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The prevalence of domestic violence in our societies.


In the last two decades, there has been growing recognition of the prevalence of domestic violence in our societies. Domestic violence has continued to be a global epidemic that kills and tortures physically, psychologically, sexually and economically. It is one of the most pervasive human rights violations, denying women and children equality, security, dignity and their right to enjoy fundamental freedoms. The prevalence of domestic violence is higher in Kenya than in the UK because there is no law that deals with the issues of domestic violence. In light of the growing contention of domestic violence, this dissertation looks at the issues of domestic violence and its effects on children in both the United Kingdom (UK) and Kenya. More specifically, the research seeks to: highlight the common definition of domestic violence, identify factors that contribute to domestic violence, analyze the impact of domestic violence on children, and lastly, look at ways of combating domestic violence in both countries. This review has critiqued and discussed previous studies, articles and other relevant literature.

Research articles were reviewed giving an overview of what domestic violence is. A number of factors that contribute to the effects of witnessing violence by children such as behavioural, emotional, cognitive and physical functioning problems have been explored. The two countries chosen represent the same detrimental effects of domestic violence on children. Lastly, discussions focussing on the methods utilized in dealing with domestic violence in Kenya and the UK were outlined. Focus has been made to the positive steps taken to combat this problem as well as government and non-government actions in fighting domestic violence. Overall, this research will enable you to better understand social conditions and social issues in a broader sense, giving you a view of what various problems mean to different people and how these perspectives impact on society’s response. It will represent a comprehensive and engaging approach for the study of international social conditions and problems. The theoretical ideas such as the feminist approach, attachment theory, systems theory applied will shed some light on how to further understand the issues of domestic violence. Concerns about methodology are also raised.

The reason for carrying out this research is because domestic violence has become a feature of most of the cases that I encounter as a social work student on placement. Born and bred in Kenya where domestic violence is at an increase, this research will with the worst outcomes for children. Also, professionals in both countries were found to pay less attention to the fact that children were witnessing and living with high levels of violence. Therefore, this dissertation aims at creating awareness on the impact of domestic violence on children and its need for interventions.


1:1 Background and Context

Domestic violence is an internationally recognized problem, yet it remains the most invisible crimes of our times. Women and children face terror in the place where they should be safest- within their families. Many of them are terrified of their homes because it is where they experience violence from those who they trust and are close to them. Domestic violence occurs in all communities regardless of social class, age, race, ethnic, disability, sexuality, and lifestyle. Summers & Hoffman (2002) describes the issues of domestic violence as closely linked to the socialization process, personal choices, crime justice, safety, health care and ethics. They state that, it is rarely a one time event, since abuse tends to have a high rate of recurrence. There are key pieces of legislation, both criminal and civil, which have a bearing on children who experience domestic violence. These are the Children Act 1989, Family Law Act 1996, Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and Housing Act 1996 (Hester et al, 2000). There is a focus on the relevant aspects of the legislation and discussion regarding the implications for practice.The global dimensions of domestic violence are shocking as highlighted by studies on its incidences and prevalence. No society is free from such violence and the only difference is in the patters and trends that are present in countries which will be discussed later in this review ( The first chapter will look at the definition of domestic violence within the UK and Kenya.

Throughout history, assumptions have been made causing society to turn its back on domestic violence. It was assumed that domestic violence is a minor, private/family matter that no one should interfere with (Hanmer, 2000). Many people still believe that battering is rare and to a lesser extent therefore, do not approve of outside interference. Others feel men are naturally aggressive, and women naturally passive, so abuse is expected due to ‘human nature’. Therefore, they view battering as a problem caused by stress or poverty, or subject to the ‘lower classes’ (Berry, 2000). It is only recent that society has realised the unspeakable horror of domestic violence. As the shocking numbers and stories are made public knowledge, attitudes are changing. People are now aware of the increasing nature of domestic violence, its devastating effect on women, men, children and families, and the tragic consequences of turning away (Hanmer, 2000). In the UK, domestic violence has become a main concern for many local authorities and police divisions while in Kenya, it is still regarded as a family affair that requires no intrusion. The dynamics of this violence as well as the contributing factors are slowly becoming evident. Each country differs in its perceptions as to what contributes to its domestic violence problems. In the UK, factors such as social exclusion, poverty, gender inequality, having a criminal background, and having experienced abuse as a child are some of the factors that contribute to domestic violence. The families are classified as patriarchal where male dominate and women are subordinates (Turshen, 2000). In Kenya, domestic violence must be understood as a cultural and historical phenomenon. Its traditional lifestyle determines a specific place for women and children- their roles and duties. The father is the one in charge of the homestead which means practically, he owns everything or rather, he is the custodian of the family property including his wives and children (Njenga, 2007). However, factors such as gender inequality and poverty that contribute to domestic violence in the UK are similar to those in Kenya. The second chapter will expand more on that.

The victims of domestic violence suffer physically, emotionally and psychologically. They are unable to make their own decisions, air their own views or protect themselves and their children for fear of further repercussions. They are deprived of their human rights and have to constantly live with the threat of violence (UNICEF, 2000). Several studies have shown that children who witness domestic violence are at higher risks of becoming victims or perpetrators of domestic as adults. An increasing variety of research has highlighted that children are likely to be at risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse in the context of domestic violence (Hester et al, 2000). The impact of domestic violence on children has been found to be similar in both the UK and Kenya. This review focuses on these children-the forgotten victims of violence in the home. The third chapter will draw attention to the impact of domestic violence on children.

The challenge for the future is to bring ourselves to the point where the family is characterized by love and nurturing thoughtfulness, as opposed to the horrific psychological abuse, battering, and killing that are a tragic part of domestic violence. A multifaceted and integrated approach that embraces human rights is required to effectively eliminate domestic violence. Perhaps, through international collaboration, we can share insights and meaningful approaches to prevention and controls thereby helping our families become the source of health citizens of tomorrow. (Summers & Hoffman, 2002). By counterposing Kenya and the UK, this review offers many similarities between the violence encountered by women and children in both countries and its view on male dominance and control. Nonetheless, there are a few differences about the two settings that may prove useful to examine and be productive of insights into the nature of domestic violence. As a result, this study sought to establish the effects of domestic violence on children in both Kenya and the UK with the hope of it being an eye opener to the reality of the situation.


A literature review is an objective summary and critical analysis of the relevant available research or unresearched literature on a particular topic (Hart, 2001). The sources of data for this research project are secondary sources taken from reliable sources such as academic journals, books, reports of which references can be found on the reference list. The methods chosen for these review were intended to minimise the risk of bias in the identification and selection of relevant and suitable literature ( This included conducting a thorough and comprehensive search involving electronic databases such as ASSIA……Academic one file and the Sage Publication Journals that have been used to identify published articles, books and specialist journals.

Four research articles on the application of domestic violence, gender-based violence, effects of domestic violence on children were searched and identified. Searches were narrowed to the year 2000 to 2011 to ensure only the most up to date research was found. The studies that were used in this review were chosen because they were relevant and the level of evidence contained in them was high. The use of qualitative and quantitative research to collect data has been analysed to produce findings. Qualitative research methods rely less on the mathematics and statistics of the results than quantitative methods and can be used to search for meanings within answers. Researchers conducting qualitative research do not aim to develop other people’s theories but attempts to collect enough information about a particular topic in order to come up with new ideas and theories; an inductive approach to research (Glasser & Strauss, 1967).

Quantitative data collection finds ‘hard’ data (data that can be measured and eventually turned into number format) and analyses it in statistical terms in order to find conclusions. These conclusions are then used to draw up ideas and theories. In quantitative research, researchers generally starts off knowing a little about the topic in question and explore it further through the research itself. This is called the deductive approach. The important thing in quantitative research is that the researcher must be objective and cannot be biased otherwise the results will be inaccurate.

Limitations to Research

The four studies used in this literature review have used qualitative data method to gather evidence for their research, although one study used both qualitative and quantitative data collection. Qualitative data is perhaps easier to apply in social care research, however it becomes more difficult to analyse than quantitative as results must be ‘grouped’ or ordered into categories of common thoughts/opinions/findings leaving room for misinterpretation or slightly exaggeration of individual results. This is particularly an issue when using open-ended questions. However, multiple choice questions limit the range of answers that can be given and may not be accurate to what the participant wants to convey.

With most of the literature from Kenya, there has been difficulty in comparing prevalence data on violence because different methods have been used to obtain them. The two challenges in obtaining accurate prevalence data are; how to define “abuse” and how to determine the study population. A further complication is that surveys measure the number of survivors willing to disclose abuse rather than actual numbers abused. This can bias prevalence data often prone to under reporting.

In the UK, figures derived from agencies such as the police and women’s refuges are necessarily selective and encompass only a small proportion of victims. It is well documented that police figures suffer from the problem of the ‘hidden figure of crime-that is the non-reporting of crime to the police by the public and the failure of the police to record crime that is reported. Agency figures represent merely the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and in some cases, for instance those derived from women’s refuges, point more to the limited availability of such resources rather than overall extent of the problem (Hanmer, 2000).

Collecting reliable data on this hidden issue is a challenge. There is limited data available on the prevalence of domestic violence in both Kenya and the UK and less information on the numbers of children who may be exposed to such violence.

Ethical considerations

The main issue surrounding any piece of research is the ethical dilemma it causes. When carrying out research, the researcher must balance the value of the research with the amount of intrusion on the participants. Most research carried out in Kenya established that some children and adolescents found questions about home life difficult to answer, especially if the individual has been threatened by a family member from “talking to strangers” about what happens within the family (Chebogut & Ngeno, 2010).

Most studies carried out in the UK did not endeavour to ask children about specific incidences of abuse they had witnessed or experienced because it would be distressing for the child to concentrate on the numerous accounts of violence.

Gaps in Research

Comarck (2000) suggests that literature review may identify gaps in the previous literature that the researcher can address and also provide the reader with knowledge of the field being researched. In order to critically appraise the reviews,


2.1 What is domestic violence?

In researching domestic violence, the first issue that needs to be confronted is that of definition. It is recognised that there is lack of consistency between researchers, policy makers, members of the public and so on, over the relationships and types of behaviour that should be included under the definition of domestic violence and considerable debate as to whether the term should be adopted at all (Kashani & Allan, 1998). In the UK, according to the Home office (2005), domestic violence more specifically refers to the abuse by one person to another in an intimate relationship. These relationships can involve marriage partners living together, dating relationships, and partners living together. The abuse may take the form of physical violence, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse, incest and ultimately death (Berry, 2000; Chalk & King, 1998). This definition bares the same features as the definition of domestic violence in Kenya. However, the term family violence and domestic violence in Kenya, is used interchangeably in different literatures.

In the past, the cases for abused women and children were treated as separate issues with services and policies being delivered differently.

In most studies carried in the UK on domestic violence in heterosexual relationships, it has been found that the vast majority of cases involve violence from men to women (Dobash & Dobash, 1992; Mooney, 1994; British Crime Survey, 1996). In support of this is the NCH Action for Children study on domestic violence and children which suggests that 90-97% of domestic violence is from men to women (Abrahams 1994). However, this does not deny the fact that women can be violent towards men or the fact that women sometimes abuse. Even though there are occasional reports of male victims of domestic violence, the balance is tilted heavily against females. Whichever ways we look at it, children are the ones affected directly and indirectly by the problem. Domestic violence has been an important feature in some instances of child death-e.g. Maria Colwell and Kimberly Carlile. In many cases where children have been killed, the significance of violence to the mothers, as an indicator of potential risk to the children, has often not been understood nor acknowledged by child care professionals. It should be an eye-opener that children, who witness the abuse of their mother, may be directly abused themselves. In a review of studies, Hughes (1992) found correlations of 40-60 per cent between child abuse and domestic violence. Children who witness violence between adults in their homes are only the most recent victims to become visible. These children have been called the “silent,” the “forgotten,” and “unintended” victims of adult-to-adult domestic violence (Elbow, 1982; Groves et al., 1993; Rosenbaum & O’Leary, 1981).

Most children do not witness murders of a parent. Beatings that are fatal but are nonetheless brutal are the types of events that we most commonly think of when children witness adult domestic violence. Therefore, it is apparent that domestic violence is an important indicator of risk of harm to children. Also, an increasing variety of research has highlighted that children are likely to be at risk of physical, sexual or psychological/emotional abuse in the context of domestic violence.

1) Physical abuse:

Physical abuse refers to any behaviour that involves the intentional use of force against the body of another person that risks physical injury, harm or pain (Dutton, 1992). Up to 70% of male abusers also physically abuse their children (90% when there are four or more children in the household). Fortunately, some of these children, despite their traumatic childhood experience, do not become abusers later in life. Kaufman and Zigler (1987) suggest that the rate of intergenerational transmission of violence toward children is 30%. Neverthereless, the witnessing or experiencing of violence by children in the household is the greatest risk factor for predicting involvement in domestic violence. For some women the physical effects of the domestic violence can have a detrimental impact on their parenting and relationships with their children. Not only is their parenting capacity likely to be affected, but also there is a heightened probability that her children may be abused (Hester et al, 2000). The Farmer and Owen (1995) study, he found that in three of five cases where children had suffered physical abuse, neglect or emotional abuse, their mothers were also subject to violence from their male partners.

2) Sexual abuse:

Sexual abuse is defined as any unwanted sexual intimacy forced on one individual by another. Children not only suffer as a result of witnessing this violence, but they often become victims themselves. For example, up to a third of men who batter their female partner also sexually abuse their children. A recent study in Kenya by Maternowska et. al (2009) showed that pressure starts at an early age, with 29% of boys aged 13 years and below reporting one or more episodes of sexual harassment. UNICEF reported that in Kenya the level of violence against children has reached very high levels, in particular sexual violence. However, there exists a lack of consistency in study methods, study designs, and analyses of results in sexual violence studies that makes comparison across specific geographical contexts different. Kenya has 42 communities with varied understandings of sexual abuse that make research problematic (Kilonzo, 2008).

3) Psychological and emotional abuse

Psychological/emotional abuse includes behaviour that is intended to intimidate and persecute, and takes the form of threats of abandonment or abuse, confinement at home, verbal aggression and constant humiliation (Chebogut & Ngeno, 2010). Because psychological violence is harder to capture in quantitive studies, a full picture of the deeper and more insidious levels of violence defies quantification. Victim survivors report that ongoing psychological violence-emotional torture and living under terror-is often more unbearable that the physical brutality, with mental stress leading to a high incidence of suicide and suicide attempts. Children respond to violence in different ways and understanding the immediate, medium and long term psychological effects of violence is essential (UNICEF, 2000). There has been limited research on the mental health outcomes of sexual violence for survivors and the consequences for their partners and families in Kenya. There is limited knowledge on the mental health and social needs and requirements of survivors, factors that impact on recovery and the long-term outcomes. This means that these needs are unmet for survivors and that the justice system does not have the capacity or mechanisms to utilize psycho-social consequences to impact on justice outcomes (Maternowska, 2009).

2.2 When does it begin?

Our knowledge about domestic violence comes from the accounts of survivors and to a lesser extent from the accounts of perpetrators of domestic violence and witnesses (Dobash et al. 2000). Many people have suggested that domestic violence-at least to the degree it is observed today, is a recent phenomenon. Yet violence between intimates has long been a part of family life. Dutton (2006) refers to domestic violence as “hidden crime” because for too long, it has been a private problem and must be made a public issue. Although domestic violence can begin at any time during a relationship, most studies show that violence tends to start early on- particularly once the relationship has become ‘formalised’ through the couple living together or through marriage (Hester & Radford, 1992; Kelly, 1988). In Kenya, domestic violence is experienced mostly by people living in the capital city though the poorer areas have greater representation. It was further noted that sometimes abuse starts in the first year of marriage, but it takes five years for most of the women to visit the shelter for help. The police, church, community elders as well as the local administration were the choice of place for the reports of the violence (Njenga, 2007).

It has also been noted that many women experience violence from their husbands or male-partners at the time of pregnancy, or when the children are small. From these accounts, the perception of the perpetrator and that of the woman he has abused often differ. Perpetrators may not see their behaviour as abusive or controlling as the person on the receiving end. They are likely to deny and cover up their abusive behaviour and therefore, appearing as quite different people in public than at home. As Hester et al (2007) mentions, many women have described their violent partners as appearing very ‘charming’ at work, to the police, in court and so on, but generally aggressive at home. It is easy to assume that once a domestic violence perpetrator is no longer living with his wife or partner, then the violence will stop. However, that is unlikely to be the case. It has to be recognised that violent male partners are likely to continue to abuse and harass their ex-partners and will use any situation where both are present or in contact with each other (e.g. via contact arrangements for the children) to do so (Radford & Hester, 2006).

2.3 Data on domestic violence

Experts are divided over statistics that show domestic violence is on the rise. Domestic violence in the UK is very common. Research shows that it can affect one in four women in their lifetimes and it accounts for between 16% and one quarter of all recorded violent crime. It is estimated that 3 million children experience domestic violence in their homes each year (Walby & Allen 2004). The survey explores non-sexual domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking and includes aspects of domestic violence that are frequently hidden, such as financial and emotional abuse, isolation, threats and intimidation. Regardless of the way these estimates of children’s exposure are derived, it is likely that this exposure occurs more than once and may be present over the course of a child’s development.

According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, 39% of the women surveyed said they were abused by a husband or partner. But a 2008 report by the Federation of Women Lawyers of Kenya (FIDA), says almost 75% of women they surveyed reported being beaten. This has contributed to the drastic increase of numbers affected from about 299 in 2006, then to 412 in 2007, then in 2008, it went to another 400 and over (Chebugot & Ngeno, 2010).

Domestic legislation with respect to children and protection of their rights

The absence of legislation on domestic violence has complicated matters in Kenya still further. There is no legal framework to address this issue. The current practice is to criminalise the offence under the penal code as assault/battery, but this usually does not take into account violence that is perpetrated in the home (FIDA, 2002). The legal services constantly control their inability to help in the face of an inadequate law and untrained, unsympathetic law enforcement agents. Law enforcement normally uses the fact that domestic violence is not specifically criminalized as an excuse for not intervening. The situation is further complicated by Kenya’s failure to translate into domestic law the international conventions that the government has ratified, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Turshen, 2000). How then is it possible to win the war against domestic violence, against women and childrenDomestic violence is still not treated with the same gravity as other cases when they are reported. Often the victim reporting the case is asked what she did to provoke the violence and is encouraged to resolve the issue at home (OMCT, 2008).

The adoption of the Domestic violence (Family Protection) Bill has been pending since 2002. This Bill attempts to deal comprehensively with all aspects (physical. Psychological and sexual) of violence within domestic settings and would be the only statute in Kenya that recognises domestic violence as a crime. The Bill also provides counselling and psychological treatment for the victims of domestic violence and provides safe houses for victims who are deemed unsafe to remain in the violent situations. It will enable provisions for protection orders against perpetrators including denying them access to the matrimonial homes, provides for a ‘friend’ to make an application for protection for protection orders on behalf of another and provides rehabilitation and setting up fund for domestic violence victims. Once the Bill is passed, it will also help protect children from violence at home (OMCT, 2008).A draft constitution presented to the public last year addressed a number of issues that the domestic violence bill would have dealt with however, the draft was rejected during a referendum (Maternowska et al, 2009).

The enactment of legislation aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of the child are the Children’s Act of 2001 (Cap 586 of the laws of Kenya) and the creation of the National Council for Children’s Services (Achilihu, 2010). The Act establishes statutory structures to facilitate the administration and safeguards of children’s rights. Actual on-the-ground translation of policy into practice has been challenging. There are fewer gains in the legal and social services. According to most national NGO’S, the Children Act has resulted in a great improvement in the promotion and protection of the children’s rights. However, there are several gaps which should be addressed by the government to ensure that every child in Kenya enjoys full legal protection of his/her rights. In this regard, the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) whose mandate is to review laws in the country commenced a review of the Children Act in 2006. However, to date the exercise is yet to be completed. Kenya is one of the African countries in the world where the rights of the child are still a mirage. The sad reality for many Kenyan children is that violation of their rights is not seen as a serious problem resulting in severe consequences for children even beyond their childhood (OMCT, 2008).

The turning point in the UK came when police policy started regarding domestic assault as a crime like any other crime and men as responsible for their own abusive behaviour (Adams et al. 2002). The Children Act 1989 redefined child care law and introduced new measures for the working with children and families in both public and private family law. It was the first child care legislation to take into account the child’s religious, ethnic and cultural background. It adopted a new approach to working with children, underpinned by the principle that the child’s welfare is paramount. The children Act 1989 does not fully acknowledge the context of domestic violence in which many children live. Despite the fact that the Act is accompanied by ten volumes of guidance, there is none on the issue of domestic violence, nor any recognition that domestic violence is a key factor in the breakup of many relationships. Until very recently, the concept of risk of violence to one parent figure from the other parent figure (or from another family member), and the possible impact of this on the first parent’s ability to protect and care for children, was not identified as a factor requiring consideration. In the light of better understanding, since the Act’s implementation, an amendment to include the risk of domestic violence within the welfare checklist or elsewhere might now be timely (Hester et al, 2000).

The need to minimise the risk of violence during family proceedings was highlighted during the passage of the Family Law Act 1996, and was recognised as one of the key principles of parts 2 and 3 of the Act (divorce, legal aid and mediation). The recognition by Parliament that this principle was needed was due, in part, to greater awareness following the Home Affairs Select Commitee Inquiry into Domestic Violence in 1992, and to subsequent publicity about the extent and nature of domestic violence. This was accompanied by growing concerns about the unfortunate effects of its absence within the Children Act 1989 itself, particularly in relation to section 8 orders (private arrangements for children after relationship breakdown).


Before analysing the impact of domestic violence on children, let us turn to a systematic consideration of the factors that contribute to domestic violence in Kenya and the UK. As we review both countries, we hear references to social stereotypes, tolerance of violence, inherent aggressive tendencies of men, provocation by partners and the cultural bias regarding domestic violence as a minor or private matter that others are helpless to do anything about. Despite our knowledge about contributing factors in the UK and Kenya, the fact remains that the problem of domestic violence is very complex. Indeed, a definitive explanation of its cause still eludes us. It is sad commentary that violence-whether on the part of teens or adults in the home- reflects the social, economic, moral, and ethical problems in the larger society. (Summers & Hoffman, 2002).

Cultural- Expectations of roles within relationships:

One must take into account the vast cross-cultural differences that exist when defining domestic violence. By examining comparative data from a diverse group of cultures, perhaps cultural factors and social structures can be defined to help us gain a better understanding of factors that contribute to domestic violence. Throughout this review, it is evident that culture has an influence on domestic violence in different countries. Each country’s particular culture reflects societal norms that affect the laws of the land, its social policy and ultimately the attitudes and behaviour of its people (Summers & Hoffman).

In the UK, where violence is viewed in the context of beliefs about women’s and men’s roles and status within the family, a complex picture emerges of the relationships between poverty, frustrated masculine identities, and violence in intimate relationships. Various studies have noted that a typical effect of macro-social changes on poor urban households is men’s loss of the position of sole breadwinner. This may undermine their status and their authority within the household and outside it. This may in turn lead to men using violence to try to impose their authority on the family. Many writers believe that men’s violence against women is facilitated by men’s domination and that any reduction in this violence will occur only when gender inequality is reduced and when human social bonds are more caring (Summers & Hoffman, 2002).

In Kenya, domestic violence is deeply engrained in the beliefs about gender roles and marriage which have encouraged the practice. In a patriarchal society, domestic violence is actually recognized as one way of disciplining one’s wife. In fact, even the society socializes you as a woman to anticipate this discipline (Chebogut & Ngeno, 2010). As almost every article about domestic violence in Kenya points out, women are still formally regarded as akin to property in most customary law traditions. Bride price- in many places, a certain number of cows-is paid by a man’s family to the woman’s family upon her marriage, for example. This not only makes it appear that she has been ‘bought’ by the man and has thus become his property, to do with as he likes, but also makes it more difficult for women to return to their families of origin to escape domestic violence since their families may be either unable to return the bride price. In short, marriage is still a property transaction in traditional communities in Kenya. Moreover, it is a relationship not just between the individuals involved but between the two families (Bowman, 2003). As regards women, the persistence of certain cultural norms, traditions and stereotypes, as well as discrimination regarding their role in society, perpetuates violence against women and children in Kenya. As a result, it has denied women and children an independent legal and social status. In this respect, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against women (CEDAW). expressed concern that the Kenyan government has not taken systematic action to modify or eliminate stereotypes and negative cultural values and practices (Trochu-Grasso & Varesano, 2009).

Economic-women’s economic dependence on men

The position of women in society has allowed domestic violence to prevail, as women have been economically dependent on men throughout time. Childbirth and child rearing have enabled men to control women, keeping them subordinate and dependent. As Summers & Hoffman (2002) states, this material dependency forces women to stay in violent relationships not because they enjoy pain, or are pathologically disturbed, but because they have very little choice. They often do not wish to uproot or upset their children, and they conceal the evidence for the children’s sake. As a result, the parent-child relationship is deeply affected when a mother must cope with the physical and mental health aspects of having been battered (Wolfe, et al 1985). In addition, parents who realise they may not be able to protect their children from violence are likely to feel anxious, frustrated, and helpless. Such parents who are constantly fearful, may well have difficulty being emotionally available and responsive to their children (Osofsky & Fenichel, 1994: Augustyn, et al 1995). A mother subjected to domestic violence may become preoccupied with safety and survival that she cannot be mindful of her child’s needs. She may become depressed or numb to the violence around her, so that she is unable to be empathetic toward her child. Others may become overprotective or, if extremely traumatized themselves, they may expect their children to protect them. Unfortunately, children raised by such parents may fail to develop the sense of basic trust and security that is the foundation of healthy emotional development which will be discussed in the next chapter (Osofsky, 1995).

In Kenya, confilcts over decisions about money and food are a source of violence within poor households (Oudenhoven & Wazir, 2006). In contexts where violence against women is permitted or condoned, it is always exacerbated as a result of unstable working conditions, unemployment, financial insecurity and the resulting difficulty of providing household necessities. Conflict intensifies in situations of acute poverty. The UN has recognised that conditions of underdevelopment, poverty, and poor housing produce stress that result in high levels of domestic violence (Connors, 1999). Violence is unacceptable, whether it is perpetrated in pursuit of wealth, on sporting field, in the schoolyard, or inside the family (Morris, 2008).

According to Marxist analysis, deteriorating economic conditions and decreased welfare support are responsible for undermining the family. However, evidence relating to family violence with economic factors is complicated (Miles & Stephenson, 2000). A study by Fuchs and Reglis (1992), suggests that when economic growth has slowed down, government expenditure on family welfare has risen, thereby mitigating to a degree at least, the economic impact on families. What is clear is that income generation cannot in itself be assumed to reduce violence. Not all men who are poor are violent and not all violent men are poor. Therefore, more research is needed to find out why increased economic hardship may lead in some instances, to great co-operation between household members and in others, to greater conflict and violence.

This section summarizes some of the similarities of the impact of domestic violence on children in the UK and Kenya. When talking about the impact of domestic violence on children, we are considering the effects on children living in a home where spousal abuse is occurring. Domestic violence within families continues over long periods, and its effects are likely to increase with severity and duration and can be devastating to children (Walby & Allen, 2004). There is a growing body of literature that has examined both the short and long term problems associated with children’s witnessing of domestic violence. Studies reveal that children who have lived in the context of domestic violence may have more ‘adjustment difficulties’ than children from non-violent homes. It has to be recognised that there is no uniform response to living with domestic violence. Children’s responses vary enormously with some children being affected far more than others, and children within the same family can be affected differently. It is, therefore, important to find out exactly what each child has experienced in order to gain some understanding of what the possible impact of these experience might be, rather than to think in terms of a simple checklist of indicators. Even so, it can be hard to discern the specific impact of living with domestic violence on children, especially as some of the resulting behaviours also occur in children experiencing other forms of abuse or neglect (Hester, 2000). Each child and each child’s experiences and reactions are unique. Review studies in both the UK and Kenya, report a series of childhood problems statistically associated with a child’s witnessing of domestic violence. These problems can be grouped into three main categories examining effects of recent witnessing.

1) Cognitive functioning and attitudes.

2) Behavioural and emotional functioning.

3) Physical functioning and a fourth category that examines long-term effects.

Each of these four categories are reviewed in more detail below.

Cognitive functioning and attitudes: A study by Westra and Martin (19991), have measured the association between cognitive development problems and witnessing domestic violence. Prolonged and/or regular exposure to domestic violence can have a serious impact on a children’s development and emotional well-being, despite the best efforts of the non-abusing parent to protect the child(ren). This can include seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of others. Children experiencing domestic violence are seen as children in need and a referral to Children’s Social Care must be considered (Jaffe et al, 1990).

Emotional and physical problems

Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioural disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self -esteem, sleep disorders (insomnia, nightmares, bedwetting), self blame and aggression against peer, family members and property (Peled at al, 1995). Many develop physical symptoms including frequent colds, headaches, or upset stomachs. In addition, a child may perform less well at school and become extremely protective or dependent of their mothers and worry about their own safety second or not at all (Bradley, 1994). The parent-child relationship roles are reversed as children assume the physical and emotional care of their parent and younger siblings.

All aspects of children’s lives are vulnerable. Their health and development may be negatively affected as parent’s capacity to meet basic needs is impaired. This is frequently exacerbated as domestic violence impact on family functioning, housing, income, and social intergration. Parents may experience difficulty in controlling their emotions and severe mood swings can frighten children and leave them feeling uncertain, anxious and over vigilant (Cleaver et al, 2008).

Children from homes with domestic violence, typically suffer guilt, feeling that something is wrong with them or that they are responsible for the violence. They also struggle with conflicting emotions and are often very confused about how they could love and hate a person at the same time (ref). These feelings of helplessness and confusion often lead children to attempt a copying strategy of denying that the violence is occurring. These children may be able to express their feelings only through play, art and writing. School-aged children are likely to understand more about the intentions behind an act of violence. School-aged children who witness domestic violence often show a greater frequency of externalizing (aggressive, delinquent) and internalizing (withdrawn, anxious) behaviour problems in comparison to children from nonviolent families (Ref).

Another aspect of the effects on children is their own use of violence. Social learning theory would suggest that Children who witness violence may also learn to use it Considerable evidence indicates that children who are exposed to domestic violence, are at much higher risk of becoming perpetrators and victims of violence (Bell, 1995). Imitation and modelling appear to play significant roles in this process.

Whenever a child’s behaviour raises anxiety of any kind, or where there are child protection concerns, it is important to bear in mind the possibility that the issue of domestic violence may be an important (and key) aspect of the context for the child. This may be particularly so for children who are presenting with emotional or behavioural difficulties (Hester et al, 2000).

Infants and Toddlers

Domestic violence episodes can begin or escalate during pregnancy. Domestic violence can pose a threat to an unborn child(ren), because assaults on pregnant women frequently involve punches or kicks directed to the abdomen, risking injury to both mother and unborn child(ren). Although very young children may be partially protected from exposure to a traumatic incident because they do not fully appreciate the potential danger (Drell et al, 1993; Pynoos, 1993), it is important that we do not ignore or de-emphasize their reactions to violence. Living with domestic violence can also directly affect Infants and toddlers, with negative developmental, social emotional and behavioural consequences, excessive irritability, immature behaviour, sleep disturbances, fears of being alone and regression in toileting and language (Buchanan, 2005). At a time of rapid neurological growth, an infant’s development may be compromised by exposure to ongoing violence, whether or not they are the target of the violence (Rossman, 2001).

