survival needs, and who has the tools of language and reason available to her for the purposes of making sense of a difficult experience and for meeting emotional needs through connecting with, and asking for, support from others.

A child, by definition, is a person who is dependent upon adults and the environment for not only physical survival (i.e., food, shelter, clothing), but for emotional sustenance as well. This includes emotional warmth and nurture as well as protection from both external and internal threats to a childs sense of safety, self-esteem and well-being. A parent -- and by extension, the home (when functional), provides a child with a safe space in which to experience and integrate all of his or her many complex and often intense emotions. Aggressive, passionate, sad or painful feelings arise in all human beings. The infant, toddler, and young child are helped by caretaking adults to accept, tolerate and appropriately chan-nel uncontained, unorganized and often frightening impulses and feelings. A childs as yet developing sense of self -- of belief in ones own goodness and in the general goodness of others -- is thus a fragile entity. When the adult surroundings are full of conflict, fear and pain, a childs growth and emotional well-being are clearly jeopardized.

A number of concerns, behaviors and disturbances have been repeatedly observed in the children of battered women who come to shelter. Among these are the following

· General fearfulness.

· Hyper vigilance (exaggerated, constant fears of impending danger)

· Nightmares

· Various troubled responses to fear, anger and sadness

· Anxieties around separation and loss

· Indiscriminate, quickly-formed attachments to unfamiliar adults

· Confusion regarding parental loyalties

· Ambivalence about fathers (typically, feelings of intense rage and longing exist side by side -- a combination most children are not yet developmentally equipped to handle and which leaves them feeling torn apart, needing to disavow huge aspects of their own identities)

· Feelings of powerlessness and defensive responses to this, including identification with the aggressor (i.e., in terms of survival, it is experienced as better to be big and bad -- like dad -- than weak and terrified -- like mom)

· An exaggerated sense of guilt and responsibility for protecting a parent and often younger siblings as well. This is related to the syndrome of the parentified child, which also includes awareness and behavior which is old beyond ones years accompanied by an attitude that it is not acceptable or safe to feel, be or behave like a child.

· Difficulty concentrating

· Counterphobic behavior (a drive to recreate circumstances which have in the past been responded to violently in order that one may experience oneself as being the cause -- and thus in control -- of ones own pain and terror)

· Difficulty resolving conflicts with siblings and other children; as well as a tendency to aggressively act out.

Many of these conditions and/or behaviors first begin to emerge after a child and his or her mother have begun to settle into shelter. Only then, once he or she has established a sense of being out of imminent danger, will a child feel safe enough to let the pent-up responses to trauma surface and begin to play themselves out in spontaneous efforts to self-heal and to master indigestible experiences. This is where our work as child counselors and play therapists begins.

Infants and toddlers

Infants and toddlers who witness violence show excessive irritability, immature behavior, sleep disturbances, emotional distress, fears of being alone, and regression in toileting and language. Preschool children may develop enuresis and speech disfluencies, such as stut-tering. Exposure to trauma, especially family violence, interferes with a childs normal development of trust and later exploratory behaviors, which lead to the development of autonomy.

Teen Relationship Abuse

While we tend to associate domestic violence with adults, it may also be present in teen relationships. It is estimated that up to one-third of high school and college-age youth ex-perience violence in an intimate or dating relationship. Like adult domestic violence, teen relationship abuse comes in many forms. A particularly horrifying type of abuse is date rape. Over 50% of all rapes are of adolescents, the majority of which are perpetrated by acquain-tances or dates. These statistics indicate that while teen relationships may often seem idyllic and sweet, there can be dangerous elements to them.

Teen relationship abuse is often characterized by the same patterns of controlling behavior that occur in abusive adult relationships. However, teen abuse is different because fewer options are available for teens who seek help and the particular developmental consequences of abuse for adolescents. For example, there are few domestic violence shelters that can ac-commodate teenage women. Asking adults for assistance creates a risk for the young woman of not being believed, having her situation and feelings belittled, and being blamed for her victimization. Furthermore, when a teenager is seeking to develop her sense of self and libe-rate herself from adult authority, it is difficult for her to turn to her parents or teachers about a problem she is having in her relationship. Although adult women in domestic violence situations are also often disbelieved, underage girls do not have the same independence or decision-making power that adult women do. Additionally, they may have fewer opportuni-ties for economic independence because of their lack of schooling, provisions of the new wel-fare law that require teen mothers to be living in an adult-supervised household, and finan-cial dependence of themselves, their children, or other family members on the batterer.

