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Domestic Abuse is the continuous mistreatment by one individual against another within a home or relationship. There are different forms of abuse; the abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, economic, or any behavior in which one person tries to control another by different means. Victims of domestic violence suffer short and long term effects; as do their children. Children who witness abuse in the home also tend to either become victims or perpetrators of the abuse as adults. Though the victims and their children are the ones experiencing the abuse; they are not the only ones who suffer the effects of the abuse- Society also suffers with them. Domestic violence does not discriminate by age, sex, education religion or creed. It is a world-wide issue from the beginning of time; however, the first laws to protect against it were enacted in the year 1641. Although great strides have been made regarding the issue of domestic violence; it is still not taken seriously enough and there is more work to do in order to properly educate people and combat the problem.
SUPPORTING POINT 1: Far too many still find themselves in these circumstances and many continue to live this way for some time.
Many victims are afraid of what their abuser will do if they try to leave.
Many victims are afraid they could lose their children if they come forward about the abuse.
Many victims are afraid they will not be able to receive enough help to make it on their own and support themselves and their families.
SUPPORTING POINT 2: Resources are limited to help the victims of domestic violence.
Minority communities as well as economically disadvantaged communities often have very few places to turn for help.
Victims are often turned away because there is not enough room at shelters or safe houses.
Many homeless women have experienced abuse at some point and more than half are escaping violent situations within the home they left.
"According to a survey done by the National Census of Domestic Violence Services to count services provided by more than 2,000 programs. During the twenty-four-hour survey period, 48,350 people used these services. The results show substantial unmet demand for services (10 percent of requests) because of resource constraints, particularly in rural, economically disadvantaged, and minority communities. Greater funding of domestic violence programs, particularly housing support, is likely to be a cost-effective public health investment." [Health Affairs 28, no. 6 (2009): w1052-w1065 (published online 22 September 2009; 10.1377/hlthaff.28.6.w1052], (Iyengar, R., & Sabik, L. (2009). The dangerous shortage of domestic violence services. Health Affairs, 28(6), 1052-W1065.)
SUPPORTING POINT 3: Police and law officials need to be better educated and more actions need to be taken by law enforcement officials.
Domestic violence is still sometimes viewed as a problem within the home that should be resolved between the individuals experiencing the problem.
Reports of domestic violence often go undocumented by police, therefore adding to the problem of underreporting of these crimes.
Victims of domestic violence feel that the effectiveness of the criminal justice system is poor to fair at best.
"Levens and Dutton (1980) performed this type of analysis and concluded that police wrote reports on 16.5% of the "family dispute" calls they attended. Given Bard and Zacker's (1974) finding that assaults occurred on 29% of family dispute calls attended by police, this suggests a further failure to "officially" detect an event occurring because the police overlook the assault, or consider it unworthy of a report." (Dutton, D. G. (1987). The criminal justice response to wife assault. Law and Human Behavior, 11(3), 189-206).
"The criminal justice perspective, domestic abuse is more narrowly defined as "an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm" (Texas Department of Public Safety, 1998, p. 47. Danis, Fran S, Social Work, The criminalization of domestic violence: What social workers need to know 48.2, (Apr 2003): 237-46.)
COUNTER-ARGUMENT 1: There are plenty of resources and places to turn for help if the victim reaches out for help.
There are many resources available to help victims but many are underfunded and overcrowded; victims are often left with little assistance; if not entirely turned away.
"The most worrisome result from this survey is that 5,183 requests for service went unfulfilled in a single day because of a lack of resources."(Iyengar, R., & Sabik, L. (2009). The dangerous shortage of domestic violence services. Health Affairs, 28(6), 1052-W1065.)
COUNTER-ARGUMENT 2: Stronger laws have been put into effect to protect the victims and law enforcement officials have been specially trained regarding the issue of domestic violence.
Stronger laws have been made but still many cases of domestic violence are over looked. Law officials have had some training but many need further education into what constitutes domestic violence and how it should be handled in cases that may not be punishable by law.
"The laws already on the books should be holding batterers accountable for their violent behavior, but the criminal justice system often fails to enforce them," Lockyer said.(California falls short in enforcing laws against domestic violence. (2005). Juvenile Justice Digest, 33(15), 1-2.)
CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH: It is quite obvious that domestic violence is a problem in the United States of America. One in which we must do more to combat as there are still far too many victims who are afraid and/or unwilling to come forward about the abuse. All too often the reason for this is that police and law officials don't seem to be either adequately educated enough to get involved and are simply unwilling to help; or the law just doesn't protect the victim enough and sufficiently prosecute the perpetrator. Another big reason for the underreporting of domestic violence is the fact that the resources available are strained to the point that they simply can't satisfactorily help the victim to be able to start over in a life free from abuse. We must stop overlooking and downplaying this issue as one that should be handled between the individuals experiencing the problem. If in fact, we wish to end the vicious cycle we are presented with as a society; it is required for all of us to open our hearts and our minds to this issue and by any and all means-unite as a nation to overcome the challenges we face.
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