An Overview Of Intimate Partner Violence Criminology Essay

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In todays society there are many different violent acts arising from day to day. One of these forms of violence is that of intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence, or IPV, consists of the violent physical and psychological attacks on a spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. This has been going on for as long as we know it, especially since there used to be no women rights to be heard of. IPV has very detrimental effects in which one source says includes "deaths due to homicide and suicide, physical injuries, long-lasting emotional and psychological problems, sexual and reproductive diseases and complications (including HIV), and a host of stress-related physical ailments" (Mitchell, 2009, pg. xi). The physical effects of intimate partner violence usually heal, but the psychological factors may vary from short term up to the very end of a person's life. Today the world is changing and in some senses improving. There are many different forms of solutions to intimate partner violence which may include: prevention classes and seminars, judicial help, and physical and mental help for after the violent act has occurred.

A man tells his wife that she is useless and will never amount to anything, a woman stabs her husband after he criticizes her meal, or a boyfriend beats his girlfriend after she kisses a friend; whatever the case, the result intimate partner violence. Many individuals think that will never happen to me, or they will never do it again. It was just the one time, and there is no way that this is really what they are like. Intimate partner violence happens all over the world and is sometimes overlooked and not even reported. It includes many forms of violence, which according to Mitchell (2009) is defined by the World Health Organization as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation" (pg. 2). When applied to a relationship the result is intimate partner violence.

As a result to intimate partner violence, there are many different organizations that are now researching some of the causes, consequences, and prevention techniques. One group who has taken a large interest in intimate partner violence is that of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They have studied IPV a great deal and have used the information of many different sources which includes: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the National Violence Against Women Survey, the National Violent Death Reporting System, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, the National Survey of Family Growth, the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, and other related sources. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also looked into IPV. The HHS's IPV research has actually been narrowed down to the adolescent IPV, and in one survey found that 9.9 percent of 9th to 12th grade students have been victims of IPV in the past year (Eaton, 2008). HHS goes on to actually break down the adolescent intimate partner violence into causes, control, intervention, and safety tips. The Bureau of Justice Statistics is another organization that has involved themselves in learning about IPV. They use the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports in order to acquire reported statistical information on the incidents. With this information, they release different publications in order to make the situation aware to the public and to help individuals to avoid becoming victims.

There are two main sources of statistical data that pertains to the intimate partner violence dilemma. The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) are these data sources. The National Crime Victimization Survey is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, and measures the amount and kinds of crime households encounter during a six-month period preceding the interview. The individuals are surveyed at a rate of twice a year for three years, and the age range is anywhere from 12 or older. The NCVS actually covers more than just IPV incidents, but includes most forms of IPV in the survey. One of the best things about the NCVS is that it includes the incidents that were not reported by arrests. It also reports some of the information about the victims and offenders that is not gathered during arrests. The other source of data, the Uniform Crime Report, uses all the data acquired through the FBI by crimes reported and arrests. This data includes Part I crimes and Part II crimes, which are the more serious crimes and the other crimes. One of the best aspects of the UCR is that the information reported here is not falsified, and it only comes from incidents that lead to arrests. This means that someone cannot "cry wolf" or try to create bragging rights in order to get attention through reporting. Both sources of data together make up a real reliable source of data in which statistical data can be inferred.

There are many different forms and categories of intimate partner violence. IPV can range anywhere from fatal incidents to nonfatal incidents. Fatal IPV is the worst form and can lead to the psychological hurt of many friends and family members. As indicated by Mitchell (2009), "34% of women were killed by an intimate partner (husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or same-sex partner) compared to only 6% of men" (pg. 34). This is pretty detrimental concerning that "most homicide victims are men (78%)" (Mitchell, 2009, pg. 34). This means that even though a majority of the homicide cases involve a man being killed, the likelihood of an IPV homicide victim being a man is still less than that of a woman. The nonfatal incidents of IPV are still a necessary concern. These incidents can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, threats, and/or emotional abuse. Whatever the case, all the forms of nonfatal IPV are considered an ongoing problem in society. The CDC estimates that each year women experience 4.8 million IPV related physical assaults and rapes, while men are victims of about 2.9 million IPV related physical assaults. This means there are an estimated 7.7 million acts of IPV each year. The CDC along with the NIJ cosponsored the National Violence Against Women Survey in 2000. Exhibit 1 (Tjaden, P. & Thoennes N., 2000) shows the results of some of the different types of victimization due to intimate partner violence. The information is split into lifetime estimations and previous 12 month estimations by gender.