“Exposure to trauma, especially family violence, interferes with a child’s normal development of trust and later exploratory behaviours, which lead to the development of autonomy. Erickson (1963), held that the development of trust is the initial step in forming healthy relationships. Trust develops early and is primarily contigent on the infant’s relationship with his or her care-giver. If this first psychosocial stage of trust building is successfully resolved, the infant will learn to trust others, which will then help with later relationship building. Mistrust in contrast, can result from a single trauma or from chronic environmental stress. If parents are emotionally unavailable, for instance, or are inconsistent, continually negative, or abusive, the infant or child may fail to develop basic trust (Egeland & Erickson, 1987). In light of this theoretical perspective, one must ask how growing up in a violent family may interfere with a child’s developing trust. For far too many children, those very relationships on which the development of trust and trusting relationships are built may be limited or changeable. Preschool children may develop enuresis and speech disfluencies such as stuttering.

Studies carried out in Kenya articulate that preschool and kindergarten, do not understand the meaning of the abuse they observe and tend to believe that they ‘must have done something wrong.’ Self-blame can precipitate feelings of guilt, worry, and anxiety. Young children do not have the ability to adequately express their feelings verbally. Consequently, the manifestation of these emotions is often behavioural. Children become withdrawn, non-verbal, and exhibit regressed behaviours such as clinging and whining.

School-aged children

As they grow, children in the UK who are exposed to violence may continue to show signs of problems. School-age children may have more trouble with school work, and show poor concentration and focus. They tend not to do well at school (UNICEF, 2006). Some studies suggest social development is also damaged. The aggression children have witnessed also affects their relationships with other children. As Bancroft and Silverman (2002) states, their perspective on relationships is so skewed that they have no idea how to share or cooperate and others lose their ability to feel empathy for others. Others feel socially isolated, unable to make friends as easily due to social discomfort or confusion over what is acceptable.

In Kenya, more than half of the school-age children in domestic violence shelters show clinical levels of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. These children are at risk for delinquency, substance abuse, school drop-out, and difficulties in their own relationships (Graham.

Whether in the UK or Kenya, witnessing domestic violence can interfere with a child’s healthy development. Children who witness violence early in life may view the world as unpredictable, possibly dangerous or chaotic. The basic attachment of the child to the adult is at risk. This early relationship development is profound and life-lasting (Ref) Dysfunctional-violent families where interparental abuse occurs, also tend to represent failures of secure attachment, and increased risk of direct physical and emotional abuse of the child (Geffner et al, 2000).


For adolescents, particularly those who have experienced violence exposure throughout their lives, high levels of aggression and acting out are common, accompanied by anxiety, behaviour problems, truancy, and revenge seeking. Although some adolescents who witness domestic violence may be able to overcome the experience, many others suffer considerable scars. Some report giving up hope, expecting that they may not live through adolescence or early childhood. They may become deadened to feelings and pain, with resultant constrictions in emotional development. Or they may attach themselves to peer groups and gangs as substitute family and incorporate violence as a method of dealing with disputes or frustration (Parson, 1994).

Literature from Kenya suggests that adolescents have greater ability to externalise negative emotions since they verbalize. They exhibit sleep problems, eating disturbances and nightmares. They also show a loss of interest in social activities, low self-concept, withdrawal or avoidance of peer relations, rebelliousness and oppositional-defiant behaviour in the school setting. It is also common to observe temper tantrums, irritability, frequent fighting at school or between siblings, lashing out at objects, treating pets cruelly or abusively, threatening of peers or siblings with violence. They seek to gain attention through hitting, kicking, or chocking peers and/or family members (Chebogut & Ngeno, 2010).

Long-Term effects

Living with domestic violence can take a lasting toll on children. Nationwide, it is estimated that between 3.3 million and 10 million children are at risk of witnessing domestic violence each year. The long term implications of childhood exposure to domestic violence are substantial. Children learn from witnessing violence in their homes, and what they learn may become precursors of later violent adolescent and adult behaviours. It is not just that the child sees aggression, it is that he or she is learning about “conditions under which aggression may be applied in intimate relationships” (Margolin, 1995: 34). Thus, children may come to view violence as an acceptable way, perhaps the only way to resolve conflicts and they may learn to rationalize the use of violence-they know nothing else.

Many researchers in Kenya have found a connection between witnessing violence in childhood and using violence as an adult. A study by Onyango and Kattambo (2001), showed that boys who had seen their fathers attack their mothers were three times as likely to become batterers as boys raised in non violent homes. In contrast, (ref) states that witnessing violence is not sex specific and that, children who witnessed either parent hitting the other became more violent regardless of their gender.

Moreover, the risk of domestic violence for women is nearly doubled if there are children present in the household (Krug et al, 2002). The impact of violence is also felt indirectly, as its effects compromise survivor’s ability to care for any children they may have. In addition to the constraining effect that violence may have on women’s livelihood strategies, research in Kenya suggest that the children of women who suffer domestic violence receive less food because men’s violence adversely affects women’s bargaining position in marriage (Rao & Bloch, 1993 cited in Heise, 1995a).

Similar with the UK, children of battered mothers in Kenya have high rates of emotional problems like depression and sometimes show delays in learning. Some researchers have attempted to isolate the particular cause of children’s behavioural and emotional difficulties (e.g. Jaffe et al, 1990) and conclude that the impact of witnessing the violence alone is sufficient to cause the children’s disturbances (Silvern & Kaersvang, 1989). While few would disagree that witnessing the assault of their mother is a very disturbing experience, it is important to address the entirety of children’s experiences and not focus on particular incidents of physical violence, which are often extreme. It is extremely important that recognition is made of the ongoing controlling behaviour that children and women are subjected to as part of their everyday life. This is particularly so when children may not, in fact, witness the direct physical assaults on their mother but will be very aware of other forms of abuse (Hanmer et al, 2000). Children must hear it re-affirmed that domestic violence is wrong. They have to see alternative role models in order to grow up with a positive idea o f the future. School-based programmes can reduce aggression and violence by helping children to develop positive attitudes and values, and a broader range of skills to avoid violent behaviour (UNICEF,2006).

Viewing domestic violence from a developmental perspective provides a context for recognising that the problems of family violence do not arise anew in adulthood but are the result of many factors that influence children’s and adolescents’ development. There are numerous potential lessons for children who grow up in families in which there is family violence. First, they may learn that it is acceptable to be abusive and that violence is an effective way to get what you want. Children may learn that violence is sometimes justified –particularly when you are angry at someone. They also learn about the traditional power imbalances between men and women (Beckett, 2007) Children who bully move through adolescence into adulthood, they will be at risk for committing other forms of abuse such as sexual harassment, family violence, child abuse. The psychological effects can be even more difficult to deal with than physical injury, partly because they are so hidden and therefore difficult to manifest.


A systems approach that focuses not only on the child but all the interlocking layers that link the child and society has offered a useful theoretical framework for understanding the effects of violence on children. This approach is also useful in informing us of the prevention and intervention strategies aimed at addressing the problem in this chapter (Osofsky, 1995). Children who are exposed to violence in the home are denied their right to a safe and stable home environment. Many are suffering silently with little support. Children who are exposed to violence in the home need trusted adults to turn to for help and comfort, and services that will help them to cope with their experiences. Far more must be done to protect these children and to prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place. Children must have places to go that are safe and supportive, whether it be with extended family or at a domestic violence shelter. Studies suggest that providing interventions to abused mothers can also have benefits to children, especially where these efforts take into account the specific needs of children. Children who are exposed to violence in the home need to know that things can change and that violence in the home can end. Children need hope for the future. Public education and awareness-raising campaigns on domestic violence should focus more on the impact on children and specific ways to address this hidden problem. Governments and other public institutions should speak out about the impact of violence in the home on children (UNICEF, 2006).

Domestic violence requires changing attitudes that permit such abuse, developing legal and policy framework to prohibit and reject it. Often, domestic violence is under-reported due to fear and feelings of shame. By its nature domestic violence is often hidden from public view, and opportunities for intervention depend largely on victims telling others about their experiences (Veneman, 2007). Domestic violence is a health, legal, economic, educational, developmental and human rights problem. Strategies should be designed to operate across a broad range of areas depending upon the context in which they are delivered (UNICEF, 2000).

In Kenya, individuals and community-level institutions can potentially play a crucial role in intervening to stop violent events. However, even when the commitment to support survivors is there, the ability of friends and relatives to do so will vary according to many factors, such as the proximity of parents and friends, and the legitimacy of offering assistance. Women who support their relatives or friends against violence may be faced with serious reprisals, including violence directed at them. Further, with the limited understanding of societal responses and the extent and nature of survivors needs, interventions are not well understood in Kenya, are sporadic and therefore often un-coordinated (Maternowska et. al 2009)

In the last few years, many positive steps have been taken to combat domestic violence. Government aid, legal reforms, shelters for battered women, women’s rights organisations, empowerment programmes for women and awareness training for police officers, medical professionals and judges, are examples of these positive steps. Compared to the status of the fight to eliminate domestic violence just ten years ago, great strides have been made. Unfortunately, due to the tremendous amount of work that still exists, those positive steps have sometimes been overlooked (Subrata, 1999).

Government Aid

An obvious result of the lack of resources in Kenya is an inability to afford the kinds of extensive services now available to domestic violence in United Kingdom. Given that shelters are expensive, NGO’s in Kenya are hard-pressed to provide shelter for victims, and focus instead on providing legal advice and psychological and social support (UNICEF, 2000). However, psychological services are rarely available, and where they are, they are beyond the means of most women. Also, high levels of unemployment make it difficult for a woman to leave her husband and support herself outside the home. (Bowman, 2003). Ensuring adequate protection for women and children from ill-treatment and other abuses remains a challenge in Kenya. For that reason, the Government should take concrete steps to address human rights violations concerning women and children, and to protect them from all forms of violence. Furthermore, the Government should also commit to training both the police and the judiciary on women’s and children’s human rights and insist that violence against women and children is unacceptable (Annabel, 2004).

The police, in an effort to crack down on sexual and domestic violence against women and children, converted one of the city’s oldest police stations, Kilimani, into an all-female station in 2004, exclusively handling cases of sexual assault on women and girls. The idea is to have the station manned by female police officers with special training in dealing with gender based violence.

Legal reforms

Many activists in Africa have tended to focus on obtaining remedies from the state, most notably, legal reform. But African states are often without the resources to implement many of these reforms if they are passed, the capacity to reinforce its provisions may not exist-there are simply not enough police, nor are they well enough trained or paid to carry out the law. Many of these remedies described are infact very costly and may be beyond the means of a country such as Kenya that has suffered from unfavourable terms of trade, the effects of Structural Adjustments Programs imposed by the World Bank and corruption (Bowman, 2003)

All individuals who come into contact with children, including those working in day-care centres, schools, law enforcement agencies, and parenting education groups, should be well-informed about all aspects of domestic and other violence exposure and children, from its precursors to its detection and treatment, and also be versed in alternative conflict resolution strategies (Osofsky, 1995).

Working with perpetrators

Groupwork with the perpetrators of domestic violence also remains in short supply in the UK, although it is spreading-undertaken most often by the probation service or in the voluntary sector and typically based on cognitive behavioural techniques. It can certainly form one part of an active response to domestic violence, requiring abusive men to take responsibility for their own behaviour and attitudes, although completion rates are low and evaluation to date equivocal (Mullender & Burton, 2000). Men’s programmes need long-term monitoring, with feedback from partners to ensure that men are not simply using more subtle abuse tactics or claiming to have changed in order to preserve their relationships. In order to be successful, groups need to be based on clear recognition of domestic violence as an endemic crime. Anger management, for example, is not an appropriate response because men who abuse women are not out of control-they choose the time, place and victim.

Anti-discriminatory practice

Hague et al (1996) found that many forums had not begun to deal with issues of diversity concerning race, religion, sexuality and class. There were examples however, of some forums beginning to address such issues, especially in relation to race, racism and disability, and of attempts being made to integrate these into the practice of inter-agency work. The main focus of this, however, would appear to relate to women rather than there being any specific consideration of the needs of children. Such anti-discriminatory practice include: developing projects for specific groups of women and children. It is important in multi-agency work to promote anti-discriminatory practice and address equal opportunity issues. This will include a recognition of the relative power positions of the different agencies involved, and active involvement of Women’s Aid and other community based groups, including those from ethnic minorities.


After clearly demonstrating to the author the nature and context of domestic violence both in Kenya and United Kingdom, I reach a number of conclusions. This literature has attempted to expand common definitions of how children witness adult domestic violence by showing how children not only see violence but also hear it occurring, are used as part of it, and experience the its aftermath. It has brought to light that domestic violence is a global epidemic that kills, tortures, and maims-physically, psychologically, sexually and economically. It is one of the pervasive of human rights violations, denying women and children equality, security, dignity, self-worth, and their right to enjoy fundamental freedoms. The article has also attempted to convey a sense of the contributing factors of domestic violence. Primary attention has been given to reviewing the complex effects on children. The complexity involves not just problems associated with exposure to violence but also various mediating factors and coping strategies that children utilize (LOOK BACK IN THE LITERATURE)

Domestic violence is tantamount to a societal plague that victimizes thousands of women and children and, to a lesser degree, men. This paper has demonstrated the violent nature of the Kenyan society as well as the serious nature of the problem. It is here suggested that poverty reduction as well as legislation such as a Children’ Act and Domestic violence Act may be some ways of addressing the traumas experienced by Kenyan women and children. Public education and other measures of achieving attitudinal change as well as police training might be useful additional ways of addressing the problem. Much of the work to be done simply continues and expands upon what is already being done by activists and NGOs in Kenya. However, an infusion of governmental or international funds is critical in order to carry out many of the more ambitious projects, such as widespread educational campaigns, training of police officers, establishment of shelters offering multiple services ‘including therapy’ to women and their children, and dedication of resources to prosecution of crimes of violence against intimates.


Free Essays

Social Scientist; Methodological Essay/ Dissertation Proposal: “Understanding Violence and Criminal Violence.


The subject of violence is often associated with an attack on someone whom we as people in a society either deems deserving or undeserving, but the outcome makes an impact on society (Riedel and Weir, 2001:1). For example; the young man in the wrong place at the wrong time, who was “violently” attacked for no reason by a stranger, and is now on a life support machine or the “violent” demonstration outside a paedophiles house where the accused was attacked by his neighbours, these are some of the images was associate with violence. However, on further examination of this topic, writers suggest that, violence takes many forms. As Guggisberg and Weir (2009) suggest, the term violence is used in many different contexts, it takes many different forms either covertly or overtly and is very much subject to condemnation or approval by the society or culture in which it is happening (Guggisberg & Weir, 2009).

As the examination of understanding violence continues, the focus must start with how violence has been defined by theorists over the years, as the it will become evident there has been mixed responses on how exactly to define violence.

Collins Dictionary (2006) defines violence as ‘(1): use of physical force, usually intended to cause injury or deconstruction. (2): Great force or strength in action, feeling or expression’ (Collins, 2006:882).

Whereas, Riedel and Welsh (2001) found defining violence particularly hard, therefore, they have suggested that the closest definition of violence came from Weiner, Zahn and Sagi, (Riedel and Welsh 2001:1). This definition suggests that, “The threat or attempt, or use of physical force by one or more person’s that result in physical or non-physical harm to one or more person’s” (Riedel and Welsh 2001:1). Lecturer of Law and Barrister, Stephen Jones (2001), author of Understanding Violence also goes as far as to suggest that ‘violence does not have a standard fixed definition’ (Jones, 2001:3). Marc Riedel and Wayne Welsh are of the same opinion as Jones, and go as far as to say this is due to the there being various kinds of violence.

Edwin Megargee (1982) suggests that the term violence ‘Is reserved for the more extreme forms of aggression or aggressive behaviours that are likely to cause significant injuries to a victim. Although violence is typically attributed to, physical aggression, it can be applied to psychological stress that causes suffering and trauma’ (Megargee, 1982:85). The U.S National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence: (NCCPV) limited their definition to ‘Behaviour by persons against persons that intentionally threatens, attempts, or actually inflicts physical harm’ (Megargee, 1982).

These definitions highlight only a small sample of the ones examined and they all have the same main emphasis, that the element of physical force whether it actually causes physical harm or not, is enough to be labelled violent. However, Megargee (1982) and Collins (2006), also consider the issue of psychological harm in their definitions. This psychological violence is considered a type of non-physical violence and this is associated with persistent negative attributions to others, particularly those close to the speaker. An example of this would be the controlling husband, who hands very little money in for housekeeping them complains and berates his wife, for the food quality served by her (Riedel and Weir, 2001:2).

Going back to Guggisberg and Weir (2009), they put forward the idea that violence is omnipresent, that it is everywhere in society and that what is defined as violence is actually determined by the society and cultures we live within, they also open up the idea of what is ‘reasonable force’ and when is it suitable to use this force They continue by suggesting that suitable force used in one country or culture may not be an acceptable means in another (Guggisberg and Weir, 2009:1). Riedel and Welsh (2001) also explore the area of reasonable force however they do go as far as to associate it with social activities. An example of this would sports violence, which is not only legal but acceptable, examples of this would be professional fighting, like Cage fighting, where the opponents fight each other in the ring, however if this fighting where on the street or ‘underground fighting’ then this would be deemed violence and would be illegal to most cultures. However, there would be a subculture group who would still find this an acceptable activity, but the mainstream culture would not (Riedel and Welsh, 2001:2).

As violence has such a large scope, this paper will now turn attention to Understanding Criminal Violence. Now that the definitions of violence have been established, the following section will look at explanations of criminal violence for the Biological, Psychological and Sociological Perspectives.

When does violence become criminal?

Criminal violence Megargee (1982) argues is a subcategory, of the sub category of violence. He carries on to argue that violence can be further subdivided as “angry and instumental”.

Angry has the injury of the target as its primary objective, and is further reinforced by the suffering of the victim. On the other hand Instrumental violence ‘is extreme aggression employed in some other end’(Megargee, 1982:86).

Culture, society and law, deem certain acts as illegal and criminal violence is reserved for acts that involve realtively serious physical or psychological injury or property destruction.

Every country has a Criminal Justice System with their own categories of crime, and some countries will have different laws and opinions on what violent crime is.

An instance of this would be female mutilation, in the UK

In the United Kingdom, violent crime is currenty divided into Three main categories, which are; Violence against the person; Sexual Offences and Robbery. Althought this may appear to seem a rather small number of categories, the scope of these categories is rather large. An exampple of this is the category of violence against the person; this include, homicide, threats/conspiracy to murder; moreserious wounding and other offences, however there was an a change to what was deemed violent crime in 1998, and this saw the inclusion of common assualt and assualt against a constable.Althought classified violent crime, some of these crimes will result in no injury but may have serious psychological effect on the target. The introduction of these new offences have helped raise the number of recorded violent offences by 250,000 by 1999 ( Thorpe and Robb, 2006 as cited in Maguire et al, 2006:693).

Biological Explanation’s for Criminal Violence

As this part of the paper will be looking at explain why people may be subject to participating in violent acts more than others would do. One explanation put forward is under the Biological and Genetic perspective of Violence. The contention here is that people may have a predisposition to violent or aggressive behavior, due to no fault of their own. Much of the literature surrounding this topic indicates that, people often have a predisposition or a weakness for violent behavior due to defects in the brain, genetics, gender and hormones. Jasmine Tehrani and Sarnoff Mednick (2000), indicate that there is often a confusion between ‘biological’ and ‘genetic’ terminology, mainly because they overlap in what is being discussed. However, each of these have their own inclusive factors such as the biological theories lie in the psycho-physiological, physiological, biochemical, neurological and genetics relationships to violent crime. The genetic factors theory lies in traits, inherited by the individual from their parents.

There is various discussion on the etiology of criminal behavior in particular those which are of a violent/ aggressive or nature.This has lead to various forms of research, which includes the study of, Twins and adoption, this particular research looks at the genetic influences on criminal behaviour. In the case of violent offenders Tehrani and Mednick (2000), examine the study and suggest that the evidence is not as clear as first thought. Tehrani and Mednick suggest that there is more evidence to support that violent behaviour is not hereditary but violence is a consequence of the individual having genetically inherited mental illness or alcoholism (Tehrani and Mednick, 2000).

Further research into violent crime and offenders has come from Adrian Raine (1995). Who carried out brain imaging research, which appears to have revealed a new relationship between the individual and their predisposition to violence and why they participate in violent offending.

Adrian Raine’s research in 1995 on brain functioning and genetic composition concluded with a groundbreaking hypothesis and this still hold particular interest of the many writers on the subject of biological predispositions to violent crime/behaviour. These results showed that there was a difference in the way that the violent criminal’s brains responded compared to that of a control group. He found this by comparing 22 murderers to 22 carefully matched control subjects the researchers found that the murderers had much lower levels of glucose uptake in the prefrontal cortex. Raine further explains his research as having found that ‘Damage to this brain region, can result in impulsivity, loss of self-control, immaturity, altered emotionality, and the inability to modify behaviour, which can all in turn facilitate aggressive acts. Other abnormalities seen in the murderers included reduced glucose metabolism in the superior parietal gyrus, left angular gyrus, and the corpus callosum, and abnormal asymmetries of activity in the amygdala, thalamus, and medial temporal lobe’. Defects of these brain areas, the researchers say, have been associated with violence or to cognitive defects associated with criminality (Raine, 1997:495-508).

The hypothesis that biological factors have a place in understanding that individuals have a predisposition to having violent tendencies, appears to be not only to cover a vast array of topics but also it appears to hold some weight. Positive links have been found through research by such people as Raine (1997) and other studies have been refuted to a degree, as the Tehranio and Mednick (2000) suggest in regards to the twins and adoption research.

Psychological Hypothesis of Violent Crime

Literature on this particular subject is vast and varied and again there are many hypotheses that have to be considered when looking at the psychopathology of a person and their behaviour, particularly violent behaviour. These views and hypotheses refer to people as having predispositions to certain types of behaviour and that how those behaviours may arise from personality characteristics, biological issues and social interactions.

Sigmund Freud (1861), founder of the Psychoanalytical Theory, hypothesized that the most common element that contributed to criminal behaviour was the faulty identification by a child with their parents. Freud (1861), argue that early socialisation is important and if this process is twisted or warped in anyway then the child may develop a disturbed personality. Freud (1861) advocates that depending on how the child projects their antisocial impulses; either internally or externally, would determine whether the child would become neurotic or a criminal (Freud, 1861).

Larry Siegel (2009) examines research by Barbara Otnow Lewis on children who kill. Lewis suggests that theses children may suffer from the effects of having multiple psychological abnormalities such as neurological impairment, low intelligence, and psychotic problems such as paranoia, illogical thinking and hallucinations. Although, Siegel (2009) does go on to remind us that Lewis’ research is not unique, and that other types of research have found correlations between abnormal personalities such as dishonesty, aggression, depression pathological lying borderline personality syndrome and psychopathology and various forms of violent behaviour.

James W. Kalat (2008) examines the frustration-aggression hypothesis, which was discussed in (Dollard et al:1939), which looks at the main cause of anger and aggression and that is frustration. Frustration explains Kalat (2008), is ‘an obstacle that stands in the way of doing something or obtaining some expected reinforcer’ (Kalat, 2008). Kalat (2008) discusses this further and suggests that frustration makes a person angry and only when you actually believe this person has done something to you intentionally. For example a person bumps into you in the pub and spills a drink over you. You would be angry and frustrated and therefore you would believe that they had intended to do what was actually an accident.

Leonard Berokowitz (1983), takes this a stage further and offers a more in depth theory where he suggests the fight or flight impulse. Here the similarity lies with that of frustration-aggression theory, however, for Berkowitz the person with be faced with an unpleasant frustration and the will trigger the sympathetic nervous system into fight or flight mode. He suggests that if you are in the scenario above, and you think that you can take on the person without any harm coming to you then you may decide to attack the person, however if you feel that you will come off the worst you may just decide to leave it. What Berkowitz (1983), was suggesting was that you choose how you react and your choice is dependent on the circumstances.

When looking at the psychological hypothesis for criminal acts of violence, the literature informs us that there is usually some form of personality or psychological disorder. The idea here is that the person who committed the crime has developed a corrupt or defective personality, which is based on conflict, impulsiveness and aggression. This person will also have no ability to show empathy, remorse or guilt for their actions, they also have no sense of right or wrong. The childhood for the psychological perspective is relevant, as they believe that the problems caused there will cause deviant behaviour later in life. However, the literature does not suggest that the problem lies with the violent reactions, they are just that reactions, the problem does however, lie within the mental illness.

Sociological Hypothesis of Violent Crime

The sociological approach looks to the individual’s environment in an attempt to understand why the person behaves in the way that they do.

Sociologists have adopted the behaviourist theory of Albert Bandura (1977). This theory is The Social Learning Theory, where Bandura (1977), suggests that aggression and violence is actually learned through the process of behaviour modelling (Bandura, 1977). Bandura rejected the idea that people inherited violence or aggression tendencies, and he showed through his research that violence is in fact learned.

Bandura (1977), argued that people particularly children, can and will learn violent behaviour form their peers, media and the environment that they live in. His research came for the Bobo Doll experiment, where he showed half his sample group adults being violent to a Bobo Doll, and the other half the adult being nice to the doll. The half that were exposed to the violence towards the doll, then went on to display the same violent behaviour to the same doll, whereas, the other group reacted positively to the doll. This claimed Bandura showed that a child has the ability to model behaviour if they receive the right reinforcement. The reinforcement in this particular case was not punishment for being violent or misbehaving.

Reinforcement for Bandura is a key issue in violence or aggressive behaviour. When looked at the issues of media violence, Bandura believed that if a young person were to watch a violent film, where the “Hero” used a gun and the young person saw that the “Hero” was getting some gain, like money or a girl or adoration, then in theory the young person would know how to use a gun. This would happen through observational learning, and that young person would know how to hold a gun and what to do to shot someone, however they may not fully understand the consequences, but they would be capable of re-enacting the scene.

Many sociologists have expanded Bandura’s theory to suit their own views such as Edwin Sutherland (1939), whose theory was Differential Association, argued that individuals learn motives for criminal behaviour, values, attitudes and techniques, when they are young for their peer groups (Sutherland 1939:25). This indicates like Bandura (1977), that people can learn anything, from motivation to commit the offence through to actually committing the offence. Sutherland (1939), argues that people lives are defines by their own personal experiences, and use these experiences to frame their future actions.

Both of these contentions appear to suggest that violence breeds violence, in other words what an individual is exposed to in their early years; such as violent reaction, may result in that individual responding the same way.

Although this paper has looked at the sociological theory from learning behaviours, attitudes and values, it does not however ignore other theorist such as Albert Cohen’s 1995 Sub-Culture Theory of Delinquent Gangs and other theorists. It has been highlighted however, to show there was a common thread of thought that behaviour could be learned.

Through this paper there has been an examination of how best to understand violence and in particular criminal violence. The paper has discussed the definition of violence, what turns violence into a criminal matter, and what crimes are deemed violent. Then the focus turns to Biological, Psychological and Sociological perspectives of understanding why people act in an aggressive or violent manner. The explanations are vast and varied like the Biological hypothesis such as predispositions to violent behaviour, due to mental illness or antisocial personality disorder, genetics etc. Psychological hypothesis such as, how they deal with aggression or violence psychologically, through frustration-aggression hypothesis or the fight or flight theory and the Sociological hypothesis of learning the behaviour, values and motives form peer groups.

Fourth Year Dissertation Research Project: “Prison Based Violence”

The following part of this paper shall look at further research I am interested in following up in my dissertation year. The particular topic I will be following up is “Violence in Prison’s”. I wish to look further into how many people are caught up in prison violence, how often it occurs, why it occurs and what their reactions are to their experience of prison violence. I would like to carry out a survey of prisoners, using a semi structures questionnaire. The reason for this is that I feel it would make more sense to ask both open and closed question, as I feel this would allow me to access qualitative data, in regards to trends and patterns and it would also give a better chance of the person revealing information that I may not have looked at.

Sample Size

I would conduct my research with approx 50 prisoners. There would be no limitations, on who was included in the research, as this would help to make it random. A voluntary sample would in my opinion be the best way of forming a sample group.

I understand that there are both strengths and weaknesses to this form of research and these are:


The questionnaire would be used to accumulate the required data quickly.

The participants have the chance to give their points of view.

Full confidentiality for the respondent, therefore they can answer honestly without fear of reprisal.

The questionnaire would be only around 20 questions.


Risk of questions being interpreted differently by each respondent.

If I was using a large sample group then, I may have difficulty processing all the information.

It may be difficult to access willing participants.


These are the assumptions I would have to make if I was given access to complete this questionnaire.

Prisoner has access to pen or pencil.

Prisoner can read and write.

Prisoner has mental capability to understand the questions posed.

That the prisoner is being honest and not exaggerating

That the prison staff would be willing participants, in helping me, by collecting the questionnaires in for me to collect.

In addition to this research questionnaire, I would also do library-based research, where I would look at specific material such as, recorded prison violence statistics, theories on prison violence and how violence in prison is dealt with.

I feel that other than gaining access through the questionnaire, there should be not ethical issues that would prevent me doing this research.


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Kalat, J. W. (2008). Intoduction to Psychology. California: Thomson Wadsworth.

Megargee, E. (1982). Psychological Determinants and Correlates of Criminal Violence. In M. E. Wolfgang, & N. A. Weiner (Eds.), Criminal Violence (pp. 82-86). California: Sage.

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Raine, A. Buchsbaum, M and LaCasse L, Biological Psychiatry: Brain abnormalities in murderers indicated by positron emission tomography”, Vol. 42, 1997, pp. 495-508.

Riedel, M., & Welsh, W. (2001). Criminal Violence: patterns, causes and prevention.

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Wolfgang, M., & Ferracuti, F. (2001). The Subculture of Violence. London: Routeledge.

Jasmine Tehrani and Sarnoff Mednick 2000: Crime Causation: Biological Theories – Genetic Epidemiological Studies, Gene-environment Interactions, Sex Differences In Genetic Liability To Criminality, Is There A Genetic Liability To Violence Accessed on 28th March 2010: 21.00pm. :

Audrey Gillan, (2000), news article on Tony Martin, accessed on 27th March 20011:05.17am

Free Essays

The legal response to domestic violence


This dissertation examines the legal response to domestic violence, which, over the years has been subject to a variety of different terminology ranging from ‘wife battering’ (Pizzey, 1974; Walker, 1979) to ‘intimate partner violence’.

Paying particular attention to the police, up until the early 1980’s some researchers described their general response and attitude towards incidents of domestic violence as being ‘dismissive and derogatory’ (Bourlet, 1990; Dobash and Dobash, 1980; Hanmer and Saunders, 1984; Edwards, 1989) and that, according to David Cheal (1991), the police perceive the family to be a private sphere to which ‘access to it by the state should be limited’.