Adolescence is a time for developing self-identity and achieving independence. Sadly, it is also often a time for assuming rigid gender roles and succumbing to peer pressure. These gender roles may encourage young women to be mediators and caregivers while promoting the silencing of their own needs and desires. Peer pressure to be in a relationship and the status assigned to teenage girls who have boyfriends also conspire to trap young women in abusive relationships. Because status is often accorded to girls who date older men, young women are at-risk of becoming involved in relationships with an unequal distribution of power. Young women also may not be able to distinguish between loving behavior and abusive behavior if they have grown up in households where abuse has been called love. If they lack caring in their lives, they may be ready to settle for any relationship, even if the so-called love comes in the form of jealousy, possessiveness, and control.

Being a teenager is difficult, as most of us remember. But being a teenager and living in a house infected with domestic violence can have devastating, life-long effects. Teens living with domestic violence face the unique problem of trying to fit in with their peers while keeping their home life a secret. Teens in shelters often face the problem of having to move and begin school in a new place, having to make new friends while feeling the shame of living in a shelter. Needless to say, their family relationships can be strained to the breaking point. The result can be teens who never learn to form trusting, lasting relationships, or teens who end up in violent relationships themselves.

In addition, teens face the same issues as younger children in an abusive family, namely feel-ing lonely and isolated, growing up too fast, behavior problems, stress related medical and mental health problems, and school problems. Teenagers are also faced with entering into the dating world for the first time. They are formulating their own theories about relation-ships, and some may not have the best models on which to base a healthy relationship. They have witnessed the cycle of violence with the abuse, apologies from the perpetrator, tensions building and more abuse. Unfortunately, some teenagers may be faced with a higher risk of being victims of dating violence and as mentioned earlier, ending up in violent relationships as adults either as victims or abusers.

Effects of Domestic Violence on Children and Teenagers

Academic problems; agitation - feeling jumpy; aggression; avoidance of reminders; behavior problems; clinginess to caregivers; depression; distractibility; emotional numbing; emotional changes; fear - feeling scared; fear of natural exploring; feelings of guilt; feelings of not belonging; flashbacks; general emotional distress; increased arousal; intrusive thoughts; insomnia; irritability; low levels of empathy; low self-esteem; nightmares; numbing of feelings; obsessive behaviors; phobias; poor problem-solving skills; posttraumatic stress disorder; revenge seeking; social problems; suicidal behaviors; truancy; withdrawal from activities.

Effects in Adulthood alcohol abuse; depression; low self-esteem; violent practices in the home; criminal behavior; sexual problems; substance abuse.


Domestic violence is both a national and a worldwide crisis. According to a 000 UNICEF study, 0-50% of the female population of the world will become the victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a problem of epidemic proportions in many countries and communities. For example, nearly one-third of North American women (1 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives, according to a 18 Commonwealth Fund survey.

Women are victims of domestic violence much more often than men are. In 001, the U.S. Department of Justice found that more than half a million American women (588,40 women) were victims of nonfatal violence committed by intimate partners. That same year, women accounted for 85 percent of the victims of intimate partner violence.

Women are more likely than men to be severely injured as a result of intimate partner violence. Women are seven to 14 times more likely than men to report suffering severe physical assaults from an intimate partner, according to a 18 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Justice.

Women also are more likely to be killed by their intimate partners than men. On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States every day. In 000, 1,47 women were killed by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Within the United States, one out of every four American women will experience violence by an intimate partner sometime during her lifetime. One out of every six women will be raped during her lifetime.

A Crime Against Women

Although men are more likely to be victims of violent crime overall, a recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice reports that intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women.

- Of those victimized by an intimate partner, 85% are women and 15% are men. In other words, women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner.

- The vast majority of domestic assaults are committed by men. Even when men are victimized, 10% are assaulted by another man. In contrast, only % of women who are victimized are assaulted by another woman.

Vulnerability Factors

- Women age 16 to 4 are most likely to be victimized by an intimate partner.

- African-American women experience more domestic violence than White women in the age group of 0-4. However, Black and White women experience the same level of victimization in all other age categories.

- Hispanic women are less likely to be victimized than non-Hispanic women in every age group.

- Women are most vulnerable to violence when separated from their intimate partner. The second most vulnerable group are those who are divorced. This can discourage women from leaving their abusive partner, out of fear that it will increase their risk of victimization.

Physical Injury

- Approximately 40-50% of female victims are physically injured when assaulted by their intimate partner, accounting for over 00,000 visits to the hospital emergency room each year.

