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The Issue Of Domestic Violence In Malaysia Social Work Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Domestic violence is acknowledged as a significant issue within Malaysia. Historically, women non-government organizations (NGOs) have made violence against women a visible issue and have laws and protection services for victims of gender violence. In the year of 1994, the Domestic Violence Act was finally passed by Parliament, making Malaysia the first Asian and Muslim country to adopt such legislation. Government and Women’s groups have make hard afford in raising awareness around the issues of domestic violence due to Malaysia has a high level of physical abuse of women by husbands and boyfriends. The 1992 WAO/SRM (Women’s Aid Organisation and Survey Research Malaysia) survey revealed that 39 percent of women have experiencing battering. In the year of 1995, there were 1409 police reports of domestic violence. 1n 1997, the first full year of the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, increase to 5477 reports, representing a 388 percent increase. To sum up, the statistics of domestic violence cases are increasing year by year according to the statistics on marital violence cases of the Department of Social Welfare of the Ministry of National Unity and Social Development (Department of Social Welfare, 1999-2009).

Except the studies on the number of cases reported for domestic violence, there has also been a small body of research conducted in order to recognise the consequential costs to governments in responding to the consequences of such violence. Studies of the prevalence of violence against women indicate that violence is an issue that permeates every corner of society, is widespread and costly. The costs that spend on domestic violence can be found in Justice, Health, Social Services, Education, Business Costs, Personal or Household Costs. Consequently, the costs of violence against women drain resources from many sectors including private businesses and agencies, the government, community groups and individuals. In brief, for the long run, violence against women will impede economic and social development in Malaysia.

Majority of the research on domestic violence tend to place the attention on its causes and consequences as well as short-term crisis intervention such as provision of accommodation, welfare assistance and other emergency support and advocacy services. However, less attention has been given to the long-term impact of intimate partner violence on battered women’s career development and the role of career counselling interventions in empowering battered women to become economically independent. Therefore, this paper aim at exploring a more comprehensive and extended framework by which the focus is given to the importance of long-term planning in areas such as job search and career development. Thus, rather than continues to concentrating on immediate needs, focusing on the area of career development will reduce the overall expenditure spend by the government or society and also provide an opportunity for the victims of domestic violence for long-term independence as more people enter the workforce. According to the Women’s Aid Organization annual report, there is a need for a more long-term approach to the issue of domestic violence in Malaysia.

Since the topic of this paper is to discuss about the domestic violence and career development in Malaysia, thus, firstly, the author will examines the impact of domestic violence on career development. Second, it places the issue of career barrier encounter by battered women, and third it explores the work of Bandura (1989) and Gianakos (1999) to understand career orientation. Finally, by drawing on these concepts builds a framework which provides a pathway for domestic violence victims to attain sustainable employment and independence.

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Women’s Career Development

The impact of domestic violence on women’s career development can be devastating. The constant denigration associated with emotional abuse destroys women’s beliefs in their competence and worth. Physical states and injuries resulting from physical and sexual abuse limit women’s ability to go to work, complete job tasks, and advance in their job positions (CDC, 2003; Chronister & McWhirter, in press). Battered women also may be isolated and as a result, have fewer opportunities to engage in positive learning experiences, observe role models, and build support networks. These factors, considered from a social cognitive career theory (SCCT) perspective (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994), severely restrict battered women’s range of career interests, formulation of career goals, and persistence toward those goals.

Poverty and employment have been at the forefront of economic and social policy debate in Australia for the last three decades (Saunders 2006). Domestic violence victims not only suffer from a range of physical and mental health problems, but are more likely to have been unemployed in the past and also have higher levels of job turnover (Lloyd and Taluc 1999; Costello et al. 2005). Some work in the USA suggests that women who had experienced aggression from male partners had only one third the odds of maintaining employment for at least 30 hours per week over a six month period (Browne et al. 1999). While some abusers simply prohibit their female partners from working, others take measures to undermine any attempts at employment such as denying them transportation, tearing up clothing, beating them before job interviews and generally demoralising the partner to such an extent that work becomes impossible (Brandwein 1998; Lloyd and Taluc 1999). Such women then have more interrupted work histories, are less likely to seek or achieve promotion and often operate in low paid/low skilled work (Costello, Chung and Carson 2005: Lloyd and Taluc 1999).

In the Australian context unemployment or joblessness as it is now known continues to be the perennial cause of poverty (Saunders 2006). However, there is a lack of Australian research on the links of domestic violence and employment, but what limited work there is has found that training and employment transition services were considered a low priority even though the financial, social and emotional benefits of such interventions were considered significant (Costello et al. 2005, 257). This is very different from Britain and Ireland where the issue of poverty and joblessness has been addressed in a comprehensive way with the setting of anti-poverty targets and long-term solutions (ACOSS 2004).

Domestic violence, no matter whether it be physical, emotional, verbal, economic or social, leads to lower self-esteem and self worth, social isolation, poverty and welfare dependency and poor health for the women and children who are subjected to such abuse (Partnerships Against Domestic Violence 2001, 7; Tolman and Wang 2005, 148). They find they are unable to set short-term goals, have limited information through their social and economic isolation and exist in a climate of fear and these become barriers to seeking full employment and becoming financially independent (Trent and Margulies 2007).

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV), can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation.[1] Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation.[1] Alcohol consumption[2] and mental illnessHYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence#cite_note-dutton1994-2″[3] can be co-morbid with abuse, and present additional challenges when present alongside patterns of abuse.


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