However, from the mid-1980’s it was recognised that there was a need for change not just in the police response, but the legal response as a whole and the Home Office began publishing papers on how domestic violence incidents should be tackled by the criminal justice system. Not only did this raise awareness of the issue but it also enabled different organisations, both statutory and voluntary, to work together which was part of the Home Office’s inter-agency initiative in 1995. More recently, there have been a number of statutes put in place that can further aid the police in their response to domestic violence and more importantly they enable them to treat incidents within the family between spouses as they would incidents that happen on the street between strangers.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Domestic violence has long been a problem amongst society, but until the 1980’s the agencies responsible for protecting victims of crime paid little or no attention to the issue itself, in particular the police showed reluctance to investigate and prosecute as they believed that ‘the family is a private sphere so access to it by the state should be limited’ (Cheal, 1991). However, it would be inaccurate to think that domestic violence is no longer a problem in society today and according to the 2009/10 British Crime Survey (BCS) seven percent of females compared to four percent of males aged between 16 and 59 are currently victims of domestic violence (Flatley et al., 2010). Statistics also show that between July and September 2009 there was a five percent increase in sexual offences which is in comparison to the same period of the previous year (Home Office, 2009).

According to Walby and Allen, (2004) the British Crime Survey (BCS) estimated that a staggering 12.9 million domestic violence incidents against women and 2.5 million incidents against men happened in England and Wales in 2003 with 45 percent of women and 26 percent of men experiencing at least one incident of interpersonal violence in their lifetime. From this, it is therefore questionable whether or not domestic violence is regarded as being either legally or socially acceptable, as many researchers have found, from their research, that the criminal justice system appear to be ‘covertly tolerant’ (Berk et al., 1980) of the issue when really the offences committed in violent relationships are no different to that of an offence against the person. As a result of this alleged blase approach by the police to incidents of domestic violence, Smith (1989) found that victims of domestic violence only made contact with the emergency services as a last resort and on average suffer 35 attacks before making the vital call to the police (Jaffe, 1982) which in effect goes against what the police as an agency stand for, that is, they are an emergency service and should act promptly and provide an effective service and not leave victims of domestic violence with very little faith in their work.

However, according to Stanko (2000) even though only a small minority of victims report domestic violence to the police, with figures showing around 40 percent actually being reported to the police (Dodd et al, 2004; Walby and Allen, 2004; Home Office, 2002), they still on average receive one phone call every minute regarding domestic violence incidents in the UK amounting to an average influx of 1,300 calls a day or 570,000 calls per year.

The next chapter to follow is the literature review in which the definition and ranges of terminology will be explored from past to present as to demonstrate the changes that have taken place throughout the years along with the apparent lack of coherence that have caused many researchers great difficulty when researching this particular area. The literature review will then continue to look at the police response to domestic violence from a historical perspective, namely pre-1980, and then move onto a more recent perspective from the 1980’s onwards as a comparative.

Whilst the police response is of great importance to this dissertation, it is not solely directed at one single agency and the literature review will go on critically analyse the legislation, both civil and criminal, currently in place and legislation that was previously used to give an over view of the legal response as a whole and how it has changed alongside the changes in the police response.

The final part of the literature review will look at rates of reporting and non-reporting of incidents to the police and examine whether or not there has been an increase of reported incidents since new legislation has been introduced and changes in police practices have happened or if there is still a reluctance by the victims to report it that has been evident in previous times.

Chapter 2: Definition of ‘domestic abuse’ and a history of the police response.

2.1 Definition

Over the years there have been a number of terms, ranging from ‘wife battering’ (Pizzey, 1974; Walker, 1979) to ‘intimate partner violence’, which have been used to describe what is most commonly known as ‘domestic violence’. One common issue that many researchers in the field have found is that of the definition and its lack of coherence between the writers of the issue, the Government and also the members of the public, who may merely use phrases such as ‘wife battering’ without fully appreciating the nature of the issue and the harm it can cause.

In order to tackle this lack of coherence the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) set out an official definition of domestic violence which defines it as being “any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality”. (Home Office, 2010)

This definition given by the Home Office has been expanded since the previous definition (Circular 19/2000), which vaguely described domestic violence as ‘any violence between current or former partners in an intimate relationship wherever and whenever it occurs’, and is now seen to further highlight the violence that can happen between family members who are 18 years of age and over and also includes various types of abuse that can also take place (e.g. financial, emotional etc.) as opposed to just being concerned with the physical violence.

Previous to this updated definition, ‘domestic violence’ was recognised as the most commonly used phrase and the term of choice amongst researchers in the area (Smith, 1989) despite having a ‘far from uncritical reception’ (Mullender, 1996). Kashani and Allen (1998) commented upon this and stated that due to the sheer complexity of the issue, in terms of its elements (i.e. financial, emotional, psychological), that it would be unfair and unjust to solely regard it as an issue of ‘violence’ and so the term ‘abuse’ came about and has since made awareness of the fact that the issue isn’t just concerned with physical violence but also other aspects that aren’t considered to be violent, per se.

2.2 Police Response to Domestic Violence Pre-1980

Domestic violence is by no means a ‘new’ crime. Even dating back to the twelfth century domestic violence was prevalent, as church law stated in 1140 that ‘women were subject to their men’ and ‘needed to be corrected through castigation or punishment’. (Dutton, 1995 in Melton, 1999). The males have long been seen as having the power in the family and according to the Napoleonic Civil Code in 1804, ‘violence was only grounds for a divorce for a woman if the courts decided that it amounted to attempted murder’ (Dutton, 1995). English common law even allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no bigger than the width of their thumb, giving the term ‘rule of thumb’, and was said to be ‘uncivilised’ if the stick exceeded the rule (Brown, 1984). Given this, domestic violence wasn’t perceived to be a problem for the police as the laws in place actually condoned violence by men against women and only placed limitations as to how far the men could beat their wives, to which any further was only classed as being inappropriate, not criminal or punishable.

More recently in the twentieth century, the police response to allegations of domestic violence has faced much criticism for their so-called ‘dismissive and derogatory way’ in which they have dealt with cases reported to them (Bourlet, 1990; Dobash and Dobash, 1980; Hanmer and Saunders, 1984; Edwards, 1989 also recognised by Women’s Aid). Buzawa (1990) describes the traditional response to domestic violence by the police as having an ‘overriding goal to extricate them from the dangerous and unpleasant duty with as little cost as possible and to re-involve themselves with real police work’. Berk (1980) went as far as saying that the criminal justice system show, through their policies and attitudes, a ‘covert toleration’ of domestic violence and further condone ‘rights of men to exercise their authority’ (Berk et al., 1980).

Research by Smith (1989) suggested four main reasons as to why the police may have displayed this ‘dismissive and derogatory’ behaviour in their response and presented an unsympathetic attitude towards the victim. The first reason was that there were concerns surrounding the officers’ safety and research suggested that around 33% of all assaults against police officers happened whilst attending domestic incidents. Secondly, Smith suggested that the police didn’t regard it as ‘real police work’ and was often perceived to be ‘trivial’ with one Metropolitan police officer being quoted as stating that domestic disputes might be categorised alongside ‘stranded people, lost property and stray animals’ (Times, 4 October 1983). Thirdly, the police didn’t regard domestic violence incidents as ‘criminal’ as it happens within the family unit and they see this as more of private matter to which ‘access to it by the state should be limited’ (Cheal, 1991). Margaret Borkowski also stated in her book Marital Violence that the police thought that an arrest by them and a possible prosecution ‘may sometimes be unhelpful and may exacerbate strained marital and family relationships’. Finally, there was the view held that victims would be reluctant to cooperate and would eventually withdraw their allegations and drop the charges in due course.

Stanko (1985) challenged these views held by the police and argued that the way in which the police responded to the female victims amounted to ‘secondary victimisation’. This idea of secondary victimisation was particularly evident in the findings of Katz and Mazur (1979) and Chambers and Miller (1983) which showed that women who did report domestic violence attacks to the police in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s had their ‘character and morality questioned in such a way as to imply some responsibility for their victimisation’.

Likewise, Chambers and Miller (1987), from their research, presented a variety of ways in which the prosecution was found to use various ‘tactics’ to imply that ‘women complainants were somehow to blame for their victimisation and to throw doubt on the credibility of the case’. With reference to Adler (1987) ‘All but the most transparently flawless victim was liable to be bullied by interrogators and prosecutors, exposing her to a form of secondary victimisation’.

This resulted in what Smith (1989) called the ‘don’t variety’ in which women were told ‘not to get upset, not to get things out of proportion, not to go out alone, not to go out at night, to avoid “dangerous areas”, not to put themselves at risk’ (Benn and Worpole, 1985 quoted in Walklate, 2004). This however was heavily criticised as it placed restrictions on the women’s sense of freedom and that anyone who failed to take notice of this advice should be at fault if she got attacked, as it was regarded as though she was being negligent and had brought it on herself.

2.3 Police Response to Domestic Violence Post-1980

From the mid-1980’s onwards the Home Office accepted that there was a need for change in police practices regarding domestic violence and rape. In 1983, the Home Office published a circular (Home Office, 1983) giving advice on how investigations should be conducted, the timing and conduct of medical examinations, the number of officers involved and, where possible, the importance of having female officers involved, as Chambers and Miller (1983) had found from research, conducted by the Scottish Office, that there was a widespread ‘lack of sympathy and tact by CID officers and un-uniformed policewomen’.

With regards to police responses, a further circular published by the Home Office in 1986 (Home Office, 1986) gave more suggestions of effective working practices when dealing with domestic violence incidents and made it clear that it was of paramount importance to ensure and maintain the safety of the victim and also any children within the home. However, it was argued by Bourlet (1990) that in order for these suggestions to be effective then they must be adopted by the police within their policies and ‘translate directly into practice’ (Grace, 1995) in the fight against domestic violence. This was supportive of Edwards (1989) earlier argument that ‘police did not take seriously their response to crimes between intimates’.

Changes in response finally came about with a circular to chief constables in 1990 (Home Office, 1990) with the aim of it being to urge the police to develop explicit force policies and develop specialist domestic violence units in all 43 forces. A number of central features were highlighted in the 1990 circular, that is, it was to impose an overriding duty to protect victims and any children by the police, to treat domestic violence as seriously as other forms of violence, as it was argued by Pahl (1985) that ‘police action differs between similar acts of violence, depending on whether they occur in the home or on the street’. The circular also put across the value of powers of arrest and made it clear that they should be exercised in these circumstances, it also reiterated the dangers of conciliation between the victim and the offender, the importance of effective recording and monitoring systems and also put forward the consideration to the police of pursuing a case, even if the victim had withdrew her support, as Hoyle (1998) found, along with many others previously, that victims of domestic violence were either very reluctant to make statements or completely withdrew them quite soon after making them, sometimes even before the offender was charged, so by the introduction, by the Home Office circular, of pursuing a case despite the victim withdrawing their statement enabled them to break the so-called cycle of the police ‘leaving the ball in the victims court’ (Hoyle, 1998).

However, Dobash and Dobash (1992) argued that this change in police response articulated by the 1990 Home Office circular was one that ‘showed no sign of lasting improvement’ and that the police continued to adopt an approach that reflected ‘minimum involvement and disengagement’ based on their findings from their report in 1990 on an Assistant Chief Constable and police policies in South Wales.

A later publication by the Home Office in 1995 (Home Office, 1995) encouraged the idea of inter-agency, or multi-agency approaches to domestic violence and has since then grown in popularity with the underlying idea that by different agencies, both statutory and voluntary, working together they can produce an effective approach by sharing their resources and the information that they have to provide a ‘seamless and consistent service’ (Hague, 1998).

In 1999, the Home Office published the paper ‘Living without fear: An integrated approach to tackling violence against women’ (Home Office, 1999) which replaced their previous circular published in 1995. Within the paper, the Government gave recognition to the fact that violence against women was a ‘serious problem, with serious consequences’ (Harman, 2008), but also highlighted that there was some help for victims in certain areas, despite not being what Harriet Harman described as ‘comprehensive, consistent or easy to access’ in her 2008 paper ‘Tackling violence against women: A cross-government narrative’. However, for the majority, this help simply didn’t exist at all.

Harriet Harmen, former Minister for Women and Equality, in the 2008 Government paper summarised and re-stated the main problems taken from the 1999 Home Office publication that the Government needed to tackle. That is, they needed to ensure that ‘violence against women was taken seriously by the Criminal Justice System, making it less of an ordeal for victims to testify in court and tackling the problems associated with securing convictions’. The issue of ‘addressing personal safety issues, including issues over housing; and protecting the children of victims of domestic abuse’ was also raised and finally they needed to ensure that ‘the Government acted in a ‘joined-up’ way to tackle violence against women’ and create a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach against it.

Of late, the Home Office (2000a) 19/2000 Circular ‘Domestic violence’ which introduced the presumption of arrest where it was possible to do so, gave great emphasis on showing how local police forces deal with incidents of domestic violence based on their policies on how such incidents should be policed.

A further Home Office paper ‘Domestic Violence: Breaking the chain, multi-agency guidance for addressing domestic violence’ (2000b) aimed to raise the awareness amongst all of the different agencies concerned with tackling domestic violence. Particularly, with regards to the Police, it was stated that ‘tackling domestic violence should be an integral part of their work’. It was also noted in the same publication that the Government, according to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, expects that the crime and disorder audits carried out identify the ‘local level of domestic violence and for the Police to work with its partners to develop a strategy to address it as part of their overall crime reduction strategy’.

Chapter 3: Feminism

For Feminists, the law has long been regarded as being made for men and being made in the interests of men and throughout history there has been what Sachs and Wilson (1978) describe as a ‘male monopoly of law’ whereby the woman is perceived as being ‘inessential’ (De Beauvoir, 1949).

Radical feminists perceive the family and marriage as the key institutions of oppression in society as the males appear to dominate the women through domestic abuse or by merely threatening the act, because of this, Millet (1970) and Firestone (1970) go on to argue that all societies have been founded on patriarchy and they see the male as being the enemy who exploit and oppress women in society. In their opinion, the patriarchal society is the chief element in explaining the reluctance of the police to investigate incidents of domestic abuse effectively in previous years and that for this to be abolished the patriarchal society needs to be overturned so that woman can live independently from the males.

Chapter 4: Legislation

With regards to legislation, there appeared to be a ‘lack of protection’ in the early 1970’s in the form of remedies available, particularly under civil law, as they were either ‘not easy’ to obtain or ‘inadequately used’ (Hague and Malos, 2005). It was also only possible to obtain a civil order if you were married to the perpetrator, which obviously left victims who weren’t married to their perpetrator with even fewer options of protection compared with those who were married. From this, Women’s Aid recognised that there was in fact a need for change within the civil law so that victims could apply for protection along with obtaining an occupation order of the matrimonial home based solely on their case of domestic violence without it being linked to any other criminal proceedings that may arise from the assaults as there was a resounding number of females who sought shelter at women’s refuges who had been driven out of their home and who didn’t wish to pursue help via the criminal law.

4.1 Criminal Law

As mentioned before, there is no specific offence of ‘domestic violence’ under criminal law and naturally this has created difficulty for the police when dealing with such incidents as there are many different forms of offences that fall within and contribute towards the issue and so alongside the many Government papers published by the Home Office suggesting ways in which police practices regarding incidents of domestic violence should be handled, there have also been a number of different pieces of legislation introduced in the late 1990’s designed to aid the police even further.

Similarly, with the paper ‘Inter-agency Co-ordination to Tackle Domestic Violence’ published by the Home Office in 1995 which suggested that both statutory and voluntary organisations should work together, the Crime and Disorder Act (CDA) 1997 also placed a duty on the authorities, thus supportive of the 1995 Home Office paper, to work alongside the police and other agencies at a local level through the provision of a Community Safety Strategy initiative. The idea being that each local authority will have in place an action plan which will provide ‘effective multi agency working to tackle domestic violence and provide high quality services’ (Lewis, 2005) for the people living in the community who may or may not already be victims of domestic violence.

Likewise, the Protection from Harassment Act (PHA) 1997 enabled victims of domestic violence to have extra protection in place against stalking by ex partners and specifically section 2(1) of the PHA 1997 stipulates that ‘a person who pursues a course of conduct in breach of section 1 is guilty of an offence’ as Wallis (1996) found that, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers, 40% of harassment cases did in fact involve stalking between ex-partners or those who had been in a close relationship, something which Wallis described as a form of ‘post-separation domestic violence’.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 also saw measures introduced which provided a link between civil and criminal law. As mentioned before s.2(1) provided an offence of criminal harassment, and, along with s.4 which provided a more serious offence of fear of violence, and so as a whole, the Act provided women with addition help in the form of a restraining order if their perpetrator was convicted of either offence.

Section 4 proved to be particularly useful, despite there already being police powers under criminal law in existence, the powers in place only related to fear of actual physical violence whereas s.4 provided powers for fear of stalking which aimed to be more effective before any psychological or bodily harm had been caused, thus trying to nip the problem in the bus before escalating further.

The Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act which was introduced in 2004 aimed to protect victims of domestic violence by firstly making common assault an arrestable offence (which has since been repealed by s.110 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005). Secondly, the 2004 Act made a breach of a non-molestation order not only arrestable but also a criminal offence and finally the Act was also concerned with widening the scope of the civil law in cases of domestic violence as it was particularly evident that the remedies available were designed and implemented for married opposite sex couples, which, as a result, left cohabiting same sex couples experiencing exactly the same treatment but more importantly with a feeling that there was nothing that could be done about it.

4.2 Civil Law

Since 1976, injunctions against violent partners could be obtained under three different statues all with the underlying principle that it was designed to protect victims of domestic violence.

The Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976 gave female victims of domestic violence the right to stay in the matrimonial home and also granted them exclusion orders against their abusive partners which would effectively suspend their right to live in the matrimonial home and, at that time, was considered to be a successful tool in ‘protecting victims more comprehensively than had ever been possible under criminal law’ (Booth, 2003).

The Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates Court Act 1978 sought to aid the use of injunctions as a preventative for added violence to the victim by the perpetrator whilst the Matrimonial Homes Act 1983 was focused on simplifying the powers to cease the rights of the violence partner to live in the matrimonial home.

The piece of legislation that was to be selected to aid the protection of the victim was dependant on a number of factors, for example, whether the parties were married or not and also if she lived with her abuser. However, research by Barron (1990) showed that in the majority of cases injunction that were made were ineffective and would soon be breached, in Barron’s words, ‘not worth the paper they are written on’.

The introduction of the Family Law Act (FLA) 1996, particularly part IV, sought to eradicate the mess and confusion caused by the three earlier pieces of legislation with regards to imposing injunctions. The legislation itself, under part IV, introduced a concise set of remedies whilst widening the scope of eligibility to a wider range of family members, which since then have been extended further under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004.

Under the Family Law Act 1996 there are two main types of injunctions that can be applied for under part IV. Firstly, s.42 of the FLA 1996 provides that a victim of domestic violence can apply for a non-molestation order against their perpetrator by whom they have been harassed or threatened by and further states that an applicant can only seek an order against a person with whom they are associated with, as set out by s.62 FLA 1996. This proved to be a useful tool, particularly for those who were either married, in a civil partnership, were cohabitants or even former cohabitants and tried to encompass a number of different types of relations and circumstances in the pursuit of combating not only physical violence but also intimidation and harassment from the perpetrator. A breach of such order is a criminal offence under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2000, and, if found guilty, the perpetrator can expect to receive a five year prison sentence on indictment, the aim of it being to reinforce and strengthen existing civil injunctions.

Another form of injunction made available under s.33 and s.35-38 of the FLA 1996 for victims of domestic violence is that of an occupation order. An occupation order maintains and controls which party is to occupy either their present, former or intended home. To apply for this order the applicant must satisfy the requirement of entitlement under s.33(1) FLA 1996, that is, an ‘entitled’ person is one that has a legal right to occupy the property, for example, it is a matrimonial home, they have a tenancy agreement or some form of beneficial interest etc. Thus, it would be much harder for a cohabiting couple to show an interest in the property in comparison to those who are married or in a civil partnership as it is of the assumption that virtually all spouses will have at least some interest.

Occupation orders can be considered to be extremely useful for victims of domestic violence, particularly if there are children involved, as the FLA 1996 introduced a test based on the ‘balance of harm’ and, in some instances, the test obliges the court to use the test to make an order. The purpose of it being to protect the applicant and more importantly any relevant child that is ‘likely to suffer significant harm attributable to conduct of the respondent’ (Family Law Act 1996, s.33(7))

Chapter 5: Rates of reporting and non-reporting

The term ‘attrition’ is used to describe a process by which the total volume of crime that has been committed gradually gets eliminated leaving only a small proportion attaining conviction. This has come to be very evident in cases of domestic violence, with many police officers deciding to ‘no-crime’ the incident. As a result, it illuminates the issue of domestic violence as not being taken seriously by the criminal justice agencies and further highlights the problems many women face when exploring resolution via the criminal justice system and is supportive of what Hester and Westmarland (2006) found, that as little as five percent of domestic violence result in conviction.

In 1992, a study by Grace et al. found that there were three main attrition points that hindered the criminal justice process of convicting perpetrators of domestic violence. As mentioned previously, some officers discretionally chose to ‘no-crime’ the incidents and as a result, disregarding it instantly. A second point was that the police and the crown prosecution service made decisions about whether or not they would proceed to prosecute, again leaving the victim in a predicament that was totally our of their hands. Finally, a third attrition point lay with the jury on whether they would choose to convict the defendant and according to Grace et al. cases which resulted in a conviction ‘were most likely to involve a young, single woman who had never seen their attacker before and were physically injured during their attack’, they also pointed out that ‘a “classic” rape, was still the most likely to result in a conviction’ compared to a domestic violence incident between intimates.

Throughout the years this has led to a culmination of reasons why many women may not have reported incidents of domestic violence and amongst these reasons there is one common denominator; the police response.

Many women fear that because the abuse they face can take on many different forms, aside from just physical violence, that they would be wasting police time in a matter that the police may not classify as being ‘criminal’ similar to that of what Buzawa (1990) found that man police officers were keen to get involved with ‘real police work’ and, ironically, along with this they also fear that because it is a family matter then the police won’t really want to intrude and essentially get involved; something which many researchers such as Cheal (1991) have found before regarding police attitudes towards domestic disputes.

A second concern for many women is that if they do call the police, they fear that they may not be taken seriously by the attending officers and become subjected to their so-called ‘dismissive and derogatory’ ways in which some officers are alleged to respond to such incidents. Horley (1988) found that victims perceived the police to be unsympathetic of their circumstances and according to the Women’s National Commission (2003) victims were sometimes asked ‘if you put up with it for so long, why are you now reporting it?’ This in turn can also have a damaging effect on the victims as if they do call the police and not a great deal gets done many women fear that as a repercussion for their actions they may provoke further violence by their partners and so it appears to be instilled in them that it’s easier to adopt a ‘put up and shut up’ attitude.

Another problem which affects the report rate of domestic violence incidents is that many victims are either too reluctant to make statements or completely withdraw them quite soon after making them as Hoyle found in 1988, and, as a result, this has created what some researchers have described as ‘inadequate recording practices’ (Smith, 1989) and thus disguising the true figure of the crime itself despite the fact that sexual offences was the only crime to have a five percent increase compared to other types of crime, such as criminal damage, fraud and forgery, in 2009 (Home Office, 2009).

Chapter 6: Methodology

This dissertation is concerned with the legal response to incidents of domestic violence, starting from a historical perspective and moving through to a present day view of how effective the legal response is in dealing with such incidents. It has become to be an area of particular interest to myself as it incorporates an extremely important issue of domestic violence from the discipline of Criminology along with the application of relevant legislation from the discipline of Law.

Given the sensitive nature of the topic area being researched, it was felt that the use of secondary sources to conduct this dissertation would be the most appropriate type of source to use and would automatically eradicate any ethical issues that would inevitably arise if primary research were to be conducted.

Conducting secondary research also has many practical advantages; the main being that it has already been collected and, as aforesaid, diverts past any ethical implications that may arise from primary research, especially in a topic area as sensitive as domestic violence. The use of secondary sources also enables comparisons to be made between historical findings along with present day findings therefore providing a comparative and an overall picture of any trends that there may be. Finally the collection of data being used has been uninfluenced by the research process in comparison to findings that you would get from primary research, which tends to be more biased towards the researchers’ views.

More specifically, secondary data analysis as a research method enables the combining of not only quantitative data but also qualitative data and overall will provide a detailed look at the changing response to incidents of domestic violence from a wealth of literature already surrounding the area, both historical and recent, along with government papers detailing rates of reporting to the police reflecting victims perspectives of them as an agency.

This multi-dimensional approach was first coined as ‘triangulation’ in social research conducted by Campbell and Fiske (1959) but became more predominant following the work by Webb et al. (1966) which was based on unobtrusive measures and social research. Triangulation can be particularly useful as a process of ‘cross-checking findings from both quantitative and qualitative research’ (Deacon et al. 1998) and whilst Webb et al. noted that individual research methods aren’t ‘scientifically useless’ they stated that ‘the most fertile search for validity comes from a combined set of measures’ and Denzin (1970) further stated that triangulation ‘is the key to overcoming intrinsic bias that stems from single method, single observer and single theory studies’.

Maguire (2000) also argues for ‘utilising as many diverse sources of evidence as feasible to answer a research question’ and that combining two methods overall increases the validity of the research. That is, by bringing together two approaches that equally have their own strengths and weaknesses can overall counter each other with their strengths and it is argued that if different methods draw to the same conclusions then this in itself makes for a stronger argument in that they are more plausible and credible (Noaks and Wincup, 2004).

Due to the nature and area being explored in this dissertation it was felt that adopting the use of secondary sources would be more compliant with the ethical considerations that underpin conducting research. According to Diener and Crandall (1978), ethical considerations can be divided into four main areas. That is; whether there is harm to participants, whether this is a lack of informed consent, if there is an invasion of the participants’ privacy and finally, whether deception needs to be used in order to conduct the research.

If primary research were to be conducted the two main areas for concern, according to the categories as set out by Diener and Crandall, would be the potential harm that could be caused to the participant in re-living psychologically painful and damaging events they may have been through for the purpose of this dissertation along with the inevitable invasion of their own personally privacy.

The initial literature search was conducted by using key words or phrases related to the specified topic area of ‘domestic violence and the legal response’ which in turn provided a wealth of literature. However, this method of finding literature makes for the obtaining of unreliable sources more vulnerable and so for that reason only academic texts and journals were selected which covered area of domestic violence and the legal response and so provides a high quality of authority which is much more reliable. Naturally, only the most up to date texts were preferable but inevitably, with a topic area that requires comparatives to be made between historic views and contemporary views, many of the sources date back to the early eighties but is done so as to enable a critical analysis of area being researched.

As a result of the literature search, the literature that was subsequently gained was done so by a snowball effect; identical to that of snowball sampling where one source leads to another and so forth. This, combined with the use of both governmental and non-governmental papers, again standing with high authority, enabled for a greater critical analysis between the issue of domestic violence and the legal response.

Chapter 7: Discussion

The overriding purpose of this dissertation was to critically examine the legal response to incidents of domestic violence; that is, examine the full spectrum of responses ranging from the police, the legislation in place designed to aid the police and also initiatives put forward by the Government.

As stated previously in chapter two, domestic violence has long been a problem amongst society and throughout history it appears to have fought against the odds to be recognised as being truly criminal, as it is clear that the physical elements alone mirror those that can be found in Offences Against the Person Act (OAPA) 1861 yet shockingly the issue appears to have been covertly tolerated by the agencies (Berk et al., 1980).

In the early 1990’s there was a dramatic shift towards the fight against domestic violence and as many as fifty percent of police forces had opened up specialist domestic violence units (Grace, 1995) presenting recognition for the issue and opposing Edwards (1989) earlier argument that the ‘police did not take seriously their response to crimes between intimates’.

Despite this apparent dramatic shift towards the fight against domestic violence, the initiatives introduced and the policies and procedures in place, up until the mid-1990’s these policies and procedures needed to ‘translate directly into practice’ (Grace, 1995) in order for what Bourlet (1990) would consider to be effective policing. Yet quite shockingly, at this time when policy and procedures were in place, and even more recently where the issue of domestic violence is even more so abundant in society in Harriet Harman’s (2008) “Tackling violence against women: A cross-government narrative” it was highlighted that there was still only some help for victims in certain areas, of which the help was not regarded as being ‘comprehensive, consistent or easy to access’; quite alarming for something described as being a ‘serious problem, with serious consequences’.

In terms of reducing domestic violence from a policing angle, it has been found that a clear definition of domestic violence is needed between the police and also the other agencies as to eradicate its lack of coherence that has been evident in previous times. Along with this, consistency in their response needs to be clearly visible, despite some Feminists arguing that approaches such as restorative justice make male violence against women somewhat lawful. On the other hand, utilising powers of arrest and pursuing a case despite the victim withdrawing their statement, therefore enabling them to break the so-called cycle of the police ‘leaving the ball in the victims court’, whilst this approach apparently ‘legitimises’ male violence (Stubbs, 1997 in Cook and Bessant, 1997), in terms of effectiveness from a reducing domestic violence point of view; pro-arrest strategies can be seen as favourable.

Training of domestic violence awareness, policy and practise also needs to be exercised along with an adoption of a more sympathetic style in order to successfully put an end to ‘inadequate recording practices’ (Smith, 1989) and remove the victims instilled feeling that it’s easier to ‘put up and shut up’. As an agency dealing with such incidents as sensitive as these, it is paramount that their response is one which is equally sensitive in reciprocation, and, whereas before victims have been left feeling helpless, their response should be one that leaves the victim feeling comforted, informed and in the knowledge that there are services designed specifically to aid them with such incidents as opposed to feeling isolated and subjected to ‘secondary victimisation’ (Stanko, 1985) where their ‘character and morality is questioned in such a way as to imply some responsibility for their victimisation’ (Katz and Mazur 1979, Chambers and Miller, 1983).

Chapter 8: Conclusion

Drawing back to the beginning of this independent study, the overriding aim was to examine the legal response to incidents of domestic abuse by looking at the police response, the legislation available and finally the Governments standing on the issue itself.

This was done by using an approach known as ‘triangulation’ originally developed by Campbell and Fiske (1959) whereby a mixture of findings from both qualitative and quantitative measures, founded by high standing scholars in the field, were cross-examined to overall increase the validity of the research and provide a more well-rounded stronger argument.

From the research it is clear that domestic abuse, for many years, has somewhat been a ‘taboo’ subject and it can be appreciated from the wealth of literature surrounding the area that many merely ‘covertly tolerated’ the issue due to a variety of reasons; namely down to the relationship between the culture, law and society working against each other and having their own preconceptions.

However, it’s not without notice that the days of Pizzey’s (1974) ‘wife battering’ are long gone and much in the way of change has happened. One aspect that has come to be particularly clear from the research is that in modern society today there are in fact Government initiatives in place alongside reams of legislation that can be utilised and used in conjunction with one another to aid the police in their own response and, overall, provide an effective legal response as a whole. However, this doesn’t detract from the feeling that still, despite the recognition and improvements made; no one really knows how to deal with it, despite not being as ‘taboo’ as it were previously.

What is needed is a multi-dimensional approach, that is, for each of the agencies, both voluntary and involuntary to work alongside each other and utilise the resources between them lawfully in order to pin-point particular areas for concern, much like that of triangulation used in the methodology of this independent study. For Webb et al. (1966) stated that ‘the most fertile search for validity comes from a combined set of measures’, and, if the same principles are applied to the way in which the agencies work, by combining themselves and working as one, they provide themselves with a more successful chance of reducing domestic violence.


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Free Essays

Domestic violence and ethnic minority Women living in the UK with “no recourse to public funds”



The focus of this study is to discuss the impact of domestic violence on black ethnic minority women living in the UK. To discuss intervention support services available and limitations faced in accessing statutory and voluntary organisations services. The topic has been chosen following a successful volunteering placement within an area of domestic violence.