- Only about 1 in 5 of domestic violence victims with physical injuries seek professional medical treatment.


Improving the response to domestic violence must involve many segments of a community. Child welfare and domestic violence agencies both have programs to address one form of family violence, but few programs effectively address both forms of violence when they occur together in families. Courts struggle with these issues. Youth violence programs often fail to address the ways that domestic violence impedes healthy development. That is why innovative community collaborations between battered women’s advocates, child welfare agencies, the courts, school systems, children’s advocates, neighbors, health care providers, youth development organizations, and the greater community must be an integral part to each project against domestic violence.

Thos programs should develop innovative prevention strategies aimed at stopping child maltreatment, domestic violence and youth violence, promoting community responsibility for stopping violence and aiding victims, and reducing violence in our homes and on our streets. This kind of prevention is a more effective way to address family violence than enhancing punishments and stepping up the criminal justice system response.

Community Profile & Strategy

Every community is different and has individual needs. In order to develop an effective strategy against domestic violence, it is necessary to establish a community profile. The following is a step-by-step guide for doing this.

Know Your Players

Find out what is currently available in your community, who is available to help and establish or renew contacts with these individuals and organizations.

Know the Problem

The goals of conducting a domestic violence needs assessment are to establish an overview of the prevalence of domestic violence in the community; determine whether the community takes a proactive stance on domestic violence issues; find out if the community is equipped to handle existing domestic violence problems; determine areas for action.

Develop an Action Strategy

If there is access to existing domestic violence organizations and programs, there may be excellent resources. Much can be learned about domestic violence issues and strategies through collaboration with existing organizations and programs. Collaboration allows individuals and organizations to become involved with a minimal investment of development time by drawing on others’ experience. It also prevents duplication of efforts and contributes to a united front in the fight against domestic violence. Existing organizations can often help with planning and implementing a successful project.

· assess what is needed

· assess your time and resources

· coordinate with other local efforts

Guidelines for Starting a Shelter

The following are some basic guidelines that should be considered when starting a shelter for battered women and their children.

The primary service needed by a battered woman is the provision of safety. She must have a place of refuge from the batterer. Any additional safety measures through the court and law enforcement systems that can be utilized by her are a valuable enhancement. It is important to advocate for her within those systems and to help her negotiate through systems that are not necessarily invested in her safety. An important consideration in this and all other issues of service provision is the battered woman’s right to not only expect services but to refuse services. For example, battered women should not be required to enter the court and law enforcement systems as a condition of receiving other services that she is seeking.

Beyond safety, the most effective services are those which fit the needs of each individual woman. Things that may be helpful are peer support systems such as support groups and buddy programs; income and employment advocacy; housing advocacy and assistance; medical care; child care and other parenting supports.

Children whose mothers are battered also need a safe refuge that supports and encourages the continuity and success of their relationships with their mothers. Services that address these needs can be offered in tandem, given adequate thought, attention, and expertise.

Two issues should be considered when determining length of stay. On the one hand, the longer a woman remains in residence, the better she is able to assemble all the possible resources she needs, the stronger her personal support system becomes, the greater her feelings of stability, and the more stable her children may feel. How long a woman really needs shelter varies from woman to woman. On the other hand, a quicker turnover in residents means more women can be sheltered in crisis and the chance of dependency relationships forming between program and residents is lessened. The best programs are those that attempt to resolve this question. Usually, this entails a combination of temporary shelter and transitional housing or of shelters and safe home networks. The reality is that few programs can initially offer this range of options. All residential programs should include such considerations in long-range planning (-7 years).

The formation of a governing board is critical when starting a program for battered women and their children. The composition of a board should reflect the ethnic composition of the community being served. Ideally, representation on the board should be balanced between the professional community and the grassroots activist community. The program founders should develop clear philosophical and program guidelines to which board members can be expected to pledge themselves. Board recruitment should be taken very seriously. Each board member should be provided with a detailed, written description of duties and responsibilities.


· American Psychological Association. Facts About Family Violence. American Psychological Association Web Site.

· Heise, L., Ellsberg, M. and M. Gottemoeller. Ending Violence Against Women. Population Reports, Series L, No. 11. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Population Information Program, December 1.

· http//www.apa.org/pi/pii/teen/

· http//www.feminist.org/other/dv/dvfact.html

· http//www.ncadv.org/

· http//www.safehorizon.org/

· http//www.therapistfinder.net/Domestic-Violence/Domestic-Violence-Children.html

· Reaching and Teaching Teens to Stop Violence, Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Lincoln, NE.

· The Oregon Social Learning Center

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