For this literature review, domesticviolence is defined as: “Domesticviolence refers to the use of physical or emotional force or threat of physicalforce, including sexual violence, in close adult relationships. This includesviolence perpetrated by a spouse, partner, son, daughter or any other personwho has a close or blood relationship with the victim. The term ‘domesticviolence’ goes beyond actual physical violence. It can also involve emotionalabuse; the destruction of property; isolation from friends, family and otherpotential sources of support; threats to others including children; stalking;and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and thetelephone”(Task Force Report on Violence Against Women,1997: p.27) The Task Force definition of domestic along with the existing Irishlegislation on domestic violence can be said to be gender-neutral. Althoughwidely acknowledged that the majority of victims of domestic violence arewomen, it is important to recognise that victims can also be men. In a reviewof international gender-neutral research of domestic violence, McKeon and Kidd(2002) support this position.Domestic violence is a very significant issue forthose whose life is affected by it.
Domestic violence is not a new thing but inthe last few decades there has been more public awareness surrounding domesticviolence and also more government agreement in that something needs to be doneabout it (Holt and Devaney 2015). And over time weare getting a better understanding about what domestic violence is and theimpact that domestic violence has on those affected, this has brought about theneed to define it and what society needs to do in order to tackle it. This hasnot come without problems though as there is many different understandings ofdomestic violence that differ in research studies and different cultures (EuropeanUnion Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2014).
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Domestic violence and child abuseChildren that are exposed to domestic violence are at a greater risk ofsuffering abuse themselves such as physical abuse or neglect. And to show thisthere was a study carried out in the UK by the NSPCC and it was called theprevalence study and it found that children that are being exposed to Domestic werebetween 2.9 and 4.4 times more likely to encounter physical violence andneglect from a caregiver than those children that are not exposed to domesticviolence(Radford et al., 2011). A similar research that was carried out by Moffittand Caspi’s (2003) of New Zealand foundthat a childs probability of abuse was three to nine times higher in homeswhere there was domestic violence, than those of children who werent exposed todomestic violence.
When living in a stressful and violent household it has verynegative consequences for both a child’s emotional and mental health in theshort-term and long-term (Evans et al., 2008). The repeated concurrence ofdomestic violence and child abuse can be seen in three different ways. First ofall the violent individual very often does not victimize between different relatives.
Second, adult victims may not be able to meet the physical, emotional orsupervisory needs of their children as a result of physical injury and/or poormental health. And third, children may be injured whilst trying to intervene orwhile being carried by the adult victim at the time of assault. Whilst there issome evidence that biological fathers have been found to be more likely thansocial fathers to express concern about the effects of their domesticallyviolent behaviour on their children, they are no more likely than the socialfathers to express an intent to stop their violence or to take action to reducethe impact on their children (Rothman et al., 2007), raising the need forprofessionals to identify ways to effectively work with perpetrators withoutincreasing the risk to victims (Devaney, 2014).