Volunteering at Coventry Haven as a domestic violence advocate/support worker meant being confronted daily by black ethnic minority Women living in the UK with “no recourse to public funds” needing support. The “no recourse to public funds” rule means that women with unsettled status cannot access public provision including refuges, and social welfare (Sen. 2007:13)

The organisation delivers services from a feminist perspective, taking a critical position of women in question and argues that issues of masculinity power are the ultimate root of intimate violence (Dobash and Dobash 1979).

This feminist theoretical framework also argues that violence must be located within gendered perspective of men’s and women’s lives (Letherby 2003:42).

The literature based study will adopt a feminist perspective and framework which understands domestic violence as a gendered occurrence to provide an analysis of current and relevant literature on the issues of domestic violence on black ethnic minority women in the UK.

This study will also discuss effects of domestic violence on health and well-being of the black ethnic minority women in UK. Moreover, it will explore the support services available to victims and discuss the limitations faced in accessing state services. Research will discuss the implication of findings for practice and will suggest a number of various recommendations towards current support services.

From my own personal perceptions as a woman brought up in Africa, now living in the UK. Many women continue to occupy a less important position in family organisations with many African men still possibly viewing domestic violence as the only way to solve family disputes.Women’s Aid (2007) argue that although there is no legal definition of domestic violence, recommendation from the Home Office states that: “Domestic violence includes any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (physically, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members in spite of of gender or sexuality” (Women’s Aid, 2007).

Until most recently, the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim was defined as that of partners, ex-partners or intimate family members, but following critiques by black ethnic minority women organisation like the Women’s Aid, Southhall Black Sisters, the definition now includes all forms of abuse including cultural specific forms of violence like forced marriage, honour killing and dowry attacks (Women’s Aid, 2007).


To discuss the impact of domestic violence on black ethnic minority women in UK and explore the intervention support services existing, the limitations these women face in accessing state services.


To provide an analysis of current/ relevant literature on issues of domestic violence on black ethnic minority women in UK.
To discuss the effects of domestic violence on the health and well-being of black ethnic minority women in UK.
To explore the impact of cultural influences when accessing domestic violence support services.
To explore the domestic violence support services available from statutory, voluntary organisations and their limitation in accessing these services.
To discuss the implication of the findings for practice and suggest some various recommendations towards current support services.


This chapter will discuss the methodology and theoretical framework which the researcher has adopted for the rationale of the study and will provide the aims and objectives for the research. The feminist theory of domestic violence will be briefly discussed within the research to gain an idea as to why men (perpetrators) abuse their female partners.

The research is a literature based project adopting the feminist perspective methodology which argues that issues of gender and power are the ultimate root of intimate violence (Dobash and Dobash 1979). The feminist theoretical framework argues that violence must be situated within the gendered context of men’s and women’s lives (Letherby 2003).

Understanding domestic violence as a gendered occurrence leads to a focus on the problems of violent behaviour. As (Cheyne; O’Brian; and Belgrave, 2000) argue, “The main purpose of feminist theory in every discipline has been to introduce the issues of gender”. With regards to domestic violence Kersti Yllo (1993) comments that, the most primary feminists insight, is that, domestic violence cannot be sufficiently understood unless gender and power are taken into account.

A critical theory of the feminist hypothesis will be adopted because of its distinctive features that focus on oppression and commitment in order to use the research procedures and outcomes for empowering the oppressed; in this case the black ethnic minority women living in UK either on spousal visa, students or unknown status. However, the black ethnic minority women would appear to be marginalised under this classification.

From my own personal perspective as a black woman living in the UK, many black women continue to occupy a subordinate position, with many black men possibly viewing violence as the only way to solve family problems.Through-out the process of the study, the researcher will remain in a distance objective stand to remain free from biases that could hinder obtaining knowledge. Objectivity in social research is, the principle drawn from positivism that strives to ensure that the researcher remains objective and distanced from the study. In this way, findings depend on the nature of what was studied somewhat than the personal beliefs and values or the researcher (Rubin and Babbie 2001).

The study will draw together and re-analyse qualitative literature to discuss the impact of domestic violence on black ethnic minority women living in the UK on, either, spousal visas, student visas or under an unknown status. Research will explore the impact of cultural influences on manly and woman relationships within the black ethnic minority families, impact of domestic violence on the women’s health and well-being. Furthermore the study will look at limitations black ethnic minority women come across when assessing statutory and voluntary organisations services for domestic violence support/services.

A literature search is defined as methodical and thorough search of all types of published literature in order to identify as many items as possible that are related to a particular topic (Gash 2000:1)As Creswell (2003) points out, the literature review shares with the readers the results of previous studies and also benchmarks results of a study with other results. Primarily literature reviews are based on a synthesis of primary findings done by other researchers. It also helps in generating a picture of what is known or not known about a particular happening (Creswell, 2003; Groove, 1993).

Another reason for doing a literature based study is the time factor considering the process needed to undertake primary data collection. The use of literature review can be viewed as less expensive compared to primary data collection in financial terms. The researcher also agrees with Stewart (1993) who argues that in case of tough budget and time constraints the use of secondary data is also good enough and can make available quality data.

Like any other method of secondary research, literature review has its strengths and weakness. The strengths for literature based study is that the researcher rarely affects the subject being studied because books have already been written, case records already recorded therefore, analysing the literature can have no effect on them. Literature based research also permits the researcher to study processes that occur over long periods of time. Literature based studies also have some limitations depending on the data that already exists. Each time the researcher bases a research on an analysis of data that already exist, is clearly limited to what exists.

Due to sensitivity of issues of domestic violence primary research methods of collecting data might not have been the most appropriate for this research. It is very difficult to gain access to women in refuge in practical terms because refuge locations are kept secret for the safety of the victims. Victims may not wish to discuss their past experiences fearing to trigger some emotions. Some women in refuge have been hostile in the past towards academic researchers using residents (Hoff: 1999.)

The literature search focuses on sources that would meet the identified aims and objectives. Exploration terms were predefined to retain focus on domestic violence and abuse on black ethnic minority women.

Intended for the purpose of this research the term “Black” is used exclusively for women born in Africa, living in UK on either, a spousal visa, student visa or unknown status. One of the limitations will be in recognising unrecorded cases of domestic violence. Fearing stigmatisation and shame by many black women, many incidents of domestic violence go unreported within the black communities therefore; literature review may not be a true account of all the black women surviving domestic violence and abuse.


French et al (2001) suggest that literature review goes through three fundamental steps. This includes the search for relevant literature, analysis and critical evaluation of individual sources of literature and finally synthesis which involves comparing, contrasting, organising and finally presenting the written review. (French et al 2001)

For the purpose of this study, literature information will be sourced from either, books or journals, grey (unpublished) literature, official publications including charitable organisations. Most sources will be obtained from the library catalogue systems and electronic database using some key words.


Domestic violence, black ethnic minority women, abuse, perpetrators, spouse and battered women

Since initial literature search does always yield many articles, practical screening criteria will be used to screen literature in order to get articles that are relevant to the subject only. The practical screening criteria will include factors such as the language in which the articles are printed.

To arrive at relevant literature, database for Coventry University, Social Welfare and Community Studies was used. To search for literature the Coventry university catalogue searches of electronic database using tools like, Cinahl, Assia. Medical Science Academic Search, Ebsco, Science direct and the internet has been used.

The literature search used a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria, ensuring that time was not consumed on literature that was immaterial to the study.

Black ethnic minority women in heterosexual relationships only.Black ethnic minority women who were born in UK and anyone holding a UK citizenship.
Black ethnic minority women living in UK only. The reason is mainly to focus and target this group of women living in UK on spousal visa, student visa and unknown status only.Any articles in foreign languages will be excluded. The rationale for the exclusion ofarticles in foreign language is that, it would be costly in terms of finance having to pay translators.
Literature review that is more than fifteen years will be included in the research for historical background purposes.




This chapter will discuss the literature review on issues of domestic violence, focusing primarily on black ethnic minority women living in the UK. To be able to understand the issues of domestic violence, it is vital to recognise that violence against women is an international reality which has been acknowledged as a major public health issue (Shipway 2004). The acknowledgement of domestic violence internationally as a major public health has seen an improvement in numbers of localities dealing with domestic violence, but there remain some areas where little if anything is done to support women abused by intimate partners (Shipway 2004). Problems have risen where women from the ethnic minority have been lumped into one category and not considering their different cultural and religious differences.

With no intensions of making excuses, it has been noted that obtaining data on black ethnic minority women (BEM) housing needs is difficult. (Netto et al., 2001) report that there was national evidence that people from the black ethnic minority with including refugees find it very difficult to access services.

Whilst domestic violence affects women from all ethnic groups, women from black ethnic minority communities may face isolation more that women from the majority.

There are claims that women from the black ethnic minority communities may have to overcome religious and cultural pressure resulting in them being afraid of bringing shame onto their family respect or in some cases normalising and accepting domestic violence (Women’s Aid 2010).

According to (Binney et al, and Women’s Aid Federation, 1988), the average length of time a woman endures violence before leaving an abusive relationship is seven years. Also research has shown that a woman is beaten and average of 35 times before she seeks helps.

Amina Mama (1989) highlighted that the additional implications of race, ethnicity in conditioning the experience of domestic violence. In addition Amina Mama (1989) argues that fear of racism responses could act as barriers preventing black ethnic minority women from accessing services or speak out about the domestic violence they experience.

(Chantler et al (2006) mentioned that stereotyping and stigmatisation as barriers that prevent women from the black ethnic minority communities from seeking help. The position of black ethnic minority women escaping domestic violence is exacerbated by barriers to reporting abuse which also include protecting family honour and normalising and accepting violence. Netto et al (2001) indicated the lack of specialist refuge spaces and immigration legislation as a barrier that denies black ethnic minority women with insecure status to access domestic violence services.

Immigration issues posed a significant barrier for eight of twenty three survivors (Home Office 2008). As indicated by the Home Office, a woman who has entered Britain as a spouse of a British citizen does not have recourse to any public funds should the marriage breaks up within one year.

Exclusion in this way will stem, in part, from the fact that these women are categorises due to their unsettled immigration status which as a result becomes a barrier to accessing statutory services.

Whilst women from the black ethnic communities are faced with the same obstacles in leaving violent relationships as white majority (Burman and Chantler 2009), confirms that; money, childcare, housing, transport may carry cultural specific inflections, exacerbated by racism and class position. According to (Burman and Chantler, 2009), such representations, in most cases have material consequences in terms of policy and development (Burman and Chantler, 2009).

(Gilroy and Woods, 1994:101) states that black ethnic minority women face structured and subjective racism and sexism which determine their access to, as well as their choices in the basic right of adequate roof over their heads.

Roehampton University (2008) revealed that the housing needs of the black ethnic minority were overwhelming and a number of respondents admitted to the need for improved consultation with black ethnic minority’s sector (Banga and Gill, 2008:2). One woman stated that black women lack a voice, their needs are not accounted for and that it has not been about services to suit women and children’s needs but about women and children having to fit into services (Banga and Gill, 2008: 2).

The NSPCC domestic violence campaign briefing (2008) indicates, two thirds of local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales offers a specialised service to women who are victims of domestic violence; one in ten (46 out of 434 has a specialised black ethnic minority services for abused women. These are mainly in England (95 per cent) and almost half are in London. Such statistics indicate a gap in knowledge about the extent and geographical coverage for black ethnic minority and how domestic violence affects such communities.

On the other hand the success and accomplishment by the Southall black sisters (2008) confirms how the system can be achieved to challenge insufficiencies in local government response after winning a court case against Ealing Council (Southall Black Sisters, 2008).

The council was found guilty of failing to pay proper regard to equalities legislation, in particular the Race Relations Act when making its decisions to cut the entire funding of Southhall Black Sisters (SBS) who provided services for black women (Southall Black Sisters, 2008).

Rai and Thiara (1997) identified several obstacles to accessing the emotional, informational and instrumental support for women from specialist services. According to critics of “on-size-fits-all” approach, women have negative views of current policies of domestic violence especially those of local authority (Southhall Black Sisters, 2008). This “one-size-fits-all” highlights an institutional culture that fails to recognise the need for domestic violence action and policy.

The end the violence against woman campaign (2007) reports that the government departments failed to put in place a framework that ensures that domestic violence was addressed effectively. In addition Mason (1992) estimated that between 25 percent and 50 percent of homeless families headed by a woman had become homeless as a result of fleeing domestic violence. Vincent and Jouriles (1988). Bearing in mind such a high estimation by Mason (1992), it is important to note that in some cases battered women are confronted with homelessness and harsh economic hardships when they separate from violent partners.

(Williams and Becker 1994), concluded that, of the one hundred and forty two programs surveyed, less than have made special effort to accommodate the needs of black ethnic minority populations, for example providing outreach services, adding or tailoring intervention to encourage involvement by women from the ethnic marginal groups (Williams and Becker 1994).

In addition, statistics issued by Women’s Aid Federation of England made known that one in four women do experience violence in the home at least once during their life time (Women’s Aid Federation of England, 2002). Also according to the Home office, “two women weekly are killed by intimate partners” (Home Office 2002).

Numerous researchers and practitioners in the past studies on domestic violence within black ethnic minority communities have preferred to lump all women from the black ethnic minority in one group. (Fonte, 1988) points out that in much of previous researches; little attention has been paid to similarities and differences among different groups within the broad race/ethnic category (Fonte, 1998). For purposes of racial/ethnic comparisons, diverse ethnic groups have often been shrunken into heterogeneous categories for example “black” though ignoring the diversity within that larger group.

The process whereby individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds are sorted into broad race/ethnic categories by researchers is “ethnic lumping” (Fonte, 1993). In most cases when research is circumscribed ethnic group the findings are sometimes over generalised to all members of the larger group.Issues of within-group diversity have been rarely been addressed.

Moreover, experiences and values within these groups have been influenced not just by immigration histories, cultural heritages but also by historical facts. Researchers need to be aware and knowledgeable of how ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, language and socioeconomic status are crucial when collecting domestic violence data from women within diverse groups if their diverse needs are to be met effectively.

A more careful assessment of the potential role of race/ethnicity in domestic violence, rather than ethnic lumping and overgeneralization is essential if adequate interventions are to be developed and utilised at the same time removing the barriers faced by women from the black ethnic communities in accessing statutory and voluntary organisations.



This chapter will focus on the impact of domestic violence on the health and well- being on the lives of black ethnic minority women living in the UK as they face the barriers to accessing some statutory services. In seeking to understand the ways in which domestic violence and abuse undermines any woman’s life, health and well-being and the determination to survive it can be helpful for researchers to consider “Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs (1987).

Figure 1.1 Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs (1987).

In 1987 Maslow argued that the social and economic disadvantage people face, hold them back from meeting their needs. Memories of past events damage or block people’s capacity to act. (Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (1987).

Abrahams (2010), affirms that abused women agree with Maslow by claiming, domestic violence/abuse demolishes the structure of their hierarchy needs with the loss of their personal identify, destruction of confidence and self -esteem, isolation from potential systems and fear of uncertainty (Abrahams, 2010).

Apart from women’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs not being met and the physical aftermath of domestic violence, there are some serious consequences on the victim. The World Health Organisations (2001) lists depression, anxiety, psychosomatic symptom, eating disorders, sexual-dysfunction as being a direct result of the endurance of domestic violence and abuse. (World Health Organisations, 2001)

Below are pictures showing the aftermath of physical domestic violence on women.

Fig: 1:2 Women’s Aid, 2007.


The impact of domestic violence on mental health has been well documented and includes low self-esteem, anxiety and depression (Kirkwood, 1993, Mooney 1994 and Thiara 2003a).Research suggests that 50 percent of women users of mental health services have experienced domestic violence (Department of Health, 2003), compared to one-third of women in general population in the UK (Mooney, 1994).

Women from the black ethnic minority accessing mental health services remain over-represented within such researches. Given that the General Practitioner is the first port of call for women who face domestic violence (Dobash et al., 1985: 148), is considerable that seven women who were not in social housing were not registered with a General Practitioner (GP) in part because they were not able to afford paying for the medication that may be prescribed for them.

Campel (2000) confirms depression and post traumatic stress disorder as the most prevalent mental-health problems of intimate partner violence. A study by (Mclnnes, 2003) reveals that it is not only while enduring domestic violence that women feel the impact of negative stereotyping associated with domestic violence. (Mclnnes, 2003) also describes the stereotypes as a form of social violence inflicted upon women. Women continue to live with the feeling of rejection and stigma from the general public even after leaving the perpetrator.

A research by Mitchel and Hodson (1983) found out that sheltered women had a mean depression score two standard deviation above the norm. In addition to a number of studies focusing on battered women who sought medical service and presenting with high rate of psychological difficulties.

(Browne 1993; Holtsworth-Munroe et al. 2000) have also provided general discussions of the mental health correlates and consequences of husband violence. Other researchers have also documented depression in large percentages of battered women in shelters or those receiving non-residential services for battered women (Cascardi and O’leary 1992).

Results of studies on battered women showed that depressed mood, sleep problems, loss of energy, inappropriate guilt, problems with concentration and feelings of worthlessness were associated symptoms of depression (Andrews and Brown 1988). (American Psychiatric Association 1994) also reported that low self-esteem which is closely related and often occurs with depression is generally referred to as an overall negative evaluation of self within battered women.

In additions, Brown (1993) also observed that posttraumatic stress disorder may be the most appropriate diagnosis for many battered women with several researchers finding higher levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms in women receiving services from domestic violence shelters compared to other groups of women. Kemp et al. (1995) found out that 81 percent of battered women and 63 percent of women who were verbally abused met criteria for a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Although it is unclear as to whether problems with substance mis-use arise before or after domestic violence, (Jaffe et al. 1986; Dawns and Gondoli 1989) argued that this issue warrants attention for the benefit of abused women. (Bergman and Brismar 1991) confirms that 23 percent of battered women who received emergency medical attention services had a history of alcoholism whereas no women in a non-abused comparisons group did (Bergman and Brismar 1991).



This chapter will discuss the cultural barriers within the black ethnic minority families to seeking statutory and voluntary organisations domestic violence support services. One of the most vital needs of women leaving home due to domestic violence is access to safe, secure stable housing. Although the refuge movement provides a network of refuges to women of all backgrounds, accommodation is available on an emergency and temporary basis only (Hague and Malos 1998:101).

(Lee et al., 2002) suggest that the most influential factor on how a woman responds to domestic violence is social and cultural context of her life. Even with the provision of refuges, a research by the (Southall Black Sisters, 2008) found out that black ethnic minority women and children endure violence for between three and forty years before seeing help.

United Nations (UNCRC Article 6 [1], reports women from the black ethnic minority communities take an average of ten years before leaving a violent relationship. As a result children grow up in unsafe and unhealthy home environment (United Nations 2008).

(Adams 1999) points out “In considering domestic violence within black ethnic minority families, there has been reluctance to acknowledge its existence”. In addition Mama (1989) remarks that violence against women is historical bound up in patriarchal practices which are based on gender relationships more so in the black ethnic minority households. (Women’s National Commission, 2003; Gill 2004) states that women are taught that the public image of family is more important than the safety of the individual.

Honour and respectability are dependent on a successful marriage. Also women fear dishonour and rejection from their communities if their marriage should fail. Just like the Asian women, black ethnic minority women consider seeking help from the outsiders as the last resort (Yoshioka et al. 2003). Black ethnic minority women are advised to stay in their marriage rather than leave abusive relationships (Gill 2004).

(Adams 1999) argues that there are greater obstacles for women coming to the UK on spousal visas, women complaining of domestic violence risk deportation should they leave the martial home before the first year of arrival or marriage. (Adams 1999).

(Abraham, 2000) indicates that isolation is an important factor in domestic violence particularly among immigrant families (Abraham 2000). For women with no-recourse to public funding (NRPF), this isolation continued after they left abusive relationships. Thirteen out of twenty women had no contact with family or friends in the two weeks prior to the interview due to a range of reasons including; lack of informal sources of support in the UK. Fear of being disowned by family for leaving the marriage and fear of being traced, including lack of sufficient funds to visit friends or speak to families in the subcontinent.

A research by the NHS (2003) suggests that sense of shame and fear of stigma within black ethnic minority communities might prevent women with complex social problems accessing services, the sense of shame in accessing drug services remain a concern.In addition problems of confidentiality within the community also lead to lack of confidence in services (Fawcett 2004). (Women’s Aid 1997), commissioned a study exploring the needs of black ethnic minority women.

The study illustrates that large numbers of from these communities are not aware of specialist support services. Lack of such information by the black ethnic minority women leads them to endure violence for longer periods.

(Women’s Aid 1997) also reveals, negative perception about refuges and inadequate help from agencies further heighten anxieties about refuges within such communities. Black ethnic minority communities, encompasses a multitude of ethnicities, nationalities, cultures and religions. As a result of this black ethnic women consist of various diverse needs, concerns and life-styles.(Dhillo-Kashyan and Woods 1994) highlights the difficulties for such women to retain their cultural and religious customs during their stay in refuges. He adds that it is apparent that there were difficulties in supporting women with specific needs with shared accommodation provided by refuges as communal living.

(Mama 1989; Adams 1988) noted that, there are greater difficulties for black ethnic minority women in accessing refuge support than white women. Furthermore, whilst other groups stated in the research that they would accommodate this group of women, there seemed little understanding of their cultural and specific needs.

Adams (1998) noted that black ethnic minority women feel far less secure in their own ability to leave home, particularly as they are considered subordinate within their own culture. In addition many women from the black ethnic minority communities stay with their abuser for economic reasons.

A Study by Humphrey and Thiara (2003), notes that women from the black ethnic minority community were significantly more likely to continue to suffer substantial problems both emotional and materially more than six months after separation from the abuser. (Humphrey and Thiara, 2003).

(Thiara, 2005) states that not being fluent in English acts as a barrier preventing black ethnic minority women from seeking help and accessing services. Such women are unable to access written information on domestic violence (Thiara, 2005).



Despite the Feminist organisations campaign and attainment in 1977, of acceptance of domestic violence as a basis for homelessness in housing legislation (Morley et al, 2002), women’s “general” refuges which opened in the 1970’s to aid women and children fleeing domestic violence, enabling women to re-build their live and move on to stable, suitable accommodation confirmed that not all women’s care support needs were being met and not all women had equal access to the “generic” provision (Banga, B., Gill, A. 2008).

Regardless of all campaigning, researches and large number of studies in domestic violence field, (Hague and Malos 1998; Dobash and Dobash 1992), changes in British social policy and housing policy in particular have in some respects, further secluded women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Research documents that in the face of state policy and local authority practice women’s refuges which maintain themselves on the rentals paid through benefit system for residence can seldom afford to accommodate women with no-recourse to public funding (NRPF). As a consequence, women with no recourse to public funds who repeatedly attempt to leave on many occasions only to return to their violent relationships (Dobash and Dobash, 1992; Mullender, 1996).

(Crisis, 2006) confirms, women’s homelessness continued to be ignored by strategic thinking and policy making even though many women are still staying in hidden, informal and marginalised homeless accommodation.

In a mapping exercise that included 551 woman’ organisations in London found that 73% of black ethnic minority organisation faced a funding crisis between year 2000 and 62% of black ethnic minority organisation had closed or moved locations (Soteri, 2002). Such data showed that by year 2000 black ethnic minority organisations were under threat and had less secure continuation (Soteri, 2002).

A study on women in refuge accommodation in 2007 found that on average black ethnic minority women who happen to be accommodated in refuge stayed forty-four days in specialist refuges than women who accessed the main stream (Gill, A.; Banga, B. 2008). Furthermore twenty one refuges turned away 2,300 women who attempted to access specialist refuges because they were full. As a result this rejection figure was mush higher for black ethnic minority women.A research by (Women’s Resource Centre, 2007) showed that only 25% (percent) of women who stayed in refugees went to council housing upon leaving the refuge.

A study conducted by Women Resource Centre (2008), on the state of London-based black ethnic minority women’s organisations, including the findings from the thirty-second report of the working group with the voluntary sector (2000) found that London-based black ethnic minority organisation had experienced long term volatility and 36 per cent have no paid staff at all.

Even if the demand for services had increased and workloads have tripled, evidence showed that there was little support in terms of secure and core funding (Women Resource Centre, 2007).

Women’s Resource Centre (2007) research on the state of funding for women found that the lack of suitable housing to move on to meant that, women stayed in refuges for longer periods of time.This resulted in women being isolated for longer periods. Also this lack of housing also influenced whether or not women return to their abusers.

In is research for Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Chahal (2000) suggests that black ethnic minority groups who are social housing tenants have a tendency to live in the most deprived areas and are over-represented in disadvantaged inner city areas. According to (Chahal, 2000) roughly 60 per cent of tenants within the housing association accommodation come from the black ethnic minority communities. (Coy et al. 2007) states that a third of local authorities in the UK have no specialised support services and fewer than one in ten have specialist services for black ethnic minority women.

While the UK government acknowledges that there are many commonalities in the experience of women escaping domestic violence, there appear to be little policy development that relates to specific concerns and needs of black ethnic minority women. Presents of racism in the mainstream refuges has been the subject of a number of researches over the past few years. This was highlighted in the recent research study (Chantler, 2006) which found, racism to be operating at three levels starting with the service users, workers and at state level through immigration policies that stop women from accessing services.


The provision of accommodation and support is vital for women who experience domestic violence, a fact recognised by the government in 2003 (Rights for women, 2003). Women from the black ethnic minority communities with a “no recourse” visa who experience domestic violence find themselves in a complex situation because they cannot access public funds. Neither to leave their partner and are fundamentally trapped in the violent relationship.

The ‘no recourse’ to public funds rule as defined by the Home Office (2009) prevents women, especially from the black ethnic minority community on spousal visa or subject to immigration control from accessing certain public funds including welfare benefits such as, income support, child benefit as well as housing and homelessness assistance (Women’s Aid 2007).

A survey of 11 London refuges found that in the period 2006/07, 223 women with “no recourse” to public funds requested refuge space. However, only 19 (8.5%) women were accepted for support. This meant that just 3% of the total of 585 women who were provided with refuge space providers in 2006/07, of the 19 women accommodated 16 had children (Islington, 2008), no re-course to public funds.

The Immigration law (underpinned by various immigrations Acts) is set out in the Immigration Rules, Part 8 of the Immigration Rules state that a woman who joins a partner who has a settled immigration status can be given a 2 years “spousal” visa on the condition that the partner agrees to provide for their financial and material needs (Home Office 2010).

When relationship breaks down, victims are often deterred from looking for help, or leaving violent relationships because they have nowhere to go, do not feel safe in their own homes and also do not have legal rights to remain (Rights of women 2003). Research by the (Southall Black Sisters, 2007) found out that it takes up to 24 months for a woman’s application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) to be determined when she leaves an abusive partner.

(Brittain et al, 2005) states that for many women from black ethnic minority, the nonexistence of interpreters makes accessing services very complex. Bearing in mind the existing political climate of hostility towards immigrants, the cutback to interpretation as well as English language classes makes it likely that these barriers become entrenched, unless there is a change in policy and practice regarding interpretation and English classes. When experiencing domestic violence women who have ‘no recourse’ to public funds need be given the ability to access the services as they need to escape domestic violence and protect themselves and their children.


A research entitled until women and children are safe, (Women’s Aid, 2007) argue that women from the black ethnic communities face a number of problems within the legal process.In most instances gaining access to legal representatives is often stressful and confusing.

Lack of specialist services or interpreters mean that such women are deprived of effective access to law and those women whose immigration status made them not entitled for help with legal aid experience particular difficulties (Women’s Aid, 2007).

During the same time Women’s Aid research highlighted the process of going to court as itself traumatic and terrifying for women due to lack of separate waiting areas, so that applicants and their abusers often had to share the same small space (Barron, 1990).

(Women’s Aid, 2007) states that, courts like many other agencies have often failed to understand the whole range of emotional, psychological and practical reasons why many women stay with or return to a violent partner. As a result this does often have effect on women for not being taken seriously hence making them unwilling to come to courts.

(Bryan, Dardzie and Scafe, 1985) argue that the issue of law enforcement within black communities is extremely controversial. Negative stereotyping of black people individually and within family groups is pervasive.



In conclusion, the examination of literature revealed rather little published material on the issue of black women generally and even less on the subject of violence within the home. This contrasted with the wide body of work on white women suffering abuse from partners (Hammer and Maynard, 1987; Dobash and Dobash 1980).

The stereo-type that surrounds domestic violence often denies the legitimisation of black ethnic minority women as victims (Bograd, 1999). Often domestic violence against black ethnic minority women is not considered as serious as the violence committed against white victims (Harrison and Esquada, 2000). This often creates a barrier in black women’s willingness and ability to disclose issues of domestic violence to any professional or care providers. Any discriminatory practices limit such women’s comfort level in disclosing domestic violence and seeking out services to address it.

As mentioned earlier in the study, many researchers and practitioners in past studies on domestic violence within black ethnic minority communities have chosen to lump all women from this community in one category.

(Fonte, 1988) argued that in much previous researches, little attention has been paid to similarities and differences among various groups within the broad race, ethnic category.

“Ethnic lumping” as argued by (Fonte, 1993), ignores the diversity within the larger group of black ethnic minority women. Black ethnic minority women umbrella encompasses a multitude of ethnicities, nationalities, cultures and religions. As a result the black ethnic minority consists of various diverse communities, each with their own needs, concerns and life styles and cultures that have to be taken into consideration offering support.

Although it is clear that statutory and voluntary agencies have a moral and legal duty to respond effectively to the needs of women surviving domestic violence, practitioners need to become aware of limitations of a race-blind service delivery. (Dominelli, 1988; Mama 1989a) also argue that attention needs to be paid more generally on the effects of policing practice and immigration legislation on lives of black women.

Voluntary organisations such as Coventry Haven and many others play a key role in providing advocacy and other support services to domestic violence survivors yet these services appear to have been historically underfunded and struggle to meet the need of women who attempt to access them.In the face of state policy and local authority practice study revealed that women’s refuges like Coventry Haven which maintain themselves on the rentals paid through benefit system for women residence can rarely afford to accommodate women with ‘no recourse’ to public funding (NRPF).

Women’s Aid, (2009) research on domestic violence and housing policy found out that there is a reduction in resources available to organisations working with black ethnic minority women and such organisations have experienced long term stability with 36 per cent having no paid staff at all.

As a result funding remains one of the barriers for women accessing services. This study also found out that a lack of speciality shelters/refuge spaces and an absence of clear guidelines for involving specialist agencies in policy services development and evaluation meant that there is often low recognition of domestic violence with housing policy (Women’s Aid, 2009).

Finally, it is essential for all statutory and voluntary organisations recognise the need to evaluate their methods of delivering services and ensure that gaps are identified and filled as appropriate if the needs of black women surviving domestic violence are to be met from a different cultural perspective. Outreach services are very crucial for raising awareness about services and providing information to women from the black ethnic minority communities about the services. However the few services that are available have no regular source of funding as mentioned earlier in the study. As a result, many voluntary organisations working with survivors of domestic violence from the black ethnic minority communities will have no alternative but to shut down, leaving such women exposed to further violence from intimate partners.



Responses to domestic violence should be culturally sensitive and suitable therefore more training for front line staff/practitioners should be vital to make them aware of the cultural differences when responding to domestic violence. Too often “black” is lumped with white women and as a result, black women are invisible whose existence and needs are ignored (Dominelli, 2002:30). As a result of such practices of lumping black women with white women, black feminists have criticised the white radical feminists for not considering the experiences and perspectives of black women when dealing with domestic violence.