There are many different conditions and characteristics of victims and offenders of intimate partner violence. According to the Rennison and Welchans (2000), "Among women, being black, young, divorced or separated, earning lower incomes, living in rental housing, and living in an urban area were all associated with higher rates..." of intimate partner violence. The situation with men were fairly similar with being "..young, black, divorced or separated, or living in rented housing.." (Rennison and Welchans, 2000). The Rennison and Welchans (2000) went on to say that "Black females experiences intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 2.5 times the rate of women of other races.". Similar Rennison and Welchans (2000) male statistical rates found black males were "62% higher than...white...and about 2.5 times...of other..". Offender data has shown that typically IPV deals with some of the same circumstances as the victims. In Exhibit 6 (Tjaden, P. & Thoennes N., 2000) the results are not quite as drastic as that of Rennison and Welchans. Though the difference are similar for the results, Rennison and Welchans did not take into account the American Indian/Alaska Native. Lower income situations are usually present in both also.

Intimate partner violence can cause many different types of injuries, whether they are physical or mental. Rennison and Welchans (2000) found of the female victims of IPV, there where about 50% injured victims and 50% that had no actual injuries; whereas, the male victim rates where a little different, with about 32% of victims being injured and 68% resulting in no injuries. Of the injuries found by Rennison and Welchans (2000), the serious injuries were not to high in percentage with only 5% female and 4% male; of the rest of the cases, they where either small in numbers or minor injuries which accounted for 42% female and 27% male. Female injuries did account for 4% of the rape or sexual assault cases and males had less than 1% of rape accounts; and another fortunate low statistic was intimate partner violence which only resulted in deaths in about 1.8% of the cases (Rennison and Welchans, 2000). No matter what the type of IPV, there are usually psychological issues to deal with later. Some victims will end up blaming themselves and eventually build self-hatred. Trust issues also develop, especially after sexual assault incidents. Even the friends of the victims can build psychological issues of fear, and sometimes have a hard time going out without wondering what is behind every corner. One of the worst case scenarios is that of long-term mental anguish. When a person is so effected by the event that they acquire Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is where after a very traumatic event, the victim is fearful for their existence that it may repeat. In a 2004 survey, Woods found many results of PTSD in her dissertation which includes:

Significantly more abused than non-abused women reported depressive symptoms (64.5% vs. 30.8%; p = .001) and PTSD symptoms (56.5% vs. 10.3%; p = .000), but most women with depressive symptoms (61%) were actually comorbid for PTSD. A dose-response relationship with PTSD symptoms was identified for increased prevalence, recency, severity, and duration of abuse as well as a greater number of traumas. Significantly more abused than non-abused women reported chronic pain (74.2% vs. 53.8%, p = .035) and chronic fatigue symptoms (35.5% vs. 12.8%, p = . 012). This also held true for women with PTSD compared to women without psychopathology symptoms. (pg. ii)

Victims also acquire paranoia issues after these situations, not knowing who may take advantage of them again or they may assume everyone is trying to violate them.

There are many different solutions and forms of help for the victims of intimate partner violence. Some of these are prevention classes and programs which help educate individuals on ways to keep from becoming a victim. There are also risk assessments in which you can see how you identify to some of the typical victim situations. Among the different forms of help for IPV, there is the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA). This agency was established in order to eliminate sexual violence and its impact by providing education, advocacy, and support to women, men, and children. Another is the Brief Spousal Assault Form for the Evaluation of Risk (B-SAFER). This is the shorter version of SARA, and it was manly developed for risk assessment by the police and in shorter time periods. If you don't avoid IPV, then there are still ways to manage your problems after. There are many hotlines and counseling available for victims, and at the same time you can still keep your pride and privacy. If the case is brought to trial, there are courts that can help with setting you up with advocates in order to get your affairs in order and to deal with any other bothersome situations. The judge can also assign protective orders just in case there are issues with the offender being around. These protective order will restrict the offender to stay a certain distance away from you at all times.

Once a victim of intimate partner violence, there are little steps that hospital (if brought to one) can do to help an individual. In the hospital situation it is hard to figure out when IPV has occurred due to victims withholding information and being ashamed. This leads to the mental aspects which come with being a victim of IPV. Health care pays for many cases of psychological care that results from IPV, and you can get specific training in order to return to the real world and function properly. This training also helps with a victim understanding the types of situations to avoid.

In conclusion, intimate partner violence can happen to anyone who is involved with another human being. IPV involves the physical abuse, sexual abuse, threats, and/or emotional abuse. It also involves the serious injuries, minor injuries, and in some cases even death. There are many ways to cope once an individual has become a victim, and insurance help is usually available also. The psychological factors of IPV are usually the hardest part to get over, and may even develop into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Over the years many people have gotten together and created risk assessments, advocate groups, and help organizations for the victims of intimate partner violence. Even though IPV is bad, there has been a decline in the last few years which show great progress towards the eradication of this problem.