Domestic Violence is present in every state, every community, and it impacts people of all ages, socio-economic statuses, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Domestic violence includes any form of physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional and psychological abuse (NCADV, 2015). Many people may think physical violence is the only form of domestic violence or intimate partner violence, but emotional abuse and controlling behaviors are often included in this pattern of dominance and control. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2015), on a regular day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines across America.
Domestic violence is linked to an increase in mental illness for victims and survivors. Domestic violence and intimate partner violence can be associated with depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. Ferrari et al. (2016), found severe abuse usually results in very poor social coping, increased levels of anxiety, as well as posttraumatic stress symptoms. In cases where the female survivors of intimate partner violence seek advocacy and mental health supports, they reported high levels of depression as well as loneliness. Many professionals in the psychology and helping professions believe that employment, higher-education, socio-economic status, and the duration of time the abuse takes place can all be protective factors against IPV (Ferrari et al., 2016).
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) provides detailed statistics about domestic violence in the United States. For example:
- In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes,
- Domestic Violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime,
- Women between the ages of 18-24 are the most commonly abused by an intimate partner,
- Only 34 percent of people who are injured by their intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries,
- Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by their intimate partner. (NCADV, 2015)
- In Europe, 1 in 5 women have experienced Intimate Partner violence (IPV). (Ferrari et al., 2016)
If these statistics are not eye-opening enough, the victim’s death is one of possible the results of domestic violence and intimate partner violence. 72% of murder-suicides in America involve an intimate partner and 94% of these victims are females (NCADV, 1016). The problem of domestic violence has long been overlooked and even disregarded when it comes to prevention programs as well as concrete resources and advocacy for the victims. Preventative measures improving education in schools and homes through teaching anger management and coping skills. We also need to provide preventative measures such as group counseling, parent education, and adolescent education. The society we live in promotes aggression and dominance and until we address that mindset and way of thinking, domestic violence is here to stay.
Ferrari, G., Agnew-Davies, R., Bailey, J., Howard, L., Howarth, E., Peters, T. J., & … Feder, G. S. (2016). Domestic violence and mental health: a cross-sectional survey of women seeking help from domestic violence support services. Global Health Action, 91-10. doi:10.3402/gha.v9.29890
NCADV. (2015). Domestic violence national statistics. Retrieved from www.ncadv.org