The complexities of race and gender can aggravate problems for practitioners and serve to cover the realities of women’s experience in the family (Lupton; Gallespie, 1994:106). In offering assistance to people of different race and social class, it is essential for practitioners to understand their viewpoints especially their culture and values about family life (Lupton; Gallespie, 1994:106).

During my practice as a domestic violence advocate/support worker for Coventry Haven, I noted that the organisation experienced some difficulties in supporting women from the black ethnic minority communities.

The reason being that, this group encompasses a multitude of ethnicities, nationalities, cultures and religions. As a result of such multitudes and lack of awareness and knowledge of different cultures by the front line practitioners meant that not all women’s needs were being met.

In every effort to meet black ethnic minority women’s needs, the services available fail to meet the complex needs of this population (Martinson 2001; Bograd 1999). In order to achieve this, (Borgrad, 1999) suggests that developing theories that move beyond simple description of domestic violence, but take into account intersections of race and class will be necessary in order to provide access to appropriate services for black ethnic minority women.

All practitioners within the statutory and voluntary sector need to recognise the practice dilemmas. Insufficient cultural knowledge may result in inabilities to distinguish between understandings, and respecting other cultures and holding stereotypical notions about other cultures which I found problematic for many volunteers during my practice as a domestic violence advocate/support worker.

Researches on domestic violence within ethnic groups need to pay attention on the differences among various groups as “ethnic lumping” ignores the diversity within the larger group of black ethnic minority women.
Theories need to move beyond simple description of domestic violence and take into account intersection of race and class in order to provide access to appropriate services for black women.
The Government needs to extend the domestic violence rule to include all abused women including women with ‘no recourse’ or insecure immigration status and introduce protection for this group of women whose marital relationships would have broken down.
Responses to domestic violence should be culturally sensitive and appropriate therefore, providing culturally appropriate information and support may assist all women regardless of their race/ethnicity to disclose domestic violence.
Mainstream services to augment their identification of domestic violence and signposting to specialist agencies for specialist services.
There is need for improved awareness and training for practitioners on culturally sensitive responses to black women’s domestic violence.
There is need to review some of the diversity policies and procedures in generic refuges.
More funding for more specialist domestic violence services working with women and children from the black ethnic minority communities.
More volunteers and interpreters from different cultural and language backgrounds are needed to ensure the language barrier is overcome.
The development of interpreting and translation services should be a prioritised, not only can they make life easier for people whose first language is not English, but they would also offer agencies same as Coventry Haven a more effective way of working through some complicated cases of violence.Practitioners from both statutory and voluntary organisations need to ensure that the needs of women from the black ethnic minority communities are addressed within the context of their being seen as whole human beings in which each area of their life interacts with others, looking at collective solutions to individual problems.

Free Essays

critical review of two journal articles looking at urban violence and collective conflict

1. Introduction

The following is a critical review of two journal articles looking at urban violence and collective conflict. One article is by L Berkowitz (1968), the other is by Reicher (1996)

2. Article 1: Berkowitz Review

2.1 Description of Article

The article is about theories about urban violence, particularly the ‘frustration-aggression hypothesis’ (Dollard et al 1939), and later critiques of this theory by Lorenz and others. Berkowitz accepts the hypothesis, but in a modified form. The original formulation was criticised by Lorenz, who suggested that rather than being a reaction to an external stimulus, aggression is primarily a response to an internal force, and that discharging this aggression can reduce the likelihood of aggressive acts (Berkowitz 1968). Berkowitz critiques Lorenz suggesting that the conclusions Lorenz drew in terms of avoiding conflict were not valid, as acting out aggressive impulses in fact does not reduce the tendency to act this way. Berkowitz draws upon work by other researchers into animal and human psychology to suggest an alternative view: frustration is not an emotionally neutral event, anticipation, as well as deprivation, must be included in any model of aggressive behaviour. In other words, rising human expectations of possessions and the frustration of these expectations are a more adequate explanation of urban violence. He by no means rejects Lorenz entirely, both accepting the notion of the innate determination of aggression, and embracing Lorenz’s concept of the ‘releasing stimulus’ (Lorenz 1966) to explain why animals attack only particular targets. Berkowitz also concludes that as well as being caused by perceived lack of material benefits, aggression and violence are due to “aggressive stimuli” (Berkowitz 1968, p. 16).
Berkowitz spends the bulk of the paper in a critical overview of theories of frustration and aggression, moving sequentially from Dollard’s initial theory through Lorenz’s socio-biological approach to his own critique and reworking of this. Rather than a primary study, looking at new data, this paper summarises and critiques existing academic work, and finally turns to the practical use of theories of urban violence to analyse contemporary violence in the USA.

2.2. Critique of Article

Berkowitz carries out an analysis of existing theories, and uses these to develop his own. It is therefore inappropriate to look at questions of study design, statistical validity and similar issues which pertain to primary studies. However, he does make reference to studies conducted by his own research facility (“several experiments carried out in our Wisconsin laboratory” (Berkowitz 1968, p. 16), although gives no details of these. It is therefore possible that these studies, upon which he bases his idea that external stimuli work to elicit aggression primarily in people already predisposed to aggression, are methodologically flawed. In terms of his analysis of Dollard and Lorenz, Berkowitz makes some sound points, reworking the original frustration-aggression hypothesis using some, but not all concepts gleaned from Lorenz, to offer a new version of the model which allows both external and internal forces to play a role. However, it might be asked how comprehensive an overview of this area is given. For example, he does not mention theories of Behaviourism, although such ideas seem to be present in the discussion, particularly the analysis of stimulus and response. Similarly, psychoanalysis might have insights into the nature of aggression which are not included here. His discussion of his theory in terms of real-world incidents is useful. In particular, his model suggests that one explanation of recent riots is unlikely, and a multi-causal explanation is more feasible.

2.3. Conclusion

Berkowitz elegantly teases out strands from existing theories on the relationship between frustration and aggression, and uses these, together with a critique of some aspects of these theories, to develop his own perspective on the cause of urban violence. He suggests that events recent at the time of writing can be explained by these theories. The model he proposes seems genuinely new, and able to offer real-world insights, but he perhaps ignores other ideas from psychology which might throw light on the nature of frustration and aggression.

3. Article 2: Reicher Review

3.1 Description of Article

By contrast, Reicher offers a case study analysis of a 1988 demonstration and violent conflict between students and police, using this analysis to develop a hypothesis about collective conflict. His model integrates social identity theory with ideas about the construction of social categories through interactions between groups and group members. An introduction looks at previous attempts to understand the nature of crowd behaviour, and discusses the idea of emergent norm theory (Turner and Killian 1987) and self-categorisation theory (Turner 1982; Turner et al 1987) as ways of explaining this behaviour. The case study is detailed, and describes a protest by the National Union of Students in 1988 against plans for student loans. Various sources inform the case study, which is based on the experiences of participants, and which uses the triangulation method to uncover consensus about events (Denzin 1970). The case study is followed by an analysis of what the events meant, in terms of Reicher’s theory about conflict.

3.2 Critique

Reicher offers a well-researched literature review, assessing previous accounts of crowd behaviour, and the extent to which the classic accounts are inadequate, as they lack a social dimension to the explanation of behaviour. He also points out a tension between psychological and sociological accounts of crowd behaviour, and the need to include analysis of the collective viewpoint in accounts. However, while the literature review includes many sources, and offers a broad background to the study, there is little attempt to engage in depth with any previous works aside from emergent norm theory. The emphasis is rather upon summary of previous approaches, which raises the question whether these other models have useful insights which have been ignored.

In terms of methodology, Reicher offers a case study based on interviews from various sources. The approach is qualitative, rather than quantitative, that is, concerned with the experiences of participants, rather than collecting statistically significant data (Babbie 2010). As such, it is harder to draw conclusions which can be generalised from the data, and it is more likely that Reicher’s interpretation may be biased. In addition, by his own admission, the data was mainly gathered from protestors, rather than from the police, which means that the evidence is weighted in favour of the protesters viewpoint. Most of the student respondents were also drawn from one university, which further raises the question of bias, although Reicher himself acknowledges this.
A positive point is that Reicher additionally gives the political background leading up to the events described in the case study, as well as theoretical context and description of events. One possible negative is that the description of the events in the case study are very extensive, with an hour-by-hour account of events. This might be said to be too descriptive, using space which could better have been taken up by analysis, however it could be said against this that the detail is necessary for Reicher to make his subsequent analysis. Another negative is that the press coverage is explained very briefly, and lacks evidence to back up the statement that “the dominant account employs classic agitator theory” (Reicher 1996, p. 121).

The analysis devote much space to quotations from participants: while these add colour and insight, they might have been better placed in an appendix, to allow the overall theoretical picture to emerge. The section on theoretical implications is impressive: earlier ideas about social identity and crowd behaviour are re-introduced, and evidence from the case study is used to support hypotheses about crowd behaviour. However, there is a question regarding the extent to which the hypotheses are supported by the evidence collected. For example, Reicher suggests that the perceptions of the police supports the notion that “authorities tend to consider large crowds… to constitute a potential threat to public order” (Reicher 1996, p. 130), but has already acknowledged that he had little access to police thought processes. Despite this, the suggestions about crowd dynamics and conflict are extremely thought provoking.

3.3. Conclusion

Reicher starts his analysis of crowd behaviour with a case study, introduced by a literature review. Ideas from the review are used to inform events described in the case study, in order to develop hypotheses about crowd behaviour. While he provides an interesting model of crowd behaviour in terms of social identity and self-categorisation, the extent to which his conclusions are supported by the evidence is questionable.

4. References

Babbie, E R (2010) The Practice of Social Research (12th edn), Cengage Learning, USA.
Berkowitz, L (1968) ‘The Study of Urban Violence: Some Implications of Laboratory Studies of Frustration and Aggression’, American Behavioral Scientist, 11:4.
Denzin, N. (1970) The research act, Aldine, Chicago
Dollard, J, Doob, L W, Miller, N E, Mowrer, O H and Sears, R R (1939) Frustration and Aggression, Yale University Press, New Haven, USA
Lorenz, K (1966) On Aggression, Harcourt, Brace and World, USA.
Reicher, S D (1996) ’The Battle of Westminster‘: developing the social identity model of crowd behaviour in order to explain the initiation and development of collective conflict’, European Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 115-134.
Turner, J C (1982) ‘Towards a cognitive definition of the social group’, In H. Tajfel (Ed.), Social identity and intergroup relations, Maison des Sciences de 1’Homme / Cambridge University Press, Paris / Cambridge.
Turner, J, Hogg, M, Oakes, P Reicher, S and Wetherell, M (1987) Rediscovering the social group, Blackwell, Oxford.
Turner, R and Killian, L (1987) Collective behaviour (3rd ed), Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, USA

Free Essays

The problems with provocation as a defence to murder: Has the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provided a solution to those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome?


The law surrounding murder appears to be more favourable to men than women because of limited defences that are available. The provocation defence has been criticised for some time for failing to allow a loss of self-control to be included if it did not happen ‘sudden and temporary’[1]. This was rectified by the new provisions that were recently introduced under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, yet further complications have now arisen and women are still finding it difficult to rely on the defence[2]. This is especially so when it comes to victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome who now have to face a number of different obstacles when establishing their loss of self-control.

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Background Information

There currently exists no specific offence of domestic violence in English criminal law. Instead, reliance is placed upon the fatal and non-fatal offences that are used to prosecute interpersonal violence conducted by a stranger[1]. In spite of this, the law has evolved over the years to take account of the position domestic violence victims find themselves in. The abolition of the exemption to marital rape in 1991 was a significant advancement in protecting domestic violence victims as the rights of wives began to be recognised[2]. The development of the provocation defence, placed on a statutory footing by s. 3 of the Homicide Act 1957, also illustrated how the law and judicial attitudes began to take account of the experiences of those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome. This did not prove enough, however, and the defence of provocation was subject to a significant amount of criticism for failing to provide adequate protection to certain domestic violence victims[3]. A lack of consistency existed in the appeal courts when applying the defence and it was argued that much gender bias still existed[4]. It was believed that the defence was more favourable to those who lost their temper suddenly (men) and disadvantaged those who kill out of fear of serious violence (women)[5]. The loss of self-control defence, which came into force in October 2010, was introduced by s. 54 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to rectify these problems, yet it is arguable whether this has been achieved. Much critique still surrounds the new defence and it is felt that the Act does not necessarily provide a solution to those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome[6]. The extent to which the new legislation addresses the issues surrounding provocation will be reviewed in this dissertation in order to consider whether the interests of domestic violence victims are being better protected.

1.2 Research Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives of this dissertation are to determine whether the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 has successfully addressed the issues that surrounded the defence of provocation. This will enable a determination to be made as to whether victims of domestic violence are now able to raise the defence of loss of self-control more easily and whether better protection is now being provided to those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome. The development of case law concerning provocation will be critically analysed in order to understand the effectiveness of the new loss of control defence.

1.3 Research Problem

Although the introduction of a new loss of control defence was intended to rectify this area of the law, it seems as though additional problems now exist. Under the old law, women did not receive the protection they required when raising the defence of provocation. Those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome were being discriminated against because of the requirements of the defence. Thus, it needed to be satisfied that there existed a ‘sudden and temporary loss of control’ for the defence to be successful. This was extremely difficult for women to prove as they were less likely than men to lose their control in a sudden and temporary manner. As a result, it seemed as though men benefited from this defence a lot more than women did which was highly discriminatory. The new ‘loss of control’ defence appears to be a lot more favourable to women on the basis that it is no longer a requirement to show that that the loss of control was ‘sudden and temporary’. However, there are still many concerns as to whether the new provisions do actually remove the pre-existing discrimination. Arguably, vast improvements have been made to this area of the law, though many underlying issues still exist which signifies that gender discrimination is still prevalent in the law of murder. Consequently, changes still need to be made if the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 is to provide a solution to those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome.

Chapter 2: Methodology

2.1 Structure of Dissertation

The literature review will be structured into three different chapters. The first chapter will provide a review of the law of provocation and the problems that were associated with the defence. The second chapter will state the law as it currently stands, whilst also providing a critical evaluation of whether those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome are being adequately protected. The third chapter will discuss what improvements to the law need to be made to ensure that victims are being provided with the protection they require. The conclusion and recommendation sections will provide a summary of the findings and any suggestions for reform.

2.2 Research Questions

Do the changes provided by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provide a solution to those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome?

Has the pre-existing discrimination been removed by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009?

How does the new law accommodate women?

Does this area of the law require further changes to improve the protection that women are currently being afforded?

2.3 Research Ethics

A secondary research approach is being used in this dissertation which means that there are few ethical issues that need to be taken into account. Nevertheless, it must be ensured that all data is used in a true and honest manner and that its adequately reflects the views put forward. Consent may also be required because as put forward by Grinyer; “codes of ethical conduct suggest that consent obtained from participants at the point of data collection should not be ‘once-and–for-all’ and renewed consent is necessary for secondary analysis”[1]. The use of secondary data is a lot more efficient and cost effective that using primary data and will allow data to be obtained that would not otherwise be available.

2.4 Research Philosophy and Approach

Positivism is the research philosophy to be used in this dissertation. Positivist research is about obtaining knowledge, using scientific methods of inquiry, from an objective viewpoint. This is best way that the information required for this dissertation can be obtained This is the most appropriate way to gather information relating to this topic as it allows one to remain detached from the research and is thus a “commonsensical way of conducting research”[1]. This research philosophy is supported by secondary research in that various views and opinions on the new loss of control defence will be obtained. Furthermore, quantitative research methods will also support the positivist approach by allowing the adequacy of the law in this area to be explained through the use of supporting evidence.

2.5 Data Collection and Analysis

Data will be collected from text books, journal articles, online and offline legal databases, law reports and governmental reports. Evidence that is supportive of and which discredits the research question will be used as this will enable a proper explanation to be given as to the effectiveness of the new Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Once this has been done, any possible reforms will then be capable of being identified. Although secondary data is convenient and less time consuming, restrictions will still exist. One of the main restrictions being that the research will not be directly applicable to the research question. Nevertheless, the data that will be used will be of a high standard because of how good the quality of secondary data is. Secondary data will thus be more reliable and better attainable than primary data.

2.6 Key Words


Battered Women’s Syndrome

Sudden and Temporary Loss

Loss of Control


Domestic Violence

Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Chapter 3: Literature Review

3.1 Law of Provocation

3.1.1 Introduction

The common law defence of provocation was subject to a great deal of criticism before it was abolished and replaced by a defence of loss of control under the Coroners and Justice Act (CJA) 2009. Many believed that the law surrounding this partial defence to murder was inadequate and thus in need of reform. It remains to be seen whether the changes have improved the law within this area but given the difficulties associated with provocation, the Act is likely to have a significant effect. This section will review the defence of provocation in order to consider the extent to which reforms were needed.

3.1.2 Critique of Provocation Defence

The law surrounding the common law defence of provocation was considered “inherently contradictory”[1] by the Law Commission and thus in need of reform. Many argued that the defence was largely inconsistent and inadequate[2], thereby lacking clarity and precision. As put by the Home Office; “it is over 50 years since the last comprehensive review of the law on homicide and the time is ripe for another one.”[3] It became apparent that the law relating to homicide was outmoded and in need of re-modification. The Law Commission was consequently instructed by the government to review the different elements of manslaughter to consider its effectiveness. It was stated in the Law Commission’s 2006 Report that the law regarding manslaughter was a lot more complex than the law surrounding murder because of its extensive nature. Hence, it was noted that manslaughter is “extremely broad, ranging in its gravity from the borders of murder right down to those of accidental death”[1]. The provocation defence was particularly confusing because of its lack of clear definition as to its actual meaning[2]. Whilst it was provided under s. 3 of the Homicide Act 1957 that “the defendant must lose his self-control”, it was difficult to determine what it means for an individual to lose their self-control. Some case law did attempt to provide clarity to this area, yet this added even further confusion to the mix. In R v Duffy[3] it was held that the loss of control must be ‘sudden and temporary’. This received a lot of criticism for being more favourable to men than women as men were said to be more likely to have a “sudden and temporary” loss than women[4]. As a result of this, it was extremely difficult for women to rely on the provocation defence when they were suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome.

This was clarified by the Law Commission in consultation paper No 177 when they stated that the loss of self-control requirement is extremely bias towards individuals who have a quick temper. This was clearly problematic for women who often suffered a slow burn effect when being subjected to domestic violence[5]. An example of this can be seen in the case of R v Ahluwalia[6] where the defendant poured petrol and caustic soda onto her husband while he was sleeping and then set fire to him. The defendant was in an arranged marriage and had been subjected to violence and abuse throughout the marriage. The defendant’s husband was also having an affair and had threatened the defendant on the night of the killing that he would beat her with an iron if she did not provide him with money. The defendant was convicted of murder and her defence of provocation failed on the grounds that the loss of self-control was not ‘sudden and temporary’. This decision caused a public outcry and it became even more obvious that the law of provocation was in need of reform. It was said that women were unlikely to act in a sudden and temporary manner and that some form of pre-meditation was evident[7]. As women are generally not as strong as men, it is likely that they would be too frightened to act in a sudden and temporary manner. It would be a lot more

difficult for a woman to stand up to an abusive partner by lashing out and so it is more probable that some form of pre-meditation would be involved. Since the decision in Duffy, less reliance was being placed on the provocation defence and women were looking to other defences to reduce the offence of murder to manslaughter, such as diminished responsibility[1]. Arguably, the law surrounding voluntary manslaughter was in a state of disarray as a great deal of uncertainty was being produced.

3.1.3 Conclusion

Overall, improvements to the law on provocation were clearly needed as a great deal of confusion persisted. Women were not being treated as favourable to men when it came to establishing a defence of provocation, thereby resulting in discrimination. Much critique thus surrounded this area of the law and it was becoming even more difficult for women to establish this defence if there involved any form of pre-meditation. Women suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome were particularly disadvantaged and further changes were inevitable. Although recent changes to the law have been made, it is still pretty much questionable whether all of these problems have been eliminated. Such changes will be reviewed in the following sub-chapters.

3.2 Loss of Control Defence

3.2.1 Introduction

It seems as though women were not receiving the protection they required under the previous law as a great deal of prejudice existed between men and women when it came to establishing the defence of provocation. Victims of domestic violence and those suffering from battered women’s syndrome were discriminated against because of the fact that the defence of provocation required that there be a sudden and temporary loss of self-control. Women found it more difficult than men to demonstrate that they had acted sudden and temporary, especially if there was some element of pre-mediation involved. Much injustice occurred as a result of this and it became apparent that reforms were inevitable. A loss of control defence was introduced under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to rectify these problems and remove the prejudice that surrounded this area. Despite this, criticisms still arise leaving it unclear whether a solution to those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s

syndrome has been provided by the new Act. This section will review the new Act in order to consider whether it is now more favourable to domestic violence victims and those suffering from battered women’s syndrome.

3.2.2 Loss of Control Defence: Arguments For

Women have been subjected to discriminatory treatment for a number of years when it came to establishing a defence of provocation. Since the provocation defence was abolished in 2010, however, it has been said that women are now receiving much better treatment in that they are now able to raise a defence of provocation if they lose their self-control as a result of domestic abuse. There is no longer the requirement that the loss of self-control be ‘sudden and temporary’, which does appear to have removed any pre-existing discrimination. Previously, it needed to be shown that the defendant lost their self-control as a result of things that were said or done. This is no longer a requirement and instead it has to be shown that the defendant lost his or her self-control as a result of qualifying triggers (subjective test). It also has to be shown that a person with a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint would have acted in the same manner (objective test). In applying the objective test, the person that is being compare must be of the same age and sex as the defendant. This prevents any prejudice as a woman’s actions will be compared to those of another woman. And, because a woman is likely to react in a different way to a man, the person that is being used for the objective test must be someone that correlates with the defendant, in terms of age and sex. If the comparator was not someone who was of the same age and sex, it is likely that the pre-existing discriminations would remain. The Law Commission did not agree with this part of the new law and instead felt that it was in fact inappropriate to take into account a person’s sex[1]. The Law Commission believed that men and women share the same standards of tolerance and that any element of subjectivity could potentially be used inappropriately. It was also said the use of an objective test does not place an undue on the defence as tolerable people can too lose their self-control[2].

Whilst this may be true, it seems that women would still be discriminated against if the Law Commission had got their own way. Women would be judged in the same way as a man would, which would again be problematic. This is because, women do not have the same sensitivities as men, who are likely to react to certain situations in different ways. It is

arguable why the Law Commission did not think that sex was an important factor to consider when applying the objective test as they were strongly against the pre-existing gender-bias. Still, the views of the Law Commission were rejected by the Ministry of Justice who believed that there approach would not protect sufficiently protect women[1]. Not all agree with the decision of the Ministry of Justice, however, and instead believe that they were mistaken in incorporating sex into the evaluative standard[2]. This was identified by Reed and Bohlander who pointed out that the use of sex as an evaluative standard “unnecessarily refracts and reinforces stereotypes that men and women differ in their ability to control their behaviour”[3]. They believed that in deciding whether the defendant lost his or her self-control, sex should only be considered “under the partial defence of loss of control as part of the positioning of the hypothetical person within the wider ‘circumstances’ of the defendant”[4]. It was believed that this would prevent stereotyping from occurring, though it is likely that pre-existing gender biases would have been maintained. Previously, a loss of self-control was constrained to a state of anger and rage. This was one of the main reasons why discrimination against women occurred as the Act was likely to benefit men a lot more than women. Conversely, this now appears to have been rectified as it is provided under section 55(3) of the 2009 Act that the first qualifying triggers are to be defined as a “loss of self-control attributable to the defendant’s fear of serious violence from the victim against the defendant or another identified person”.

These provisions do appear more favourable towards women, meaning that it is not more likely that women will be capable of relying upon this defence. This is likely to be a welcoming development to victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome who are more likely to rely on the provocation defence if they find themselves killing their abusive partners after a long period of abuse. This is more commonly known as the “slow burn effect”[5] and usually involves a certain degree of pre-mediation. Whether this provides a solution to such victims is questionable but it is evident that it certainly protects them a lot more than the previous law did. Defendants no longer need to demonstrate that they have acted on a whim and instead their actions can involve some form of pre-mediation. This is far

more favourable to domestic violence victims and those suffering battered women’s syndrome who are less likely to act in a spontaneous manner for lack of physical strength. Such victims would be more likely to wait until their abusive partner was asleep before acting out of rage as they simply do not have the same physical strength as men and would unlikely be successful if they acted on a whim. This is especially so for those victims suffering the slow burn effect as they would have time to plan an attack, through years of domestic abuse. This was not taken into account under the previous law and women who suffered at the hands of their abusive partners for a period of years, where not able to raise the defence of provocation, whereas males whom acted on impulse without being a victim of domestic abuse could. This was clearly absurd and highly unfair towards women, which is what the new law has sought to redress. It cannot be said that the new law provides an answer for all those women suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome as the particular circumstances and facts of the case will still be taken into consideration.

In addition, the “slow burn defence will still have a high threshold”[1], preventing anyone from relying on the defence. This ensures that “cold, calculating killers”[2] are not able to use the defence to escape criminal liability for their actions. Hence, it is important to remember that whilst the defence is welcoming in providing better protection to women, it will not provide a defence in every situation and will not always provide a solution to victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome. Despite this, significant improvements have been made under the Act, which are more accommodating to women. Section 54 (2) of the new Act removed the ‘suddenness’ requirement, thus enabling those who failed to act suddenly the ability to rely on the defence. It was said that the ‘suddenness’ requirement had “long been a hindrance for women whose experience of provocation was being described as more akin to a ‘boiling over’ than the male ‘snap’ response.”[3] The removal of this requirement is clearly advantageous for those who are less prone to snapping after an incident has occurred and more likely to dwell on the situation and react later on. It became apparent from the cases of R v Duffy[4] and R v Thornton[5] that if any delays in responding to a particular situation would be viewed unfavourably if an attempt to rely on the provocation

defence was being made. This is due to the fact that the loss of self-control had to have happened suddenly, which was not a realistic prospect when it came to women defendants. As this requirement has now been removed, it is likely that women will be able to use the defence to their advantage a lot more than they would have been able to previously. The new law seems to accommodate victims of domestic violence and those suffering from battered women’s syndrome who are forced to delay their reactions out of fear.

Although defendants will be able to demonstrate that they acted out of fear, this alone will not be sufficient for the loss of control defence to be successful. Instead, a number of additional qualifying triggers will also have to be satisfied. The test to be used for establishing whether any qualifying triggers were present will be a subjective one that is based upon whether the defendants lost their control out of a serious fear of violence or whether it was in fact attributable to things that had been said or done, that were grave in nature. It cannot be shown that the defendant had provoked the actions to be caused as this will otherwise negate both of the qualifying triggers. This ensures that defendants who cause a person to provoke them are not able to then rely on the loss of control when things get out of hand. This also allows the decision to be made based upon the particular facts and circumstances of the case, preventing the pre-existing discrimination from determining the outcome of the case. There has, nonetheless, been a great deal of confusion as to whether sexual infidelity can be considered a qualifying trigger, although this issue seems to have been addressed in R v Clinton, Parker, Evans[1]. Here, the courts questioned whether sexual infidelity should amount to a qualifying trigger in cases that involved other qualifying triggers[2]. The judge held that sexual infidelity could only be considered as part of the contextual background if other triggers were present and that it must be excluded if it is the only qualifying trigger in the case. Not everyone agreed with this approach and instead argued that sexual infidelity should not be taken into account when deciding whether the defendant lost his or her self-control[3]. Critique still surrounds the new defence and it has been noted that; “upon close analysis these changes could seem little more than a glossy exterior”[4].

Further clarity is therefore needed so as to prevent any pre-existing discrimination and

confusion from arising and it is important to understand what ‘qualifying triggers’ can be used under the defence. Furthermore, although the exclusion of sexual infidelity, in many ways, prevents the defence from being abused it seems to ignore the possibility that other acts of gross provocation may occur. For example, a defendant may feel they have been shamed by the act of a family member and therefore undertake an honour killing[1]. They may then seek to rely on the loss of control defence and use this situation as a qualifying trigger. This would open the flood gates dramatically and give rise to even further complexity. Arguably, there are still many underlying issues that exist under the new defence and it remains to be seen whether these will be addressed. Defendants who find themselves losing their self-control may find that it is actually a lot more difficult to rely on the new provisions than they would have thought. As such, it cannot be said that the new Act does actually provide a solution for domestic violence victims and those suffering battered women’s syndrome as they may find that the qualifying triggers do not apply. Much difficulty exists when trying to differentiate between cases involving a real motive for revenge as a result of domestic abuse and those cases where the defendant loses his or her self-control days after abuse has occurred. This is because, as noted by Carline; “acting due to a fear of serious violence defence is not about a loss of self-control but based upon a recognition that some domestic violence victims live in desperate situations in which extreme fatal action may seem to be the only means by which to survive”[2]. It is unconscionable that such victims are not able to seek to protection under the law, yet those that act in a sudden rage are.

Given that the new provisions seek to rectify such discrepancies, it seems as though they do actually provide a new solution for many victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome. Though problems will continue to arise for those women that cannot demonstrate that they have lost their self-control. Not all victims lose their self-control when provoked and so the defence will not be relied upon in all instances. This is unfair towards those that have been provoked for many years and, who do not lose their self-control, but feel that this is their only way out. It is questionable why the government retained the “loss of self-control” phrase when it continues to be viewed negatively. For a defence of provocation to be successful, the defendant had to show that they were in fear and desperation, yet in order for the loss of self-control defence to be successful, the defendant merely has to show that he or

she was angry. Those acting in fear should be provided with the same protection as those acting from anger because as has been put forward; “Fear, too, can undermine self-control and is a more likely response to provocation in cases where the provoker is the more powerful”[1]. As domestic violence victims and battered women are more likely to act out of fear, this should be considered an important factor when deciding whether reliance can be placed upon the new defence. Because the new defence, is called a ‘loss of control’ defence, it appears to be largely misunderstood. This was one of the main criticisms the old provocation defence was often subject to[2], which is why it is difficult to understand why this term is still being used under the new provisions. As recognised by Gerry; “The law of provocation concentrated on the fact that control was lost. It was seen as too lenient on those who kill out of anger and too severe on those who kill out of fear of violence.”[3]

Whilst the new provisions are quite lenient in terms of the removal of the ‘suddenness’ requirement, the use of qualifying triggers is restricted. For example, adultery was previously capable of being taken into account when deciding whether control was lost, but under the new law this can no longer be taken into consideration. In effect, there are many ways in which the new provisions do provide a solution to domestic violence victims and those suffering battered women’s syndrome, yet many restrictions still exists. Overall, it is clear that the law of murder has been less accommodating to women for a significant period of time. This is due to the fact that women often found it difficult to demonstrate that they had a sudden and temporary loss of self-control. As this suddenness requirement has now been removed under the new provisions, it does appear as though the new Act is more accommodating to women, thus providing a solution for domestic violence victims and those suffering battered women’s syndrome. Women are now required to demonstrate that either; a) the loss of control resulted from a serious fear of violence, or b) that the loss of control was attributable to things said or done which were grave in nature. If either of these can be satisfied, the defendant will be able to rely on the defence and have the offence of murder reduced to manslaughter. Criticism still surrounds the new provisions because of the fact that the loss of control image that has been portrayed is one of anger. This is not as easy to

establish as the fear element since women will not usually react to a situation in anger to things that have been said or done. Instead women will act out of fear, which places greater reliance upon the first part of the defence, which may not always be easy to do.

