I think I’m overhearing domestic violence next door. What should I do?

Are Abuse Victims One of the Causes of Domestic Violence?

Experts do not agree on the underlying causes of domestic violence, but they do agree that the victim never asks for or causes domestic abuse. Although most victims of domestic abuse are women, men can suffer at the hands of an abusive partner as well. (Domestic Violence Against Men: Male Victims of Domestic Abuse) The abuser tears down the victim’s self esteem gradually over time to gain control over them. They may convince the victim that she deserves the abuse or provoked it in some way, causing the abuser to “lose control”. This represents a classic control tactic of abusers – convincing the victim that they cause the violence and bring it upon themselves. Victims do not cause the abuse; the abuser is in complete control of his or her behavior.

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Police response to domestic violence callouts

The Police have a policy of arresting family violence offenders. For the Police, “family violence” includes: “… violence that is either physical, emotional, psychological or sexual. It includes people in all types of relationships; not just married couples, but those in de facto and homosexual relationships, children and other relatives of those directly involved in the abuse, flatmates or other people who share accommodation, and anyone in a close personal relationship.

It includes not only violence, but also intimidation or threats of violence, damage to property, and allowing a child to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a person with whom the child has a domestic relationship.” Police policy recognises that the protection of the victim is priority. Their aim when they are called is to stop the violence, ensure the safety of any children who might be present and organise support for the victims. Offenders will be held accountable for the violence by bringing them into the criminal justice system. When they investigate a case of family violence, Police will intervene immediately to stop any further domestic violence. Otherwise, they will proceed with standard investigation techniques that include taking photographs to illustrate injuries suffered; having the victim outline the complaint in front of the offender and noting his or her response; having the victim identify the offender and the nature of their relationship; noting the offender’s responses; arresting the offender and keeping them in custody.

These procedures are a necessary part of the Police investigation and might mean the victim can be excused from giving evidence in court. That’s the policy, and that’s how it is supposed to work. “We do our very best to put ourselves between the woman and the offender, so he is dealing only with us,” Lower Hutt Police family violence co-ordinator Senior-Sergeant Tim Castle says. “We try to take her out of the equation and proceed with prosecuting her violent partner, whether she complains or not – some women are just too frightened to lay a complaint because they are afraid of what the offender will do to her later.” This contrasts with earlier Police practice of prosecuting only if a complaint was laid.

But some women feel unable to break the cycle, Mr Castle says. “There’s the fear of breaking up the family, the fear of loss of security, sometimes there are pressures from relatives – hers and the offender’s. Some women will do anything to keep the family together. As a policeman I am constantly amazed at what some women will go through to keep the family together. Some cases go on for years. The assailant, if a male, will usually be charged with “male assaults female”. After three of those, he can expect to be a guest of Her Majesty for a while, and you’d expect that he might get the idea that he just can’t keep on doing that and that he should get help.

But many come out of prison and they just keep on doing it, picking up where they left off,” he says. If a victim takes out a protection order, the offender must, by court order, undertake a programme to help them deal with their violence. Offenders who have breached a protection order, or who are responsible for family violence offences, are arrested, unless exceptional circumstances exist. The arrest is to ensure the victim is made safe and has an opportunity to get help and advice without interference from the offender. The victim will usually be told if the offender is freed from custody. The Police will check the house for firearms and other weapons.

Where there are grounds for applying for a protection order, the Police will consider seizing any firearms or other weapons the offender owns or has access to, and also revoking his or her firearms licence. If the offender has breached a protection order, any weapons or firearms in their possession or control will be seized. Once the victim’s safety is established, the Police will normally arrange for help agencies to be called, whatever the hour.

In most areas, Women’s Refuge and Victim Support have 24-hour crisis lines that the Police can call. It means that a trained helper will call on the victim immediately to help calm the victim and advise what ongoing support is available. The Police will take the arrested offender to the local Police station to be charged. The offender will appear before a judge as soon as practicable. At the first appearance the offender will be asked to plead guilty, not guilty, or enter no plea.

If the plea is guilty the judge might sentence immediately or call for a probation or psychiatric report before sentencing. The accused person will be remanded in custody or given bail to wait for the report and a second hearing. The victim might be called to give evidence at a hearing, although the Police might have enough evidence without the victim having to appear. If you are in this position, make sure you take a friend or relative for support if you do have to attend.

Court volunteers, Victim Support groups and Women’s Refuge workers also offer practical help. The offender might be sentenced to supervision – where he or she must report regularly to a probation officer – and sometimes comply with special conditions such as attending a non-violence programme. Or the penalty could be a suspended sentence, periodic detention, or even a jail term. Be prepared: the offender, whether it is your partner, flatmate or whoever, might well resent the sentence. “Domestic violence is unlike any other offence,” Tim Castle says. “With other offences, such as a burglary, the offender comes, takes and goes, and might not be seen again. Or the burglar might not have been seen. Most people don’t have to face their assailant again. But a battered woman does. She’s constantly living with it – the fear, the offender, the pressures, especially the family pressure not to proceed.”

If a protection order becomes final

If the respondent doesn’t go to court to defend themselves within three months of receiving a temporary Protection Order, the Protection Order automatically becomes final. The Order will last until either you or the respondent apply to the court to end it.

A final Protection Order may also be granted if, after a defended hearing, the Judge decides the Protection Order should stay in place.