3.2.3 Loss of Control Defence: Arguments Against

There has been a significant amount of criticism that has surrounded the new loss of control defence since it was first introduced by the Corners and Justice Act 2009. It has been argued that the Act was not enough to remove the pre-existing discrimination towards women and that a great deal of prejudice still existed. In effect, it seems that although many improvements have been made under the new provisions problems still arise and women are still likely to be discriminated against regardless of the fact that the ‘suddenness’ requirement has been removed. The qualifying triggers that are required under the Act are considerably restrictive and it seems rather confusing to relate a trigger to a particular situation. In deciding whether a defendant has lost their self-control, the court will have to apply one of the qualifying triggers to the particular situation. This can often lead to a great deal of complexity because of the uncertainty as to what many of the qualifying triggers actually entail. Under the previous law, any type of conduct could be taken into account by the court when determining whether a defendant had in fact lost their self-control. However, under the law many restrictions now apply. For example, s. 55 of the 2009 Act states that a qualifying trigger may only relate to “D’s fear of serious violence” (s. 55(3)) or “a thing said or done which constituted circumstances of an extremely grave character and caused D to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged” (s. 55(4)). Other restrictions can also be found in ss. 55(6) (a) and (b), where instances of sexual infidelity and provocation resulting from the defendants owns actions cannot be used as a qualifying trigger. Although this does restrict the use of the defence, it is important that it is not made to readily available as this could lead to cold calculated killers escaping criminal liability on the basis that they were provoked to lose their self-control in some way or another.

In spite of this, the sexual infidelity restriction has caused a great deal of concern on the basis that it represents a major change in the law of murder. The aim of excluding this from the list of qualifying triggers was to prevent loss of control being used as an excuse for crimes involving passion. It was thought that the previous defence of provocation was capable of being used in this way and that infidelity should not be used an excuse for individuals to

commit murder in a civilised society[1]. If sexual infidelity was capable of being used as an excuse to murder, the floodgates would be opened significantly and more individuals would end up killing their partners as a result of infidelity. This would be completely unacceptable and should not be permissible in a civilised society. Arguably, it is thereby imperative that some restrictions are in place to prevent problems like this from occurring, though these should not be too restrictive so as to maintain pre-existing discrimination. The Court of Appeal recently dealt with the issue of sexual infidelity in the case of R v Clinton, Parker, Evans[2]. Here, the extent to which qualifying trigger of sexual infidelity was to be excluded in the new loss of control defence was considered. In doing so, it was held that sexual infidelity is capable of being considered as part of the contextual background of a case only if other triggers were also present. In effect, this meant that sexual infidelity could only be excluded if it was the only trigger available. Therefore, it could still be used in the case to decide whether the defendant had in fact lost his or her self-control. This is likely to cause some confusion since it appears under the new provisions that this trigger cannot be used at all, yet the court made it clear that it can be taken into account as part of the contextual background of the particular case.

This does appear to make sense as it would be difficult for a court to make a decision based on the facts of the case if it could not take into account sexual infidelity if it had occurred. Much critique has surrounded this decision on the grounds that; “the court failed to grasp the actual workings of the new law as sexual infidelity should cannot be considered under any of the prongs of the new defence”[3]. It could be said that the court was wrong to consider sexual infidelity as a qualifying trigger on the basis that this is not what the new law intended, and that as a result the new provisions have not proven workable. Furthermore, because sexual infidelity was the main dominating trigger in the case the court should have erred on the side of caution so as to not trigger others from seeking to rely on the defence. It cannot be said that the pre-existing discrimination has been completely removed by the new loss of control defence and has resultantly been said to completely ignore “the feminist aims behind the legislation”[4]. It could be argued that a narrower interpretation of the qualifying triggers should have been given so that sexual infidelity cannot be relied upon under the defence.

Although, it looks as though an attempt to exclude sexual infidelity was made by the new law, this has not actually happened. It is questionable what has actually been achieved by the new provisions if women are still capable of being subjected to discriminatory treatment. Furthermore, it cannot be said that the 2009 Act has provided a solution to those suffering from domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome as women are less likely than men to lose their self-control as a result of sexual infidelity[1]. As a result of this, the new defence remains largely male dominated, which is not in accordance with the original objectives of the 2009 Act. As pre-existing discrimination still exists in favour of men, the aims of the 2009 Act have not been fulfilled and women are still being treated unfavourably to men.

Removing sexual infidelity from the list of qualifying triggers has not achieved its purpose as the trigger is still being used in many instances, as in R v Clinton above. The reason why this trigger was removed in the first place was to prevent cases from being decided on the grounds of sexual infidelity. As this is still capable of being done, the original intentions have been discredited. The current law as it stands appears to be in a state of disarray as a result of this and it seems as though the sexual infidelity trigger should be completely removed so as to avoid confusion. On the other hand, the case of Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 23 of 2011) (R v Williams (Sanchez))[2] demonstrated the importance of not using sexual infidelity as a qualifying trigger when determining whether a defendant has lost his or her self-control. Here, it was made clear that sexual infidelity should not be used as a deciding factor when making a decision though it is questionable whether this will be followed in all cases. Judges will be able to act in a prejudicial manner by giving more weight to the sexual infidelity trigger than they should. The new loss of control defence thereby appears flawed in that the discrimination against women than existed under the provocation defence is still prevalent throughout the 2009 Act. Whether changes will be made in the near future, remains to be seen but it seems as though the courts will be faced with great difficult in cases where sexual infidelity is present. Not all would agree that sexual infidelity should be removed as a qualifying trigger, nonetheless, and would instead argue that it provides one with a valid reason to lose their self-control. This is certainly the position that has been taken in Scotland where sexual infidelity is capable of being used as a qualifying trigger.

An example of this can be seen in the Scottish case of Drury v HM Advocate[1] when it was held that; “sexual infidelity could constitute provocation as well as the usual violent situations because of overwhelming emotions on discovery of sexual infidelity”. In view of this case, it has been questioned why it is right for an act or admission of sexual infidelity to be “completely excluded south of the border?”[2] when it can lead to overwhelming emotions on discovery. However, as illustrated in R v Clinton case; sexual infidelity can be taken into account if it forms an “essential part of the context in which to make a just evaluation as to whether an ostensible qualifying trigger satisfied the partial defence”. There are a number of different components that comprise the loss of control defence and sexual infidelity may well consist of one of those components, albeit not singlehandedly. This is somewhat confusing as it was supposed to be a disqualified trigger, yet how can it be disqualified if it can be included in the decision making process. Further clarity is needed in this area of the law if women are to receive the protection they require under the new law. The case of R v Dowds[3] was heard the same time as the R v Clinton case, though a different approach was adopted by the court. Here, it was highlighted that an extremely restrictive view should be made of the qualifying triggers and that sexual infidelity should not be taken into account deciding on whether a defendant lost his or her self-control. It was said that if sexual infidelity was taken into account when determining whether this defence could be relied upon, injustice would be created. Prohibiting the sexual infidelity from being used as a qualifying trigger has proven complex and signifies the need for further clarity. Because sexual infidelity may be pertinent to the facts of any given case, injustice would be created if it was completely excluded[4].

Therefore, it is important that it can be given some consideration during the decision making process. The extent of how much weight should be given to this trigger raises further issues, which is why it is integral that this area of the law is given some clarity. In doing, it needs to be ensured that a balance is struck between the interests of both men and women. It is likely to prove difficult to correct the current imbalance that exists, though it is evident that some attempts are being made. Reform to this area of the law has been needed for some time, yet the new changes do not appear to have gone far enough in rectifying the pre-existing discrimination and providing a solution to victims of domestic violence and battered women’s

syndrome. As has been argued by Hill; “partial and incremental reforms of this kind risk complicating the existing system when what is needed is comprehensive and coherent reform of the type suggested by the Law Commission”[1]. Since the problems that surrounded the old provocation defence still exist under the new defence, it is arguable whether the new defence is merely a justification or excuse for murder. The defence still appears to be favourable towards those who kill as a result of losing their temper suddenly as opposed to killing out of fear and serious violence[2]. Moreover, because sexual infidelity is still capable of being used as a qualifying trigger, the defence can be used as an excuse for crimes of passion[3]. Conversely, it has been contended that the new defence makes demonstrates that a defendant’s sense of grievance will not provide him or her with an excuse to use violence and that a killing that arises out of sexual infidelity alone will not allow an offence of murder to be reduced to manslaughter[4].

Regardless, further difficulties are still presented by the requirement that the capacity for self-control is to be decided on objective grounds[5]. This is now expressed as the defendant’s ‘tolerance’ and ‘restraint’ and is likely to lead to the discrimination of women on the basis that women have different tolerance levels to men. Women’s’ loss of self-control should not be determined in the same way as men’s is as they are unlikely to react in a similar manner. This will result in victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome from being treated unfairly and less reliance will be capable of being placed upon the defence. Under the new system, women are being subjected to unfairness as they will have to overcome a number of obstacles before reliance can be placed upon the defence. Moreover, it has also been questioned whether the degree of force that is being used by the defendant is objectively excessive[6]. A defendant may be deprived of using the defence if an ordinary person with a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint would not have acted in the same manner and used excessive force in a similar situation. This is clearly unfair towards women and

demonstrates how the pre-existing discrimination of women is still prevalent under the new provisions. This should be amended so that the test is a subjective one rather than an objective one as it cannot be said that individuals would react the same way to any given situation. Any inconsistencies that currently exist would be removed if the degree of force that was used by the defendant was compared to someone of the same sex and characteristic of the defendant. This would remove the pre-existing discrimination and would provide domestic violence victims and those suffering from battered women’s syndrome with greater protection.

Another issue that exists under the 2009 Act can be seen in relation to s. 54(c). Under this section, it is a requirement that the jury consider the surrounding facts and circumstances of the case when deciding whether the use of force was excessive or not. Whilst it is important for the Court to take all factors into account so that a proper decision can be made, it has been said that the focus shifts from the characteristics of the defendant onto the circumstances leading up to the offence[1]. Again, this discriminates against women as the personal psychological characteristics will not be given relevant weight and more focus will be on the circumstances surrounding the offence as opposed to the individual concerned. As the personal psychological characteristics will be an important factor for the courts when deciding whether or not the defendant lost his or her self-control, it is important that this is being given due consideration. At present, it appears somewhat unreasonable that greater focus is being placed upon the surrounding circumstances as this is likely to disadvantage women who may have personal psychological characteristics that led to the killing taking place. Reform to this area of the law is still needed if the current imbalance is to be rectified and women are to be protected.

3.2.4 Conclusion

Overall, it is clear that rather than provide a solution to domestic violence victims and those suffering battered women’s syndrome, the 2009 Act appears is still rather discriminatory towards women and favourable to men. It was originally hoped that making the new changes under the Act, women would receive adequate protection. This does not appear to have been achieved and instead it appears as though women are still being largely discriminated against. Despite this, there are some issues that have been addressed by the new Act such as the

removal of the suddenness requirement, though much unfairness still exists. In effect, it cannot be said that the Act is accommodating to women and the original objectives of the Act are not being fully achieved. Many of the requirements that were contained in the old provocation defence are still prevalent within the new provisions, albeit a lot more restrictive. It could be said that the new Act is thereby ineffective and that women will still find it difficult to rely on the Act when they find themselves losing their self-control. The number of women who will receive a murder conviction as opposed to a manslaughter conviction will continue to be high and women will most likely have to rely on other defences in order to receive a reduced sentence, such as diminished responsibility. Even though the suddenness requirement was one of the main criticisms that surrounded the previous law, the fact that this has now been removed appears to do little to protect domestic violence victims and those suffering battered women’s syndrome. Many of the other requirements under the Act are still being deemed unfair, which results from the confusion surrounding the disqualified triggers caused by the R v Clinton case. Consequently, it is important that more clarity is provided to this area of the law so that the pre-existing gender bias can be removed. If some of the objective tests are replaced with subjective tests, it is likely that women will be given greater protection. This will allow the characteristics of the individual to be taken into account which will inevitably protect victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome.

3.3 Improvements to the Law of Murder

It is clear that improvements still need to be made to the law of murder as the 2009 Act does not appear to be very accommodating to women and seems to do little to remove any of the pre-existing discrimination that existed. As a result of this, it cannot be said that the 2009 Act does actually provide a solution to victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome and so further change is needed. Given that the exclusion of sexual infidelity as a qualifying trigger was a central development that was provided by the Act, further clarity is needed. Hence, the court in R v Clinton appeared to demonstrate that this particular factor could be used as a qualifying trigger even though the Act seemed to say otherwise. This has produced uncertainty to this area and highlighting the need for greater clarity. It will now be difficult to determine when sexual infidelity can be taken into account by the court and how much weight should be attached to this qualifying trigger. It has been said in view of the Clinton decision that the “consequence of imprecise and unworkable terminology has been to open the door to undeserving defendants in a manner that Parliament never intended and which is wider than that which operated under the law of provocation”[1]. Arguably, this issues is in dire need of being addressed so as to prevent undeserving defendants from relying on the defence. This was not the intentions of parliament and signifies how the court in Clinton may have widened the scope of the new law further than was anticipated. In previous cases, sexual infidelity was always viewed with caution by courts when deciding on whether a defendant had been provoked into losing their self-control. As a result of this, it is rather surprising why this qualifying trigger appears to have been re-introduced by the Clinton decision.

For example, in R v Alexandra[2] the provocation defence was unsuccessful when it was found that the victim had told the defendant two hours prior to the killing that she was going to live with someone else. The court in R v Holmes[3] demonstrated that a wife’s sexual infidelity was not deemed sufficient enough to provoke the defendant into losing his self-control and that the provocation defence could not be relied upon as a result. In addition, it was also held in R v Smith (Morgan)[4] that; “male possessiveness and jealousy would not today be an acceptable reason for loss of self-control leading to homicide”. These cases illustrate how sexual infidelity was looked upon unfavourably, yet the new law now appears to allow this to be taken into consideration provided that there exist additional qualifying triggers. Arguably, it could be said that this is necessary in making sure that a defendants argument is not completely disregarded when sexual infidelity is found, yet the extent to which this trigger should be taken into account does need explaining further. The position in the previous law was sufficiently clear in this respect, yet there now exists more confusion than ever. The wording of the clause dealing with sexual infidelity has been considered “clumsy, rigid and barely workable”[5] on the basis that it seems to have taken a ‘one size fits all’ approach. It states; “the fact that things done or said [i.e. the qualifying trigger] constituted sexual infidelity is to be disregarded”. Exactly what amounts to ‘sexual infidelity’ is not discussed, which leaves its meaning open to debate. It is likely that sexual infidelity will be given a number of different meanings, rendering the definition broad. It is questionable whether the meaning of ‘sexual infidelity’ should be narrowly construed since

this will allow defendants to rely on the defence when their partners have ended their relationship and then started another one with a different person.

If the definition was not being interpreted narrowly, a defendant would be able to argue that they lost their self- control as a result of their ex-partners new sexual conduct. It is unacceptable for a defendant to escape a murder conviction on this basis and unless the difficulties that surround this part of the Act are rectified, it is likely that undeserving defendants will be protected. The Act should not be accommodating for such defendants given the difficulty it is for women to establish that they lost their self-control as this is clearly unjust. In addition, because there are varying degrees of sexual unfaithfulness which produce different outcomes, a subjective approach ought to be taken as opposed to an objective one. Women defendants are most likely to react to certain situations differently to men and each situation will have varying degrees of qualifying triggers. Situations will differ substantially from the next, which makes the objective approach unjustifiable. Given that it will be difficult to remove the sexual infidelity factor from a course of events triggering a loss of self-control, courts should be able to take this into account. Yet, restrictions ought to apply so that excessive weight is not being placed upon this factor alone. Because the clause dealing with sexual infidelity is so “unclear and impractical”[1] that it leads to a great deal of confusion, reform is needed to clarify its position under the new law. At present, defendants are likely to find is easier to submit a defence that involves sexual infidelity than they would previously, when this is the opposite of what Parliament intended. In consequence, it has been asserted that this has “created the worst of both worlds”[2]. It is evident that this area of the law is in a state of disarray and whilst the new provisions did attempt to provide better protection to women, it cannot be said that this has been done.

Chapter 4: Recommendations and Conclusion

4.1 Recommendations

It is recommended that changes are made to this area of the law so that clarity and precision is contained within it. At present, there is a lot of confusion that surrounds the exclusion of sexual infidelity as a qualifying trigger. The position under the previous law appeared to be a lot clear in this respect on the basis that sexual infidelity could never be taken into accounting

when deciding the defence of provocation. The scope of the new law appears to have been broadened and cases such as R v Clinton have added further confusion to the mix. As a result, it now a lot more difficult to establish when sexual infidelity can be considered as a factor when deciding whether the defendant was triggered into losing his or her self-control. Reforms should make it clear when sexual infidelity can be considered as a factor in any given case and what weight should be placed upon this as a qualifying trigger when other triggers are present. Another change that could be made to improve the law is to use a subjective test when deciding whether the loss of self-control was excessive or not. If an objective test continues to be used, certain characteristics and traits of the defendant will not be taken into account, which will disadvantage women defendants. Women are likely to react to certain situations in a different manner to men, yet if they are being treated the same, great unfairness will ensue. Although sexual infidelity should be able to be used when looking at the factors of each case, restrictions should be in place so that excessive reliance is not being placed upon this as a qualifying trigger. A definition of sexual infidelity should be provided so that confusion does not persist, yet this will most likely prove difficult to achieve. The fact that the new loss of control defence is largely concerned with anger as opposed to fear produces further complexities as women are more likely to act out of fear than anger. This is another area which maintains the pre-existing discrimination and it seems as though the loss of control image should focus more on fear than is does at present. This would make it easier for women to seek protection under the Act and would prevent women being disadvantaged when they act out of fear of serious violence. Rather than providing a solution to victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome it seems as though the new provisions merely reflect the old position and maintain the discriminations that previously existed. It is arguable whether this can ever be changed but some attempt to clarify this area of the law and provide such victims with greater protection is needed.

4.2 Conclusion

The common law defence of provocation was in dire need of reform as it produced much inconsistency and unfairness towards women. Victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome where not receiving the protection they desired under the law and injustice was often being created. The common law defence of provocation was therefore abolished and replaced by the defence of loss of control by virtue of the Coroners and Justice Act (CJA) 2009. The new provisions intended to rectify the inadequacies of the provocation defence and provide victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome with better protection. The reform process began in 2003 as the provocation defence was considered “inherently contradictory”[1] and uncertain[2]. It was extremely difficult to determine what was meant by a ‘loss of self-control’ and because it was held in R v Duffy[3] that the loss of control must be “sudden and temporary,” women were being disadvantaged. This is because men were more likely to have a “sudden and temporary” loss of self-control than women who are more prone to the slow burn effect as in R v Ahluwalia[4]. It was manifest that the law had been in a state of disarray for some time, which led to the introduction of the new loss of control defence in pursuant of the 2009 Act. This Act was implemented after the Government published a consultation paper in 2008 laying down the new provisions[5] and demonstrating the unfairness of the previous law. The defence is provided by s. 54 of the 2009 Act, and ultimately seeks to eliminate the gender bias created by the provocation defence. At first instance, the new provisions did appear to be extremely welcoming in that the ‘suddenness’ requirement was removed and women no longer had to show that their loss of self-control was ‘sudden and temporary’. Given that the suddenness requirement was responsible for a large part of the previous laws failures, it seemed that women were finally receiving the protection they deserved and those who were subject to the ‘slow burn effect’ were being provided with a defence to murder.

However, it seems as though the pre-existing discriminations that existed under the old law were still being maintained under the 2009 Act. The decision in R v Clinton, Parker, Evans[6] was the first important ruling that out the new defence to the test. This case was primarily concerned with the issue of whether sexual infidelity should be excluded from consideration in a case that involved additional qualifying triggers[7]. In the case, the judge held that sexual infidelity could only be considered as part of the contextual background if other triggers were present. As a result of this, it became apparent that sexual infidelity must be excluded if it is the only trigger available. This has caused some confusion since the provisions appeared to completely exclude the trigger, yet the Clinton case has allowed it to be taken into account. Furthermore, because an objective approach is being undertaken, personal psychological factors are not being considered. Again, this disadvantages women whose psychological attributes will most likely have contributed to the killing, especially if they are victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome. Although the new loss of control defence has made some improvements to the law, there still exists much difficulty. This highlights the need for further reform and clarification so that sufficient protection is being provided to women and so that any confusion is removed. It is believed that the decision in Clinton was wrong because of the fact that the new provisions made it clear that sexual infidelity should be completely excluded[1]. Thus, because the court stated that it could be used as a determining factor ambiguity now persists. In order to ensure that women are being better protected and to provide clarity to this area, further changes need to be made that will remove any pre-existing discrimination and provide a solution for victims of domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome when faced with charges of murder resulting from a loss of self-control. It is unlikely that the judiciary alone will be able to provide clarity to this area as there has already been some confusion as to how the new law ought to be applied. This signifies the need for legislative reform if injustice is to be prevented.

Chapter 5: Bibliography

Text Books

Alan Reed and Michael Bohlander, Loss of Control and Diminished Responsibility: Domestic Comparative and International Perspectives, (London: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2013).

Lorraine Blaxter. Christina Hughes and Malcolm Tight. How to Research, (McGraw-Hill International, 3rd Edition, 2007).

Mandy Burton. Legal Responses to Domestic Violence, (London: Routledge, 2008).

Nicola Monaghan, Criminal Law Directions, (London: OUP Oxford, 2nd Edition, 2014).

Claudia Carr and Maureen Johnson. Beginning Criminal Law, (London: Routledge, 2013).

Deborah Lockton and Richard Ward. Domestic Violence, (Leicester: Psychology Press, 1997).

Journal Articles

Adam Jackson and Natalie Wortley. ‘Court of Appeal: Loss of Control and the Normal Person: the Relevance of Self-induced Intoxication’ (2013), Journal of Criminal Law, Volume 77, Issue 4, 292.

Adam Stuart, ‘Changes in the Defence to Murder’ (2010) Criminal Law and Evidence, accessed 15 April September.

Amanda Clough, ‘Loss of Self-Control as a Defence: The Key to Replacing Provocation’ (2010), Journal of Criminal Law, Volume 74, 118 – 126.

Andrew J Ashworth. ‘The Doctrine of Provocation’ (1976) Cambridge Law Journal, Volume 35, Issue 2, 292-320.

Anna Carline, ‘Reforming Provocation: Perspectives from the Law Commission and the Government’ (2009) Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, Volume 2, Issue 2 Web JCLI, 15 September 2014.

Anne Grinyer. ‘The Ethics of the Secondary Analysis and Further Use of Qualitative Data’ (2009), Social Research Update, accessed 30 August 2014.

Anthony Edwards. ‘Changes to the Law on Homicide’ (2013) The Law Society Gazette, accessed 05 September 2014.

David Pallister. ‘New Defence in Domestic Abuse Cases’ (2013), The Guardian, 2008, accessed 11 September 2014.

Dennis J Baker and Lucy X Zhao. ‘Contributory Qualifying and Non-Qualifying Triggers in the Loss of Control Defence: A Wrong Turn on Sexual Infidelity’ (2012) 76 Journal of Criminal Law, Volume 76, Issue 3, 254-275.

Felicity Gerry. ‘Crimes of Passion: R v Clinton’ (2013) Halsbury’s Law Exchange, accessed 15 September 2014.

Felicity Gerry, ‘Scuttlebutt’ (2012) 176 Criminal Law & Justice Weekly 60, Issue 5.

Joanna Miles, ‘The Coroners and Justice Act 2009: A Dog’s Breakfast of Homicide Reform’ (2009) Archbold News 8, Legislative Comment.

New Law Journal. ‘Sudden and Temporary Loss of Control – The Thornton Case’ (1991), New Law Journal, 141 NLJ 133, Issue 6517.

Richard Holton and Stephen Shute. ‘Self-Control in the Modern Provocation Defence’ (2013), Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 33 accessed 15 September 2014.

Sam Main. ‘Loss of Control: Sexual Infidelity and the Reduction of a Charge of Murder to Manslaughter’ (2009) The Student Journal of Law, accessed 02 October 2014.

Susan M Edwards, ‘Anger and Fear as Justifiable Preludes for Loss of Self Control’ (2010), The Journal of Criminal Law, Volume 74, No. 3, 223.

The Law Commission. ‘A New Homicide Act for England and Wales?’ (2006) Consultation Paper No 177.

The Law Commission. ‘Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide’ (2006), Project 6 of the Ninth Programme of Law Reform: Homicide, Law Com No 304.

The Law Commission, ‘Partial Defences to Murder’ (2003), Law Com 173, Cm 6301, 162.

The Law Commission, ‘Partial Defences to Murder’ (2004), Law Com 290, Cm 6301.

Vincent McAviney. ‘Coroners and Justice Act 2009: Replacing Provocation with Loss of Control’ (2010) accessed 01 August 2014.

Kate Fitz-Gibbon and Sharon Pickering. ‘Homicide Law Reform in Victoria, Australia; From Provocation to Defensive Homicide and Beyond’ (2012) 52 British Journal of Criminology 159.

Matthew Hill. ‘New “Loss of Control” Defence as Murder Law Reforms Take Effect’ (2010), UK Human Rights Blog, accessed 01 October 2014.

Ministry of Justice. ‘Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide’ (2008), MoJ CP (R) 19.

Nicola Wake. ‘Battered Women, Startled Householders and Psychological Self-Defence: Anglo-Australian Perspectives’ (2013) Journal of Criminal Law, Volume 77, Issue 1, 433.

Nicola Wake, ‘Court of Appeal: Loss of Control Beyond Sexual Infidelity’ (2012) 76 Journal of Criminal Law 193, Issue 3.

Tom Whitehead and Andrew Hough, ‘Murder can be ‘crime of passion’ says top judge’ (2012) The Telegraph, accessed 01 October 2014.

Vincent McAviney. ‘Coroners and Justice Act 2009: Replacing Provocation with Loss of Control’ (2010), Inherently Human, <> accessed 15 September 2014.

Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse. ‘Home Office: Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide: Proposals for Reform of the Law’ accessed 12 September 2014.


Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Homicide Act 1957

Case Law

Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 23 of 2011) (R v Williams (Sanchez)) [2011] EWCA Crim 1496

Drury v HM Advocate [2001] SLT 1013

R v Ahluwalia [1992] 4 All ER 889

R v Alexandra (1914) 9 Cr App R 139

R v Clinton, Parker, Evans [2012] EWCA Crim 2

R v Dowds [2012] EWCA Crim 281

R v Duffy (1949) 1 AER 932

R v Holmes [1946] AC 588

R v Smith (Morgan) [2001] AC 146

R v Thornton [1996] 1 WLR 1174

Free Essays

Can ‘terrorism’ be justifiably distinguished from other forms of political violence?


Should terrorism be classified separately from terrorism This paper examines each issue with the goal of determining if there is reason to specify independent categories. Utilising secondary evidence, the literature illustrates the many similar and disparate components of both political violence and terrorism. The evidence presented demonstrated the need to independently categorize each action in order to formulate the best method of response. This work will be of use to any researcher looking into political violence or terrorism.

1 Introduction

The ability to distinguish terrorism from other forms of political violence has become a topic of substantial debate (Zimmerman 2012). This paper examines both the concepts of political violence and terrorism with the intention of determining if there is a justification in distinguishing the processes. Beginning with a brief overview of the fundamentals regarding the practice of terrorism and political violence, this essay will establish a clear reason for study. Following this section with a review of relevant literature that sheds light on the potential for mutual influence will demonstrate the modern consensus regarding the concepts. Combining the first sections of this paper will allow for the capacity to draw reasonable conclusions based on the produced evidence.

In the end, this essay will have defined both the concept of terrorism and political violence, illustrated the position of each of these concepts in the modern era and combined the evidence to produce a reasonable potential for future links, with the stated goal of determining the if there is a justifiable difference between political violence and terrorism.

2 Terrorism

This section will define the concepts of Terrorism and Political violence in order to establish any relationship between them.

2.1 Overview

A tool utilized by violent minded organizations, terrorism is defined by the use of fear and violence in pursuit of goals (Zimmerman 2012). Commonly utilized by a wide array of varied groups, both ends of the spectrum from liberal to conservative have used terrorism over the course of time. The strength of the terrorist lies in the capacity for a small group to influence larger groups’ decisions via the use of the force (Zimmerman 2012). By instilling a sense of impending fear and destruction a sometimes very small group of people or single person can be responsible for shifting an entire process.

Terrorism is a common means of threat in political systems around the world (Crenshaw 2012). In some cases there is not a clear definition of the term terrorist which allows that person or organization to exist on the fringes of society, often pushing the boundaries of acceptable action. There are several fundamental drivers that propel the terrorist to action including politics, ideology and religion (Wright-Neville 2010). These factors illustrate how the mechanism of fear and intimidation can serve nearly any person in any place. Zimmerman (2012: 349) defines the act of international terrorism as “warfare without territory, waged without armies as know them. It is warfare that is not limited territorially: sporadic battles may take place worldwide. It is warfare without neutrals and with few or no civilian innocent bystanders.” The very nature of the terrorist as a small or compact operation is an effective weapons for the group. Terrorists are and terrorism is considered viable weapons in many circumstances, making the act truly hard to combat on an international level (Mamdani 2009). Further, the multiple methods of acting on the terrorist threats compound the difficulty in finding an effective means of stopping the process (Crenshaw 2012).

A hallmark of the terrorist, and in turn the act of terrorism, rests in the disregard for innocent life (Neumayer and Plumper 2011). Common among any form of terrorist attack is the loss or destruction of property or people completely unrelated to the cause of the terrorist organisation. In some cases, such as the American population, terrorists commonly target them specifically for their money and probability of achieving a high profile target (Zimmerman 2012). Others are targeted for their capacity to provide the largest return for the terrorist (Neumayer and Plumper 2011). This same factor of terrorism targeting the wealthier nations translates to the European and higher profile countries. The primary goal of terrorism, of spreading the group’s agenda, can only be achieved through the achievement of a high profile event (Neumayer and Plumper 2011). Lacking an audience much of the impact of the operation, successful or not, is lost. A primary strength of the terrorist is the infection of fear that in turn weakens a leader’s resolve, allowing that political system to gravitate to the terrorist point of view (Zimmerman 2012). Therefore, the terrorist is attuned for an opportunity to make the biggest splash with the leas t effort.

Neumayer and Plumper (2011) argue that the common terrorist is drawn from middle to upper class lifestyle that has allowed that person an education. This holds true as Besley and Person (2011) demonstrate that many of the strongest and well-armed terrorists of the modern era are products of third world nations being supported by the first world nations. There is faction that sees the disparity in living conditions and determines that the means to attain a portion of that for them is through the mechanism of terrorism (Zimmernan 2012). Others see terrorism a descent into brutality that indulges the very worst aspects of any population (Mamdani 2009). As poorer nations slip further into poverty and decline, the capacity for the more violent aspects of the nation’s population to take power increases.

2.2 Forms of Terrorism

Acts labelled as terrorism have the capacity to take varied forms including political acts of terrorism or civil terrorism (Zimmerman 2012). In each case, the capacity for the terrorist to achieve their true ends is dependent on the population’s reception to the use of terrorism. Terrorism aimed at the population commonly interferes with security issues at large gatherings that have the potential to include death and destruction as the means to accomplish the end goal (Neumayer and Plumper 2011). With large convention centres, sporting events and major gatherings vulnerable to terrorism, there is a constant opportunity for the terrorist to perform an act that could have devastating consequences for many innocent people.

A secondary form of terrorism exists within the political world (Zimmerman 2012). The underlying goal of the terrorist’s acts in these cases seeks to generate a specific political outcome. This practice can be credited with instilling fear and trepidation in entire regimes and governments. With the possibility of harm coming to a wide number of the population that the government is responsible likely, the leaders take care and in some cases delay initiatives in order to appease the terrorists (Besley and Person 2011). Again, it is the capacity for a single person or small group that uses violence, to deter or alter an entire nation’s path that attracts so many people to terrorism.

2.3 In summary

Terrorism is typically an act of violence by a group, organisation or person in order to achieve a specific goal (Zimmerman 2012). This weapon is effective due to the capacity to instil fear and worry in the masses with little effort or funds (Mamdani 2009). In this pursuit, many middle class well educated individuals consent to utilize terror as a weapon (Besley and Person 2011). Terrorism can be directed at the civilian population or utilized as a means of political change (Neumayer and Plumper 2011). In each case it is the willingness to harm the innocents in order to accomplish the ends that identifies the terrorist (Zimmerman 2012).

3 Political Violence

3.1 Overview

Crenshaw (2012:312) defines political violence as an act of violence directed towards a specific political end or simply violence perceived as having the capacity to be for a political reason. The use of force to overcome opposition in legislatures around the world is a common event that can be credited with being responsible for regime changes around the world (Zimmerman 2012). Political violence has taken a variety of labels over the course of time in order to accurately portray the chain of events. The terms extremism, squadrismo, subversivism and stragismo have been used in the past to illustrate various forms of political violence aimed at a specific political goal (Crenshaw 2012).

A hallmark of the tool of political violence is the feeling of frustration and oppression by those that seek to utilize the instrument (Martin 2003). There is core conviction that there needs to be a form of physical violence in order to assure that the population will accede to the factions demands.Nearly any aspect of governmental involvement in the civilian population can be termed a form of coercion (Crenshaw 2012). Even the act of not acting can become a very powerful weapon in the hands of an administrator that refuses to send aid or resources to those that need it in order to gain political leverage. In a very real sense, each action the ruling regime takes can be considered as a token to one group or another, it is the belief of oppression that fuels many people to utilize violence in order to gain attention to their cause (Martin 2003).

It is common for acts of political violence to impact a large population (Zimmerman 2012). Due to the fact that a government inherently has a large civilian core, the nature of each national decision has the potential to echo around the world. If a specific goal is not achieved, or funded or resolved, the act left undone could reverberate and impact other international concerns (Martin 2003). It is the opportunity for the act to influence the actions of the civilian population that continues to fuel the use of the practice of political violence. Martin (2003) argues that political violence if identified by the scale and scope of the violent act. The quality and quantity of force involved in the action denotes the relationship to the ruling regime (Martin 2003). With a potential for extraordinary large influence, the act of political violence can be potent tool for change.

3.2 Forms of Political Violence

Wright-Neville (2010) cites the need for national defence as the primary justification for political violence. With most nations possessing a military capacity in one form or another, War, can be considered a form of political violence. The organisation and sometimes long-term operation of violent activities in order to achieve a national goal has long been utilized as a means of governmental motivation (Zimmerman 2012). Classically, the act of war is hallmarked by the accompaniment of high casualties and prolonged economic and societal recessions that can in turn lead to the formation of further disaffected groups willing to utilize political violence.

Political violence can be present in a small political environment just as easily as a larger institution (Caruso and Schneider 2011). With many small towns around the world creating the perception of self-rule and autonomic capacity, there is the constant opportunity for unlawful coercion in the pursuit of regional or local political goals. A primary instrument of politicians rests in the law enforcement offices present within any region (Zimmernan 2012). With elements including improper search and seizure, torture and unlawful arrest, the potential for local use of political violence is both considerable and consistent. This form of political violence can quickly become a form of human rights violations, which in turn can begin to form an even greater issue than the basic violence (Kreiger and Meierrieks 2011).

Government and ruling bodies have several methods of potential political violence that do not include the military portions of their governments (Zimmerman 2012). In some cases, political violence can take the form of deprivation of resources that can in turn cause water, food or basic elements of life hard to find. In these cases, the political motivation behind this serves to drive the continued policies. Political violence can also take the form of legislative opportunities that include forms of legal torture or immunity from prosecution (Crenshaw 2012). A specific person or group can be sentenced to life in prison or death for political cause. This same concept expands out to encompass an entire social structure or culture in the form of genocide or mass execution (Mamdani 2009). A political decision could determine the fates of entire cities and towns if there was a need to do so.

3.3 In summary

Political violence is directly connected to the goal of accomplishing a political end (Zimmerman 2012). With the potential to impact a very large group of people, including innocents, the political system consistently provides the potential to influence national direction and attitude (Mamdani 2009). War is a common and very high profile example of political violence that encompasses large amounts of people, money and infrastructure (Martin 2003). A political body can fail to act and cause political violence through deprivation and lack of resources (Crenshaw 2012). Further, basic legislative action such as the death penalty and a life sentence are considered forms of political violence if employed for political gain (Martin 2003).

4 Terrorism compared to Political Violence

4.1 Comparison

Zimmerman (2012) argues that there is a clear division between the acts of terrorism and the employment of political violence. Mamdani (2012) states that political violence is merely an offshoot of the terrorism act. Both practices include the death of many innocent civilians. Mamdani (2012) contends that both practices share similar traits that include the utilization of force and violence in order to accomplish their goals. However, the act of terrorism has the potential to be focused on a wide variety of motivations that include religious or economic causes (Piazza 2011). Political violence is a product of the desire to impact a particular policy or national effort (Zimmerman 2012). The terrorist’s expansion of cause is a point of separation between terrorism and political violence. With the act of terrorism not requiring any one certain motivation or conclusion there is a defined difference in the two practices.

Piazza (2011) demonstrates that many times terrorists are motivated by economic or monetary issues. This indicates that the end goal for the terrorist is a narrow victory that will have a limited impact on the larger population. Crenshaw (2012) notes that a hallmark of the political violence lies in the large amount of civilians harmed as well as the potential for an even larger international harm. Another difference that is common between the fundamental operators of political violence and terrorists is the fact that the terrorist is often a member of a secret society (Crenshaw 2012). Political violence has a hallmark of legislative or high profile leadership as opposed to a small group or individual. This distinction is another factor that touches on the scale and scope of political violence versus the terrorist action (Zimmerman 2012). Terrorists are defined and aided by the element of anonymity, whereas the act of political violence involves the establishment.

Martin (2003) uses the example of genocide to illustrate both political violence and terrorism. A national or political goal does not need to kill or eliminate each person in a group order to achieve their ends. A government may use political violence to disrupt a culture or a way of life that is contrary to positive oversight (Martin 2003). This argument by Martin (2003) classifies the act of Genocide against the Jews in Nazi Germany as both a political act and an act of State terrorism. With a clear political element that incorporates an ideological viewpoint, the correlation of the two processes is an accurate description of the events.

Zimmerman (2012) demonstrates that many of the extremists’ secret groups that support terrorism are driven to the practice due to economic considerations. The need to influence regulatory policy and enforcement procedures calls for an aggressive campaign that some individuals feel includes unrestrained violence. This is similar to the element of political violence that is policy-centred and emphasizes the need to accomplish revenue centred goals (Crenshaw 2012). In some cases, a nations efforts to limit the drug traffic is directly tied to the countries anti-terrorism efforts.

During the Irish unrest, the United Kingdom has been tied to the utilization of paid gunmen in an attempt to accomplish political ends (Zimmerman 2012). While the Irish and Catholic political community had the Irish Republican Army, or the IRA, to defend it and advance their goals, the established regime was thought to have incorporated the aspect of political violence into their response. The use of tactics that are very similar in nature to the terrorist group, IRA, the distinction between the state run effort and the opposition is minimal. Mamdani (2012) argues that in certain cases the acts of political violence qualify as a division of the terrorism approach. However, Martin (2003) contends that to deny the difference between political motivation and actions and those of the terrorist organisations is to discount a large qualitative infrastructure that is tied to any state run operation. No matter the depth or overall scope of the violent act, there is a substantial paper trial to be found and followed in any politically motivated action (Zimmerman 2012).

The September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in the United States serves as an example of the stark difference between terrorism and political violence (Sageman 2008). This was an attack that was determined to be masterminded by Osama bin Laden as an agent of Al Qaeda. Although there was a distinct political element to the Islamic hatred of the American and the United States as a whole, there was not a single political motivation resting behind the attacks (Gries, Krieger and Meierrieks 2011). The driving factors behind the attack were a combination of perceived oppression and religious ideals that have set the group solidly against the Western world. After the attack, many around the world ascribed the event a politically motivated challenge to democracy, when in fact it was a simple demonstration of what a few dedicated souls could accomplish against the most powerful nation on earth (Gries et al 2011). The September 11th attacks each share similar attributes including the massive loss of innocent life and widespread damage and destruction. Yet, the retaliation effort made by the United States government was limited to a single group and by association, Afghanistan, a single nation.

The nation of Somalia provides a modern example of state run terrorism (Murphy 2012). In this instance, the legislature and governing bodies have identified the opportunity for revenue in the capacity to harbour terrorist within the borders of the nation. With this acceptance many individuals closely associated violent Islam has found themselves a base of operations (Murphy 2012). This combination of elements touches on both the aspects of political violence and terrorism. Somalia lack of action to expel the pirates or terrorist groups is in itself a form of political violence (Zimmerman 2012). The indiscriminate use of force on the innocent and unwary is a hallmark of the terrorist and terrorism process (Besley and Person 2011). In a very real manner, there is a mix of terrorism and state run political violence to be found in the ruling regime of Somalia.

Caruso and Schneider (2011) contend that the economic factors that surround the political violence practice and common terrorism share a common bond. This argument illustrates that the monetary resources are critical to both governments and terrorist groups, compelling both to take violent action in pursuit of their agenda. Further, both political violence and terrorism are commonly enacted by educated leaders, which in turn result in widespread damage and harm to a wider population (Zimmerman 2012). Political violence is indiscriminate and has the potential to impact a regional group, or entire culture, while the terrorist organization is often forced to narrow the impact field, and thus the overall potential for harm (Lee and Er 2011). This difference is again reflective of the potential scope of operation and opportunity for damage.

Bloody Sunday, or the Bogside Massacre that occurred on Derry, Northern Ireland is an example of state sponsored political violence (Lee and Er 2011). This action pitted the civil rights protestors against soldiers of the Queens military. The political consequences of this act are clear in that there was an immediate cessation to the protests, thereby accomplishing the political goals of the government (Lee and Er 2011). Coinciding with this element was the fact that there was the potential for a much wider conflagration based on the action of the establishment that day. Yet, much like an act of terrorism, the soldiers targeted a specific protest that was squarely in the path of the legislative agenda (Lee and Er 2011). This illustrates that while the actions of political violence and terrorism are similar, there is a clear and defining depth of scope that continues to distinguish the processes.

Funding for political violence is commonly derived from a state funded source (Crenshaw 2012). Derived, created and planned from a government position, the common revenue stream that serves the military and political establishments is used for political agendas. Conversely, terrorist funding commonly derives from illegal means (Zimmerman 2012). Others cite terrorist sponsors, or large donors, as enabling the organisations to continue to exist (Crenshaw 2012). Terrorist organisations are obliged to hide and conceal their accounts due to the very real threat of seizure (Zimmerman 2012). Established regimes employing political violence often have sustainable forms of revenue that can serve to propel their needs for the entire campaign (Crenshaw 2012). The clear difference resources illustrate the divide of potential again prominently dividing political violence and terrorism.

4.2 In Summary

There is clear difference between political violence and terrorism (Zimmerman 2012). Yet others categorize it as a derivative of terrorism (Mamdani 2012). Revenue motivates both the political and terrorist establishment (Crenshaw 2012). Yet, funding is substantially different for each organisation (Zimmerman 2012). Terrorists are typically secretive while the political establishment is high profile (Zimmerman 2012). With attributes that can be applied to both political violence and terrorism, acts are divided by the potential and scope of the damage (Martin 2003). Further, this division is illustrated on every level as terrorists have to often scrimp and save, where nations draw on taxes and established lines of revenue to fund operations (Martin 2003).

5 Conclusion

This paper has examined acts of political violence and terrorism in order to determine if there was justification in distinguishing the acts. The evidence presented has illustrated many elements that compel further study, as well as demonstrating the nature of both processes. With the capacity for small groups to use fear or intimidation to force political change, the need to continually address terrorists and state sponsored violence will not disappear.

As the evidence presented in the literature illustrates both political violence and terrorism share many critical aspects including indiscriminate violence, death and damage to the existing establishment. Yet, the distinct divide exists when the potential for impact is assessed. The political establishment has an inherent advantage in the areas of resources and funding as well as planning and logistics. This is distinguished from the secretive terrorist that must hit and run in order to be effective. State sponsored terrorism, while still utilizing terror and fear has the potential to exceed the scope of any one terrorist organization.

In the end, there are many similarities between political violence and terrorism. While the primary shared component is death, it is the issue of scope that looms large. The evidence presented has illustrated that it is justified to separate the acts of political violence and the acts of terrorism. With a difference in long term elements representing a substantial difference in approach for recovery forces, there is a clear need to clarify each area independently. It will not be a definition or action plan that serves to bring these forms of violence to an end, but education, equality and consideration that will build the bridges to the next era.

6 References

Besley, T. and Persson, T. 2011. The logic of political violence. The quarterly journal of economics, 126 (3), pp. 1411–1445.

Caruso, R. and Schneider, F. 2011. The socio-economic determinants of terrorism and political violence in Western Europe (1994–2007). European Journal of Political Economy, 27 pp. 37–49.

Crenshaw, M. 2012. Terrorism in context. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Gries, T., Krieger, T. and Meierrieks, D. 2011. Causal linkages between domestic terrorism and economic growth. Defence and Peace Economics, 22 (5), pp. 493–508.

Lee, A. and Er. 2011. Who Becomes a Terrorist?: Poverty, Education, and the Origins of Political Violence. World Politics, 63 (2), pp. 203–245.

Mamdani, M. 2009. Saviors and survivors. New York: Pantheon Books.

Martin, G. 2003. Understanding terrorism. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Murphy, M 2012 Somalia: The New BarbaryPiracy and Islam in the Horn of Africa. Intelligence and National Security, 27 (6), pp. 919–920.

Krieger, T. and Meierrieks, D. 2011. What causes terrorism?. Public Choice, 147 (1-2), pp. 3—27.

Piazza, J. A. 2011. Poverty, minority economic discrimination, and domestic terrorism.Journal of Peace Research, 48 (3), pp. 339–353.

Sageman, M. 2008. Leaderless jihad. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Sterio, M. 2012. Presidential Powers and Foreign Affairs: Rendition and Targeted Killings of Americans: The United States’ Use of Drones in the War on Terror: The (Il) legality of Targeted Killings Under International Law. Case W. Res. J. Int’l L., 45 pp. 197–579.

Wright-Neville, D. P. 2010. Dictionary of terrorism. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Zimmermann, E. 2012. Political violence, crises, and revolutions. London: Routledge.

Free Essays

Can ‘terrorism’ be justifiably distinguished from other forms of political violence?


The conceptualisation of ‘terrorism’ began to occupy a prominent place in the political discourse during the 1970s, with the onset of irredentist terror employed by organisations such as the PLO and ideologically-induced acts of violence propagated by extremist outfits such as the Red Brigades and the Baader-Meinhof complex (Gupta, 2008: 33). Nevertheless, the preponderance of terrorism as form of violence has to be linked to its disruptive and pervasive nature. Unlike ideological or theological extremism, the modern conception of terrorism, epitomised by the dissemination of acts of violence by Islamic extremism in the context of the War on Terror, have the potential to shake the foundations of the international political system (Halper and Clarke, 2005: 90). As such, it is important to outline in which way terrorism differs from other forms of political violence. In order to do so, the example of the War on Terror will be used, distinguishing three variables that set modern terrorism apart from other forms of political violence. First, I will examine the discoursive implications of the concept of terrorism, introducing a thorough examination of the political rhetoric used by the great powers fighting Islamic terrorism and in which way this serves to entrench American hegemony in the international order. Second, I will analyse the ways in which terrorism is changing the moral representation of the enemy confronted by the United States and its allies. Previous forms of political violence, such as left-wing militancy and the radicalisation of particular ethnic groups did not result in the determination to eradicate those tendencies from the political landscape. Conversely, the War on Terror does not allow for any sort of accommodation with the enemy, which is to be extirpated from the political space. Third, the fight against terrorism presupposes a new demarcation of the international political system. The criteria for accepting the legitimacy of sovereign states into the legal framework of the international order is that they do not facilitate the operations of terrorist organisations, particularly those of Islamic extraction.

The discoursive implications of the concept of terrorism

Since the outset of the War on Terror in the wake of 9/11, the political vocabulary attached to the concept of ‘terrorism’ has undergone a significant transformation. It could be argued that the notion of ‘terrorism’ reflects all the negative derivatives that stem from the struggle that parries the Western nations and their allies against the threat posed by radical organisations (Steinhoff, 2007: 81). In addition, terrorism has connotations that transcend the scope of legitimate political violence. To begin with, terrorists target non-military objectives as part of their grand scheme of operations. Terrorist organisations blatantly violate jus in bello principles that are part of the Just War theory by including of non-combatants as targets as well as employing censurable methods such as mass bomb explosions in public areas and the hijacking of civilian airplanes (Silverstone, 2007: 76).

The War on Terror, which originated in the aftermath of 9/11, has propitiated the militarisation of the political rhetoric, which relies on the notion of pre-emptive attacks on the putative enemy and its Manichean representation as a foe to be pursued until it is extirpated from the political space (Burke, 2004: 22). Entrenching the link between the War on Terror and military rhetoric entails the construction of a system with particular symbolisms and political discourse (Napoleoni, 2004: 66). The political elite create socially-constructed meanings attached to the concept of terrorism that are assimilated by the public through the consumption of publically enunciated language. Academia, mainstream media and governmental organisations seem to prefer a passive way of describing particular political events pertaining to the War on Terror. For example, the War on Iraq, one of the main offshoots of the War on Terror, is seldom described as an ‘invasion’. Instead, it is usually depicted as a military action meant to protect the United States from terrorists and to bring democracy and freedom to the people of Iraq (Steinhoff, 2007: 82). It may be posited that sophisticated discoursive tools are employed in order to foment an ‘(in)security culture’ in the international order. Yongtao argues that the ‘(in)security culture’ that arises as a result of the ‘Axis of Evil’ rhetoric, which pertains to the pursuit of the War on Terror, is lexically and socially constructed, and should not be perceived as a natural occurrence (Yongtao, 2010: 85). Consequently, the War on Terror might be seen as an attempt by the hegemon, the United States, to reclaim the geopolitical discourse from the centrifugal forces of globalisation and reshape the identity of the international order according to the rhetoric of insecurity and militarisation (Shapiro, 1999: 112).

One of the most salient features of the process by which modern terrorism is fundamentally differentiated from forms of political violence, is in the idea that there is no place for the radical forms of violent extremism in the international order (Halper and Clarke, 2005: 32). The rhetoric utilised by the United and its Allies foretells an augmented spectrum of violence, which should prompt the reaction of the international community. This has been stated in the ‘Axis of Evil’ speech delivered by George W. Bush in 2002,

‘States like these [Iraq], and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic’ (Bush, 2002).

What transpires from the construction of the discoursive edifice built around the notion of the doctrine of preventive war is the idea of strengthening the legal and institutional framework that legitimised American hegemony. This framework is validated by the interposition of an imminent threat, continually activated through the deployment of discourse. In this context, there is an obvious emphasis on identifying the rhetorical loci that give magnify and entrench the need to pre-empt the actions of the putative enemies (Podhoretz, 2004: 17). The augmented political reality of entrenching American hegemony is discoursively affirmed through the encoding of language into categories that can be projected in order to activate the doctrine of preventive war. The ‘Axis of Evil’ speech is an eloquent example of this state of affairs (Nance, 2010: 60). In addition, the spectre of political regimes which are inimical to the process of legal, political and economic harmonisation has been magnified through the ‘Beyond the Axis of Evil’ rhetoric, mobilised by John Bolton, erstwhile US Ambassador to the United Nations,

‘[T]he Administration will not assume that because a country’s formal subscription to UN counterterrorism conventions or its membership in multilateral regimes necessarily constitutes an accurate reading of its intentions. We call on Libya, Cuba, and Syria to live up to the agreements they have signed. We will watch closely their actions, not simply listen to their words. Working with our allies, we will expose those countries that do not live up to their commitments…the United States will continue to exercise strong leadership in multilateral forums and will take whatever steps are necessary to protect and defend our interests and eliminate the terrorist threat’ (Bolton, 2002).

As we can see, the discourse framework employed by the most prominent figures in the Bush administration has been conducive to the entrenchment of a unilateralist approach to the management of the international order, consolidating the idea of an interventionist stance that is profoundly revamping the notion of warfare (Nance, 2010: 82). What transpires from the statements outlined above is the idea that a language of dominance is permanently deployed as a means to portray those who opposed American hegemony as enemies to be pursued until their extirpation from the international arena (Fairclough, 2010: 43). Other forms of political violence do not threaten the stability of the United States as a primus inter pares member of the international community. The rhetoric utilised in order to deal with the derivative effects of the War on Terror is geared towards seizing this historical juncture in order to consolidate the hegemony of the United States in the international order and clearly demarcate the boundaries between ‘Good’, represented by the United States and its allies, and ‘Evil’, embodied in the threat of terrorism.

The moral representation of the enemy

One of the most significant innovations brought about by the threat of ‘terrorism’ is the recreation of the moral representation of the enemy (Hewitt, 2008: 62). Since the Peace of Westphalia, the international political system gradually evolved towards the principle of cohabitation between antithetical philosophical worldviews (Patterson, 2007: 139). The epitome of this evolution was the convivial symbiosis between the two superpowers during the Cold War. Conversely, US foreign policy in the wake of 9/11 operates under the principle that state and non-state actors are to be considered ‘friendly’ only if they are willing to converge into the main tenets espoused by the United States in the context of the War on Terror. In order to consolidate a clear division between ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’, the enemy (Islamic terrorism) is represented as illegitimate and a-moral. Consequently, Washington has the moral right to use all the means at its disposal to prevent the enemy from inflicting damage upon the United States or its allies (Crawford in Rosenthal and Barry (eds.), 2009: 41). This entails the use of pre-emptive force, which has been deployed by the United States in the cases of Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003) and Lybia (2011). This entails the possibility that the war against Islamic terrorism may be fought outside the rules of warfare. The United States regards Islamic terrorists as devoid of any established links to a specific territorial state. In this sense, Washington is not bound to adhere to any prescriptive set of rules. The enemy therefore becomes a modern day version of the hostis perennis deprived of any legal rights either in bello or ad bellum. Since the Islamic terrorist networks seek the destruction of the United States, they must vanish from the political space. The moral identification of the enemy as ‘evil’ was presented to the American public by the neoconservative ideologues in charge of outlining the foreign policy of the United States in the wake of 9/11,

“WHO, THEN, is the enemyThe message of September 11 was loud and clear, allowing for no ambiguity: the enemy is militant Islam… At least since 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran with the war-cry, “Death to America,” militant Islam, also known as Islamism, has been the self-declared enemy of the United States. It has now become enemy number one. Whether it is the terrorist organizations and individuals Washington is targeting, the immigrants it is questioning, or the states it is holding under suspicion, all are Islamist or connected with Islamists” (Pipes, 2002).

In order to confront this enemy, the strategies predicated on ideas of deterrence and containment, once used in order to face the threat posed by the Soviet Union, are be considered efficacious,

“Throughout the Cold War, the legitimacy of U.S. power and of U.S. global leadership was largely taken for granted, and not just by Americans. The vast majority of Europeans, although they sometimes chafed under U.S. dominance and often questioned U.S. actions in Vietnam, Latin America and elsewhere, nevertheless accepted U.S. leadership as both necessary and desirable… It was not international law and institutions but the circumstances of the Cold War, and Washington’s special role in it, that conferred legitimacy on the United States, at least within the West” (Kagan, 2004: 70).

The legitimacy for seeking the annihilation of the enemy is therefore granted by the geopolitical circumstances that the United States is compelled to deal with. The enemy is represented as a-moral, lacking any sense of propriety in warfare,

“…[T]omorrow could be the day that an explosive packed with radioactive material detonates in Los Angeles or that nerve gas is unleashed inside a tunnel under the Hudson River or that a terrible new disease breaks out in the United Kingdom. If the people responsible for the 9/11 attack could have killed thirty thousand Americans or three hundred thousand or three million, they would have done so. The terrorists are cruel, but they are not aimless. Their actions have a purpose. They are trying to rally the Muslim world to jihad against the planet’s only superpower and the principal and most visible obstacle to their ambitions. They commit terror to persuade their potential followers that their cause is not hopeless, that jihad can destroy American power” (Frum, D. and Perle, 2004: 6)

American foreign policy doctrine holds Islamic extremists to be an enemy force outside the scope of international law; as such, it is to be pursued until its total eradication (Elshtain, 2004: 142). One of the main points made concerning the moral representation of the enemy is the portrayal of the threat that Islamic terrorism poses to the United States as imminent, prompting American foreign-policy makers to overstate the lethality of the foe (Fotion, 2007: 96). In any case, the moral representation of Al-Qaeda reverses an important principle of the ‘Just War’ theory. Islamic terrorism cannot be allowed to become an interlocutor for segments of the Muslim world. It is an enemy with whom no cohabitation is possible. It is an ‘othered’ moral and social entity which has to be completely eradicated from the geopolitical space. the scope of enmity has been enlarged according to a Manichean criterion, leaving outside the political space constituencies with a different cultural and moral template (Schmitt, 2007: 13). At the same time, the means to be utilised in order to deal with putative threats are augmented by the unrestricted use of pre-emption, regardless of the actual extent of the threat posed by the would-be foe. This has enormous repercussions for the notion of state sovereignty, since the doctrine of preventive war can be launched against any nation which is considered to abet terrorist activities that pose a danger to the United States, first and foremost, and the international community (Nance, 2010: 110). As we will see, terrorism differs from other forms of political violence in the sense that if fosters the intervention of the United States and the most prominent members of the international community into the internal affairs of sovereign nations.

The interventionist drive pursuant to the fight against terrorism

The first theme that is relevant to the discussion of the interventionist drive that unfolded with the onset of the War on Terror is the erosion of the strict concept of state sovereignty. Since the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) the concept of sovereignty has been entrenched as the dominant principle upon which global institutional organisations are constituted (Held and McGrew, 2002:11). Thomson defines sovereignty as the conceptualisation by which the state arrogates the right to exercise coercive authority within its territory. It could be argued that the nations involved in the struggle against terrorism are willing to sacrifice a modicum of state sovereignty in order to ensure the protection of the global commons (Thomson, 1995: 219). However, the indefinite duration of the conflict is bound to profoundly change the meaning of state sovereignty, particularly as the means to combat terrorism come to include a growing spectrum of surveillance and military robotisation.

The practice of eroding strict notions of national sovereignty involves the use of force and/or the exercise of political power in order to defend the ‘civilised’ nations of the world from the scourge of terrorism. This also entails that the process of globalisation has to be recreated according to an increasingly unified legal criterion, which serves to entrench the democratic form of government, the rule of law and free markets. The War on Terror is a concept which is commonly subscribed to the efforts made by the international community to eradicate the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalism, especially Al-Qaeda and other militant jihadi groups (Duffy, 2005: 21). The term was first employed by President George W. Bush on 20/9/2001 and has been used to designate the legal, political and conceptual confrontation against terrorist organisations of Islamic extraction (Bush, 2001a). The ubiquitous nature of this struggle is quite manifest in the statements made by George W. Bush, who stated the view that the fight against Islamic terrorism engulfed the whole world as a potential theatre of conflict (Bush, 2001b). The War on Terror has redefined the boundaries of legality, entailing a division between those countries which support the struggle against Al-Qaeda and those which are either neutral or explicitly supportive of Islamic terrorism, such as Iran. Those countries which are deemed to support terrorism risk losing their capacity of retain state sovereignty.

It could be argued that the actions of the United States and its allies can be analysed through the Realist principle of power maximisation. At the most fundamental level, anarchy is induced by the fact that there is no supranational authority capable of marshalling the international order (Biersteker and Weber, 1996: 5). Conversely, Liberal interventionists sustain the view that a peaceful international order can be attained by encouraging the spread of democracy around the world. One of the main principles behind this philosophy is that democratic states do not fight each other (Doyle, 1997: 83). The spread of democratic values entails that the countries that were most affected by the Western response to 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq, would undergo a process of regime change and adopt the principle of accountable governance (Rasler and Thompson, 2005: 38). As we can see, the War on Terror impels states to adhere to the principles guiding the fight against Islamic terrorism in order to retain their sovereignty in an increasingly polarised international order.

One of the most salient issues linked to the discussion on the interventionism reshaping the international order after 9/11 is the issue of ‘efficiency’ as a requirement for the retention of state sovereignty. What transpires from the unfolding of the War on Terror is that ‘failed states’ constitute a significant danger to the stability of the international political system (Kagan, 2003: 22). Countries like Somalia or Afghanistan under the Taliban are eloquent examples of countries governed by a plutocratic elite unconcerned about the well-being of the population. Fukuyama has posited the criterion by which the ‘efficiency’ of the state structure of any given nation should be measured. In order to be eligible for state sovereignty retention, countries need to exhibit a high level of adherence to democratic and pluralist values (Fukuyama, 2005: 125). It could be postulated that the right to state sovereignty is beginning to be judged according to whether a country abides by the principle of liberal democracy. States deemed to be undemocratic are more likely to sponsor terrorism.

The main objective of the War on Terror is the elimination of the threat of global terrorism. At the same time, the interventionist approach which guides the foreign policy of the United States and its main allies seeks to recreate the international order according to converging rules to be adhered to by all members of the international community (Neumann, 1986: 25). The link between sovereignty and the rule of law is consolidating through the warfare conducted against terrorist networks, since states are compelled to take their position on the side of the ‘civilised nations’ of the world. It has been argued that terrorism poses a threat to the “humanness” of the victims it targets. The protection of civilian lives as well as the maintenance of the system of government by consent have become the two most important variables to be factored in when analysing the Liberal interventionist implications of the War on Terror (May, 2007: 71).

It can be postulated that the War on Terror is reshaping the international order by compelling the acceptance of the social role of international norms by the members of the international community. The convergence process taking place in the system of states as a result of having to fight terrorism is entrenching the rule of law as the medium for dialogue and communication in interstate affairs (Scheuerman, 1997: 39). When states display fundamental divergences from this principle, they are perceived as hostile to an international order increasingly informed by Liberal values such as democracy, free markets and the rule of law. Furthermore, by opposing these principles, these states might erode their right to be recognised as sovereign, giving rise to the possibility of intervention by the United States and its allies (Fukuyama, 2005: 130). Intervention takes place within the context of a thin form of multilateralism, by which the United States undertakes to expand Liberal values, provided they coincide with the majority of its core national interest principles. Simultaneously, it can be said that the convergence process signposted by the consolidation of homogenised legal principles of global reach is demarcating the lines between ‘efficient’ states, which may rightfully retain state sovereignty, and ‘failed states’ which may be subject to intervention (Chan, 2012: 61). The War on Terror has enabled the liberal democracies of the world to expand their values to the wider world in a manner which enables them to maintain their military and political pre-eminence and brings forth the pacification of the international political system. Therefore, it can be postulated that terrorism differs from other forms of political violence in the fact that whilst the risks it poses to the international community are magnified so are the possibilities for a profound change in its ordering principles.