The court won’t end a Protection Order unless it’s satisfied the person who’s been violent is no longer a risk to the person/s protected by the Order.

Domestic Violence U.S. Hotlines

There are millions of domestic violence and abused recipients around the world, although not all situations come to the attention of law enforcement officials. People who are at the mercy of domestic violence rely on the police to protect them, but many of these individuals are reluctant to report such crimes because of their fear of reprisals.

The police believe that fear of reprisal was one of the reasons the battered person recants, although it didn’t protect them from the next attack.

Police report alcohol or drug abuse being a factor in the majority of domestic violence situations. However, not all batterers are under the influence of anything other than their own craving to control others.

The abused often stay with their abusers because they feel that suffering in silence is safer than trying to escape. It can also be difficult to get away from an abuser and start a new life when there are children, jobs, houses and other factors involved. Leaving the abuser should be of paramount importance, not only for the abused person’s safety, but for that of the children as well.

Anyone who could not seem to escape the clutches of domestic violence may need to await the opportune time to leave an abuser. Here are a few suggestions for those awaiting a chance to flee:

  • Ask the neighbors to call the police anytime they hear the sounds of violence at the abused person’s house.
  • If the abuser is about to become violent, the abused should attempt to find a safe way to leave the house, or go to a secluded area inside the house to call the police.
  • Teach children how to call 911 and ask for help.
  • Be willing to testify in court and tell the judge why they will be in danger if the abuser is released.
  • Get a restraining order against the abuser.
  • Flee to a domestic violence shelter if possible.
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for assistance at 1-800-799-7233, or 1-800-787-3224
  • Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline online at

Domestic Violence Statistics

In the United States,on average, an average of 20 individuals per minute are victims of stalking, physical assault, and rape by an intimate partner. That is more than 8 million men and women All throughout the year.

Almost half of all men and in the US have suffered psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

More than 30 percent in women, and more than 25 percent  in men have suffered rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) alone affects more than 8 million individuals annually.

More than 20 percent in women, and more than 10 percent in men aged 18 and up have been the victim of severe physical violence by a significant other in their lifetime.

More than 10 percent in women and 2 percent in men have been injured as a result of IPV that included stalking, physical violence, and rape by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

More than 20 percent in women (29%) and more than 10 percent in men have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.

DV in Women

  • In intimate partner violence, a great portion of abused females were previously victimized by the same perpetrator which includes more than 50 percent of them aged between 18 to 24; about 60% of females aged between 25 to 34, and 81percent between the ages of 35 to 49.
  • About 4 in 5 abused females of intimate partner violence were women.
  • Generally, females ages between 18 to 34 experienced the highest statistics of intimate partner violence.
DV in Children

DV in Children

  • The US Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect proposes that domestic violence in children may be the topmost major forerunner to child abuse and its failure to look after fatalities.
  • Children who were grew up witnessing domestic violence in the home were 10 times more likely to be  sexually and/or physically assaulted than the overall average.
  • There is a correlation between family conflicts/domestic violence and child abuse. Among victims of abuse in minors, than 30% report domestic violence in the household.
  • 30 to 60% of offenders of IPV also abuse children in the home.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 children who were exposed to domestic/intimate partner violence charges filed in state courts.

DV in Men

  • More than 15 percent of domestic violence in males reported being raped by a stranger, and 50 percent by an acquaintance.
  • Almost 2 percent of men have been assaulted, raped, and beaten in their lifetime by their intimate partner or any offender.
  • More than 30 percent of men report such impacts of their ordeal.
  • More than 40 percent of the LGBT community is sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.

What is Domestic Violence?

According to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, domestic violence is defined as violence or domestic abuse is the violence which occurs when one person physically or psychologically abuses another person. So it can be said that domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse, it also includes emotional, economic, verbal, sexual abuse like marital rape, beating or choking to death etc.

Who can be the victim of Domestic Violence

  • This type of violence can occur within a family, by spouse, ex-partner, also include cohabitants (people in live in relation).
  • This may sometimes take the form of child marriage or forced marriages.
  • It is seen globally that women are majorly the victim of domestic violence.
  • The cases of domestic violence go unreported so it can be considered to be one of the unreported crime.

Reasons

There is no particular reason which causes such violence but people generally finds a reason to cause abuse. Few of them are:

  • Some people find it the way to control their partner due to low self-esteem
  • Men believe they have the right to do anything to women irrespective of their consent
  • Violent behaviour due to drugs or alcohol
  • Financial issues
  • Disagreement between partners
  • When the husband is unemployed and wife is the sole earner, this causes envy and the person finds domestic violence way to dominate the women.

Children learn from their parents, if they see these kinds of situations prevailing in their homes then they will think that violence is the only way to resolve the dispute. Boys who witness this violence tends not to respect or value women. Whatever may be the cause but the action of the abuser does not justify his behaviour.

Warnings

  • Do not become physically violent yourself with your abuser. If a domestic situation erupts, contact the authorities immediately.

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Conclusion

The issue of domestic violence needs a cooperation of people with the government to eradicate it from the root. This issue needs to be dealt properly otherwise this will be continued for generations. The victim should be aware of his/her right so that they are not exploited in their relationship. Our country needs to work a lot in this area to stop this horrendous abuse because there are places even today where child marriage takes place. Government can frame the law but this will not stabilize the mindset of the men in our patriarchal society. A changed mindset will give a new horizon for the betterment of the condition of women in our society.

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