In conclusion, it is possible to argue that modern conceptualisations of terrorism differ to a significant extent from previous forms of political violence confronted by sovereign states. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, political violence was exercised in order to achieve certain gains that were usually restricted in scope and duration (Scheuerman, 1997: 41). For example, the rise of left-wing activism was linked to defined political and economic objectives. Once the social conditions of the working class was improved, violence was shunned as a legitimate political method, as seen in the rise of social democratic parties willing to adopt a gradualist approach to income redistribution (Gupta, 2008: 53). Conversely, the onset of the War on Terror has brought with it a new demarcation of the political space, both at the domestic and international level. The spectrum of mass destruction as well as the ubiquitous presence of terrorist threats, due to technological advancement, has created a number of important differentiating variables. Terrorism, mainly propagated through the ideology of Islamic extremism, has the potential to alter the configuration of the international order (Halper and Clarke, 2005: 75). This development entails that the fight against this form of political violence has to be carried out at different levels. To begin with, the rhetorical elements of the War on Terror are recreating the communication aspects of the fight against terrorist violence. The symbolisms attached to it are meant to portray the indefinite duration of the confrontation and the polysemic nature of the threat (Burke, 2004: 87). Furthermore, terrorism differs from previous forms of political radicalisation in the way that the enemy is represented. The forces in charge of combatting terrorism have conveyed the determination to achieve a complete eradication of the ideology that underpins it, rejecting any sort of accommodation with the enemy. The War on Terror proposes a new delineation of the international order, where the criterion for state legitimacy is that nations prevent terrorist organisations, particularly those of Islamic extraction, from operating in their territory (Duffy, 2005: 151). For all the reasons cited above, it is possible to posit that terrorism, especially in the context of the War on Terror, differs significantly from other forms of political violence. The circumstances which originated this phenomenon and the means employed to combat it presage a conflict of indefinite duration which is bound to profoundly change the nature of interstate relations.


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Free Essays

The links between domestic violence and homelessness and the extent to which help is available by victims


This paper explores the relationship between homelessness and domestic violence. Additionally, the paper examines the available means of assistance which can be accessed by victims of domestic violence. While domestic violence against men, children, the elderly and homosexuals has been well documented, the most common sort of domestic violence is the abuse of women by men ( 2013 [online]). Women of a wide range of ages, relationship types and social, cultural and economic backgrounds are affected by domestic violence. The prevalent assumption is that domestic violence against women happens primarily in working class households and is strongly correlated with alcoholism and poverty, and this is to some extent borne out by research (Hague and Malos, 1993). Studies have found well-defined connections between homelessness and women who have undergone traumatic experiences such as neglect, abandonment and sexual abuse (Crisis 2006). Homelessness and transience for women and children is a common feature of the stories of many women who have escaped domestic violence. A high priority for women who have left abusive relationships is to secure income and housing. However, if they are under the age of 16, they are unable to avail of temporary accommodation or other services for the homeless. Single mothers also face challenges. Because they lack childcare, they are unable to seek employment (Miller, 1990).The following sections look first at the ways in which homelessness and domestic violence are connected, and then look at the ways in which assistance can be provided.

Connections between homelessness and domestic violence

The 1977 Act S1-1, S20 defines a person as homeless if “there is no accommodation which he and anyone who normally lives with him as a member of his family, or if it is probable accommodation but cannot secure entry to it, either because of violence or real threat of violence from someone else residing there”. There are several reasons that a woman might become homeless. These include a failure of familial relationships, a request to leave, unemployment, marital disputes, eviction, and illness (Watson & Austerberry, 1996). Because women tend to have lower incomes than men, they are more likely to be vulnerable to a number of problems associated with poverty, including homelessness. Women who separate from their partners risk relocating to substandard housing, or being left without housing at all. Indeed, not all households considered to be homeless are entitled to accommodation. Some authorities consider homelessness due to domestic violence to be “intentional homelessness” (Watson & Austrereberry, 1996).

Women who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse or other traumas subsequently often find themselves victims of homelessness because they are frequently considered by local authorities to be insufficiently vulnerable (as defined by homelessness legislations) to qualify for priority needs. This is less common for single mothers, but without a child in the household it is very difficult for a woman to be deemed vulnerable enough for temporary housing.

It is clear that women are confronted with the double challenge of being both domestic violence victims and also at risk of becoming poor, homeless single mothers (Baker, Cook and Norris, 2003). In order to escape domestic violence stemming from a partner, women may be forced to leave their homes. Marxist analyses suggest that women often fall into low-income brackets because they are a part of a capitalist, patriarchal society that leads to a gender-based division of labour (Maidment 2006). When women do achieve economic independence, their earnings tend to be significantly lower than men’s, this being the result of a gendered hierarchy of occupations where women’s typical occupations are concentrated at lower levels of the job market, and with women making up the majority of those in part-time jobs. Because women are forced to rely economically on men, their issues with domestic violence and abuse are exacerbated. Thus, a significant number of women remain ignorant of any assistance that’s potentially available, and consequently the issue of repeat homelessness is still a concern. An important matter to consider is the lack of women-only housing. Overall, the issue remains that homeless women are not accessing the support and help they need (Reeve, Casey, and Gouldie, 2006). Despite the progress in past decades in policy and legislation regarding homelessness, homeless women still face daunting challenges. While improved legislation and policy exist, women’s broader circumstances, requirements and vulnerabilities are not taken into consideration by local authorities. This means that they are often denied the assistance necessary to access accommodation (Reeve, Casey and Gouldie, 2006). In some cases, women who are experiencing marital violence – physical or mental – are asked to return to their homes and rely on legal processes to remove their abuser from the home (Women’s National Commission, 1983), which is clearly unsatisfactory as it places them at risk of further abuse. Therefore, women who are unable to independently access the financial or social resources necessary to enter the housing market may be forced to live with domestic and family violence simply because of lack of alternatives (Chung, et al 2000). At the same time, if they feel unable to continue living in the home, they are likely to face total homelessness. Women at risk often contact their local authority for assistance. Local authorities may have a duty to provide shelter (Shelter 2013), and must be aware of any local connections a woman may have in relocation areas, due to the potential threat of violence from those local connections. However, in practice there seems to be many shortfalls in the provision of care by local authorities. In one survey, the majority of women who said they had approached local authorities for homelessness assistance reported extremely negative experiences (Hague and Malos 1993). Some mentioned being ‘turned away at the door,’ while others claimed to have been discouraged from making a formal application for assistance. The women reported the local authority staff they dealt with had preconceived notions of who was deserving of assistance and who was not (Hague and Malos, 1993). Of those surveyed, more than one-third had never approached the local authorities for homelessness assistance. Of the women who did seek assistance, less than one third were given priority need status, and 28% were determined to be homeless by intention (Reeve, Casey and Goudie, 2006). Where women do receive assistance, this is frequently less than adequate. For example, women are often given temporary accommodation in hostels, bed and breakfasts or private housing. Domestic violence from husbands or male partners is typically linked to marital or partnership difficulties, for example different expectations. If a woman is forced to leave her home due to partner violence, her difficulties may be exacerbated because in leaving her partner she may also be leaving her financial security. Additionally, homelessness legislation has recently been restricted in order to prevent it from being used as an access point for permanent housing. The loss of a home is in itself an additional traumatic element which adds to the complex problems of domestic or relationship violence. Women who leave their homes to escape domestic violence may also face the challenge of needing to find a job that pays a living wage, and this difficulty may be compounded by the fact that women in this situation often have only employment experience. It has been reported that women who have been exposed to domestic violence are subject to poverty and unemployment (Byrne et al., 1999).

The diminished amount of affordable housing stock leads to further challenges in attaining permanent housing. The amount of housing constructed by London councils and housing associations has decreased significantly – from 21,147 in 1978 to 2,490 in 1996 (Reeve, Casey and Goudie, 2006). Therefore, though local authorities are required to find new housing for a vast number of people, they have to do so with a shrinking stock of suitable housing. In one survey of homeless persons, 14% of respondents reported leaving their most recent home due to domestic violence – making it the second highest cause of homelessness. When this question is restricted to just women, the number rises to 20%. These people all named their abusers as someone they knew, including family members, partners and local drug dealers. In the 41-50 year old age bracket, 40% of women cited domestic violence as the main cause of their homelessness, identifying it as the number one cause of homelessness for this age group (Reeve, Casey and Goudie, 2006).

What assistance are victims of domestic violence able to seek?

A refuge acts as a safety net for domestic violence victims in the immediate aftermath of leaving the domestic home. Refuges typically provide short-term accommodation, legal help, support groups and children’s programming (Baker, Cook and Norris, 2003). They offer an urgently needed safe space for abused women and their children, and work to help women regain control of their own lives. Thus, refuges meet the primary requirement of women fleeing domestic violence – safe emergency shelter. More well-equipped refuges are also able to offer facilities for childcare and creative play. The women’s aid movement has been instrumental in making refuges available to homeless women. Refuges have become a boon for women fleeing domestic violence, but it is still difficult for single women without children to gain access or temporary accommodation (Watson and Austerberry, 1996). Women who are forced to remain in the refuge for a long period of time experience stress and anxiety brought on by living in a public, crowded space. Residents must share rooms and amenities, which can lead to struggles. This is an increasing problem, as women currently housed in temporary refuges are facing ever-longer waits for permanent housing to become available (Ozga, 2005). Additionally, the fairly strict rules that exist in some refuges can deter some women from using them, and some refuges fail to meet the needs of some groups of women, including women with disabilities, young women and women with mental health disabilities (Chung et al, 2000). In 1988 the British government decided that the need for housing should be met by housing associations and local authorities should become “enablers and regulators”. That is, local housing authorities should become a residual welfare sector. The 1988 Housing Act therefore visualised housing associations taking over the role of provider of social housing instead of local authorities. The statutory obligations to provide shelter and permanent housing to homeless people still apply to housing authorities (Charles 1994). Additionally, housing associations are increasingly involved in the provision of accommodation, though local authorities are still the first point of contact in terms of rehousing for women and children leaving refuges. The problem is exacerbated because there is a shortfall in both refuge accommodation and temporary or permanent accommodation for women escaping domestic violence. Women and children typically stay in refuges for three months or even longer. Previous studies had showed that many of these women leaving refuges are permanently rehoused, however many others return home, either to their abusive partner or with an exclusion order (Chung et al, 2000). The other option is the private rental sector but this is usually not a realistic one. For many women is not an option to rent privately because private landlords not accept tenants who are dependent on benefits or who have children, and where landlords do take these women they often do not offer secure tenancies. In addition, the rent is very expensive and most of the women cannot afford to pay. The high costs of private housing, even with the help of housing benefit, has led to some women being unable to access suitable locations or taking houses in locations that were not suitable to their needs, such as homes which are a long distances from schools, and are not close to public transports or other facilities. Such housing arrangements are unlikely to be sustainable in the long term, and women are likely to continue seeking more suitable accommodation, therefore continuing to be unsettled (Chung et al, 2000).


Domestic and family violence are major factors contributing to women’s and children‘s homelessness. Women are still fleeing domestic and family violence for their own safety because the legal system cannot guarantee their protection. Despite the economic and social vulnerability of many such women, they often feel they have no choice but to escape a situation where they have no power and are subject to violence and abuse. The responsibility of support networks is critical for assisting women in living in relationships free of violence. It is important that housing assistance is available to women who become homeless due to domestic or familial violence. Providing women and children with affordable and safe housing must be a priority, or assistance must be given to help find steady, affordable and appropriate accommodation within a short period of time. Over the long-term, it is important to expand the amount of affordable and suitable housing available, guarantee satisfactory incomes, and offer the essential support services for current and future needs of all homeless persons. It would also be advisable for domestic violence and practice guidelines to encompass policy commitments for women who have traditionally been deemed not vulnerable enough and denied rehousing assistance. These women include those without children, those who experience domestic violence stemming from outside of their homes, those who have disabilities, and those who lack meaningful local connections. The heterogeneity of women’s experiences of domestic violence cannot be underestimated, and gives a clear indication of the need for women to be empowered to make real choices about what strategies they wish to take to ending the violence in their lives.


Baker,C, Cook, S, and Norris, F, 2003, Domestic violence and housing problems: A Contextual Analysis of Women’s Help-Seeking, Received Informal Support, and Formal System Response, [online] accessed 02/11/13

Charles, N, 1994, Domestic Violence, Homelessness and Housing: the Response of Housing Providers in Wales, Critical Social Policy, vol.14, no.2 (41), p.36-52.

Chung, D, et al, 2000, Home Safe Home, The link between domestic and family violence and women’s homelessness, Australia, Pirion Pty Limited.

Crisis (2006) ‘Homeless Women’, Crisis, London.Hague, G, Malos, E, 1993, Domestic violence Action For Change, Cheltenham, New Clarion Press.

Maidment, M R (2006) Doing Time on the Outside: Deconstructing the Benevolent Community, Canada, University of Toronto Press.

Miller, M, 1990, Bed and Breakfast: Women and Homelessness Today, London, Cox and Wyman.

Ozga, J, 2005, Domestic abuse and Homelessness legislation,, accessed 03/12/13

Reeve, K, Casey, R, Goudi, R, 2006, Homeless Women: Still being failed yet striving to survive. accessed 30/11/13.

Shelter (2013) ‘Homelessness law and domestic violence’, [online] (cited 21st December 2013) available from

Watson, S, Austerberry, 1996, Housing and homelessness: A feminist Perspective, London, Routlege & Kegan Paul. (2013) ‘Statistics About Domestic Violence’, [online] (cited 21st

Free Essays

Domestic violence in mature women in the United Kingdom A review of the literature


Domestic violence (DV) impacts considerably on the long-term health and emotional wellbeing of affected individuals. Although the literature offers some insight into the span and nature of domestic abuse amongst the mature population in the UK, at present there is little obtainable data concerning DV in mature women specifically. This gap in knowledge is increasingly being recognised as a major shortfall in knowledge and understanding in society, especially for those responsible for the support and care of victims.

Although the research in this area is limited, the work already done to date suggests that matured women’s experiences of DV are markedly different from those experienced by younger people and that these differences have not been sufficiently acknowledged. For example, mature women have different barriers that stop them reporting abuse, such as physical limitations due to older age. As the ageing population in the UK increases, national policy initiatives have started to recognise DV as a national issue for mature women. It is essential that healthcare professionals are able to identify DV and understand the exact experiences and needs of mature women that are affected by DV in order to prevent future incidents and better empower women in violent relationships.

The aim of this literature review therefore is threefold: (a) to present a complete review of the impact of DV on matured women mainly within the framework of health, (b) to explore particular barriers in recognizing and reporting DV and (c) to emphasize the gaps in our awareness and understanding from a policy and care provision viewpoint. A systematic approach to a review of the literature was used to identify key literature and available evidence relating to DV among mature women.


The Department of Health (2000) has defined DV as “a continuum of behaviour ranging from verbal abuse, through coercion and bullying, controlling behaviour, physical and sexual attack, to rape and even killing.”DV can take many forms. The most common of these include physical, sexual, verbal and financial abuse (Women’s Aid, 2007). Physical abuse typically involves any kind of physical harm such as pushing, kicking or the use of a weapon against another individual. Sexual abuse includes using force or threats to pressure a partner into unwanted sexual acts, whilst verbal abuse includes more psychological elements such as persistently attacking a partner’s self esteem through name calling. Financial abuse usually involves withholding money from a partner or forcibly taking over a partner’s assets or financial accounts (Women’s Aid, 2007).

In 2012, 1.2 million women suffered from DV (Home Office, 2013). However, fewer than 1 in 4 individuals who suffer from DV will report this (Home Office, 2013) and therefore the estimation of DV in the UK is likely to be grossly underestimated. Thirty-one percent of the funding to DV charities from local authorities was cut between 2010/11 to 2011/12, a reduction from ?7.8 million to ?5.4 million (data obtained using Freedom of Information Act requests by the False Economy project, and analysed by the research team). The National Violence against Women Survey (NVAWS) states that about 1.5 million women are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner yearly (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). The Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, which measured only physical assaults, concluded that “there were 691,710 nonfatal violent victimizations committed by current or former spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends against victims during 2001(Rennison, and Planty, 2003). Of these cases, 85% were against women (Rennison and Planty, 2003). The NVAWS also found that 22.1% of women surveyed, compared to 7.4 percent of men, and reported being physically assaulted by a current or former partner in their lifetime (Rennison and Planty, 2003).

In the United Kingdom, national policy has started to identify DV as a concern for mature women. Subsequently, the Government has put policies in place so that healthcare and social professionals are able to identify cases of DV. For example, funding of nearly ?40 million has been allocated to specialist support services and help-lines until 2015 and the piloting of a domestic violence disclosure scheme that gives individuals the right to ask about any violent criminal offences carried out by a new partner (Home Office, 2013). An estimated 27,900 women have had to be turned away by the first refuge service that they approached in the last year because there was no space, according to new figures from Women’s Aid (2012). These figures demonstrate that services are under some strain to deal with the large amount of DV cases in the UK.

Prolonged episodes of DV can result in the development of mental health problems such as depression, panic attacks and mental breakdown (Roberts et al., 1998; Astbury et al., 2000). . Women often find it difficult and challenging to communicate about the psychological abuse they suffer during DV and often prefer to suffer in silence than complain about it (Home Office, 2013). This may have resulted in creating a barrier to finding data on mature victims of domestic violence. Abused women are three and a half times more likely to be suicidal than non-abused women (Golding, 1999). Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO, 2005) indicates that domestic violence puts women at risk from a range of negative health outcomes such as physical injury, mental health problems, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, emotional distress, fatigue, sleeping and eating disorders and general fear.

There are a wide range of social factors thought to contribute the high occurrence of DV against women in the UK. These factors include some religious and political practices that undermine women (Walker, 1999). Factors such as financial hardship. a lack of resources, educational shortcomings, extreme alcohol consumption, high levels of jealousy, belonging to a large family and substance abuse have also all been linked with the rising risk of domestic violence (Martin et al., 1999). Furthermore, in comparison to their younger female counterparts, mature women may have a limited understanding of the term abuse as a result of their older generation (Zink et al., 2003). For example, DV may have not been considered as a criminal offence when they were growing up and feminist movements were generally unheard of.

Despite figures showing that DV against mature women is rising considerably the UK, the government is considering serious funding cuts for crime prevention programs as well as staff cutting plans including over 50, 000 job cuts in the ‘National Health Service’ (NHS) over the next 10 year period (Scripps, 2013). In light of these cuts, this research aims to study the relationship between DV and the prevention programs that have been designed to tackle this crime. In particular, a counsellors’ perspective will be adopted and the challenged that counsellors face in the light of budget constraints will also be explored. Using an extensive review of the literature, the following sections provide a brief overview of the various aspects pertaining to DV and its psychological influence. The review will conclude with a discussion of government interventions and policy recommendations.

This review will evaluate and critique the available literature pertaining to DV including an assessment of the historical evolution of DV as a general concern for mature women, theoretical explanations of DV and consideration of the significance of gender. This underpinning process will be used as a basis for examining the impact of DV against mature women (39 years old and above). It will also look at the value and effectiveness of current resources, initiatives, and support networks used to tackle DV and assist victims. This review will illustrate that DV in mature women is a complex and multifaceted subject.

Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this review, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

Domestic violence: The term domestic violence is defined as a physical type of abuse carried out by an individual directly towards their significant other previously or currently, through the use of violence. The intent of the abuse is to somewhat establish and maintain a sense of dominion and control over another person, and is depicted in a context of uneven authority or entitlement. This therefore increases the likelihood of inflicting harm to both the physical and emotional welfare of that individual.

Well-being: According to Ryan and Deci (2001), the term ‘well-being’ refers to the full spectrum of people’s emotional experiences and to their quality of life.

Mature women: Mature women would be defined as those persons aged 39 years and above.

Health: This is a state of physical and mental well-being, and thus not necessarily means the absence of symptoms, illness and morbidity (WHO, 2004b).

Quality of life: This is an ‘individuals’ understanding of his or her status in life, in relation to the culture and value system of society, viewed against their personal goals, standard, and expectations in life (The WHOQOL Group, 1995).

Qualitative Study: Qualitative studies are exploratory and are particularly well suited to social research. Cresswell (1998) defines a qualitative study as “an inquiry process of understanding a social or human problem, based on building a complex, holistic picture, formed with words, reporting detailed views of informants conducted in a natural setting.” Typical data gathering tools employed in a qualitative research design include observation, interviews, video documentaries, and focus groups.

Quantitative Study: Quantitative studies measure information in numbers using a set of pre-defined variables as the focus of the study. Using the definition given by Cresswell (1998), it “is an inquiry into a social or human problem, based on testing a theory composed of variables, measured with numbers, and analyzed with statistical procedures, in order to determine whether the predictive generalizations of the theory holds true.” Data collection methods typically include questionnaires, standardized tests and codified forms.

Scope and Objectives

The main objective of this research was to increase awareness of DV against mature women and to improve the standard and efficacy of the care that is provided to the victims. The researcher’s experience in looking after this group of victims has been challenging and may have been much improved if their experiences and needs were better understood.

This piece of research aimed to:

Carry out a literature review of DV in mature women.
Identify how the government and society in general support victims of domestic violence in recovery.
Identify the counsellor’s role while caring for victims of DV.
To provide an opportunity for mature women to speak of their experiences in order to highlight their experiences and to develop resources to support and inform mature women (Mears, 2002).
To explore the prevalence of physical and verbal abuse among the study population (Mouton at el, 2004).

This research will use a positivist approach, focusing on the dilemma a mature victim of DV often faces and the importance of the therapeutic relationship they hold with their counsellor. This approach focuses on gaining “positive” evidence from observable experience, rather than depending on intuition or assumptions on behalf of researchers. In particular, this approach believes that there are general patterns of cause-and-effect and that these can be used to predict natural phenomena such as DV.

Research Methodology

This dissertation will use review the literature and contain analysis of secondary data and the summarising of the literature’s findings on the topic of DV in mature women.


This piece of research used a literature review to gather data on the topic of DV amongst mature women in the UK and beyond.

The following key terms and words were used in various academic search engines including Web of Knowledge (, Science Direct ( and PubMed (

Domestic violence AND mature women.
Domestic abuse AND mature women.
Domestic violence AND women.

Due to a limit in the number of articles generated using these search terms, no exclusionary criteria were applied.

Literature review

This is a secondary review research project involving an extensive literature review on the topic of DV and its impact and effects on mature women. The material for this review was obtained from peer reviewed psychological and counselling journals, which were accessed through online journal databases such as PUBMED and CINAHL. Governmental reports such as those published by the Department of Health (2000), BACP (2000), World Health Organisation (WHO, 2004) and technical reports from scientific research groups and working papers from social welfare committees were also used within the research. This review adopted the “best evidence synthesis” method proposed by Franche et al. (2005). This method involves summarizing the literature and drawing up conclusions, based on the balance of evidence.

Epidemiology and Economic Impact

Domestic violence among mature women is a pressing national problem. As a recent report from the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2004) indicates, domestic violence against mature women has increased five-fold resulting in increased depression, physical ill health, psychological effects and other mental health disorders (Scripps, 2013).

In addition to the huge impact DV has on women, there is also a large economic cost. The Centre for Mental Health (2010) has reported an annual loss to the tune of ?30.3 billion due to mental health problems suffered by abused women, with over two thirds of this amount accounting for lost productivity within the workplace. Mental ill health which may be the result of DV has been identified as the primary reason for ‘incapacity benefit payment’ and over 43% of the 2.6 million individuals presently on long-term ‘health-related benefits’ present with psychosocial behavioural disorder as their primary condition (Department of Work and Pensions, 2010). DV can also have a direct negative impact on witnesses. Hewitt (2002) claims that almost 90% of DV occurrences are witnessed either directly or indirectly by children. Furthermore, the British government have stated that women can be distressed by witnessing DV carried out against other women (Hewitt, 2002).

The literature also reveals differences in the prevalence of DV between younger and older women. For example, mature women are two to three times more likely to report minor physical attacks such as been pushed grabbed roughly and shoving than men (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998). It has also been found that women are 7 to 14 times more likely than men to report serious physical attacks of DV that include having been strangled, threatened with weapons or use of weapons (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998).

Barriers to Accessing Care

The literature search highlighted a number of key differences between the experiences of younger and mature women when it comes to DV. For example, unlike younger women, older women may be even less aware of the services available to those experiencing DV. For example, Scott et al. (2004) reported that there is a widespread myth among service providers and women themselves that Women’s Aid and other DV services prioritise younger women and younger women with children.

Friedman et al. (1992) have postulated that abused mature women volunteer to share their uncertainties and concern to their health practitioners the majority of the time. Those women that do not share their concerns may not do so because of pride or shame. The other reason that mature women do not disclose DV is a fear of being judged by society and this has been challenged during the research as well as shortage of theoretical clarity concerning this matter since the majority of affected women were embarrassed to put across what they are facing and this has made data collection challenging.

Zink et al. (2003) investigated the reasons for staying in an abusive relationship in women aged over 55 years. It was found that reasons could be divided into three categories: cohort effects, which included reasons such as lacking education or job skills, period effects such as rejection from help services or difficulty accessing services, and aging effects, which related to the physical limitations that their age can cause. These results suggest that although mature women experience similar barriers to leaving abusive relationships such as a lack of faith in their ability to find employment and support themselves, there are also barriers unique to mature women such as worries regarding their physical strength. Therefore, health workers and counsellors must be privy to these differences in order to improve the level of care and support that mature victims of DV receive.

Theoretical Concepts

There are a number of different theories that make be used to explain how DV comes about and what motivates its perpetrators.. For example, the social exchange theory (Emerson, 1976) offers a foundation for law enforcement and the prosecution of offenders. Furthermore, this assists in helping to explain how children who observe abuse mostly grow up to be abusers themselves. In contrast, a feminist approach may provide support for interventions targeted at supporting perpetrators to improve their behaviour and helping to empower victims. However, looking at these theories they do not appear to provide an inclusive foundation and a comprehensive approach for dealing with the various underlying outcomes or scope of DV. The more integrated ecological framework theory (see for example, Heise, 1998) is the one that appears to provide the required basis for an inclusive approach. The ecological framework theory has been used to conceptualise DV as a multi-faceted and complex phenomenon that has its foundations in a multitude of different factors including those of a situational and socio-cultural foundation (Heise, 1998). Unlike other theories, this theory is not reductionist and acknowledges that DV can be the result of many different factors.


This researcher sought to increase knowledge and understanding regarding DV against older women by allowing older women themselves to speak out about how they define domestic violence; their views about causes, reporting, interventions, and consequences for perpetrators; factors that deter or prevent help-seeking from the justice system and community agencies; and elements of outreach and intervention strategies they see as acceptable and/or desirable. Results and Conclusions: Two important constructs that emerged were Domestic Abuse (DA), which encompasses emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and Barriers to Help-Seeking (BHS), which appears to be closely related to the experience of victimization. In addition, eleven sub-concepts emerged from the data. Seven of these, Isolation, Jealousy, Intimidation, Protecting Family, Self-Blame, Powerlessness, and Spirituality, appeared to be related to both the experience of DA and BHS. An additional four factors defined as Secrecy, Hopelessness, Concern for Abuser, and Justice were identified.

This review has highlighted that violence amongst mature women has reached endemic proportions in most parts of the world. It also finds that no ethnic, racial, or socio-economic group is resistant from DV. Nonetheless, the review emphasized considerable heterogeneity in methodologies, sampling periods, sample sizes and the population studied. In some studies, ethnicity, age, and socio-economic status were not reliably recorded, resulting in difficulties in comparisons and evaluations. However, it must be emphasised that the WHO multi-country study was a significant effort to amass globally similar statistics by the use of identical study approaches.

There were a number of key methodological issues identified in the studies included in this literature review.

A key weakness of surveys is that they may not measure the real figures of abused women, especially as some abused women will be unwilling to reveal and report DV against them. In view of problems associated with self-reports, it is likely that results are biased by both over-reporting and under-reporting (Koss, 1993).

According to Krauss (2006) DV differs from nation to nation, and occasionally within the same culture. Therefore, there are cultural factors to take into account when comparing research. For example, in Asian cultures women are brought up with the belief that family needs are superior to individual members’ needs (Rydstrom, 2003). Though women from poor countries are possibly most pre-disposed to believe that men have a right to beat their wives, it has been found that women in developing and developed countries can also be inclined to beliefs which vindicate violence against them (Fagan and Browne 1994). Furthermore, there are cultural differences in the societal view of DV. For example, the review has shown that not every woman who suffers abuse identifies themselves as ‘battered’ women (Mahoney 1991). For example, Islamic nations do not view domestic violence a major issue, despite its increasing incidence and serious consequences. Extracts from religious tracts have been improperly used to validate violence against women, although abuse may also be the result because of culture as well as religion (Douki et al. 2003). Nonetheless, power issues and gender (Caetano et al. 2000), rather than race and ethnicity (Anderson 1997), are likely to be more significant in building and preserving male supremacy and the inequality of power between wives and husbands (Harris et al. 2005). Furthermore, various ethnic groupings are frequently distorted into one single class, for example Asians (Mobell et al. 1997). Due to this, statistics collected on violence amongst minority populations are regularly inadequate, thereby preventing meaningful generalizations.

Waltermaurer (2005) argues that the choice of measuring and the practice used to establish the occurrence of domestic violence have important bearings on the occurrence rates being reported. The majority of television and film images, as well as the images in magazines, often display images of abused younger women who have children and this may give a false impression that domestic violence is not something that may occur later on in life. This literature review has found that in comparison to younger women, older women throughout their lives have been less aware of all services and treatments readily available for those going through DV. The previous Government legislated in the Crime and Security Act 2010 for the introduction of Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPN) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs). On the 30th of June 2012 the domestic violence protection notices and orders (DVPO) were introduced in West Mercia, Wiltshire and Greater Manchester through three police forces. The operations will continue for another year while the Home Office works hand in hand to assess the pilot and decide whether or not a permanent change in the law system is required.. The scheme gives victims who might or may have fled their homes the kind of support they may need. There was a gap in protection in DV before the scheme was founded in 2012. Previously, police were unable to charge perpetrators because of lack of evidence and also because the process of granting injunctions to the perpetrators took time. The (DVPO) scheme closes the gap between then and now and gives the police and the magistrate the power to protect a victim after the attack as soon as they possibly can and try to stop the perpetrator form getting in contact with the victim or returning home for up 28 days. Disclosure of being abused itself is insufficient to reduce the risk of adverse mental health outcomes for mature women who have been victims of DV unless the listener’s response to the disclosure was repeatedly supportive (Coker et al. 2002). Mature women report key characteristics of helpful encounters with health-care providers as non-judgemental, sympathetic and caring response (Gerbert et al. 1999).

Public and private organizations have kept on enhancing their contributions in fighting DV. In the United Kingdom, The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004) furnishes superior power to police and the courts in dealing with cases of DV and in providing security to victims. Furthermore the British government has recently issued a national domestic violence action plan which sets fourth ambitious goals:

– Reduction in the occurrence of domestic violence

– Increase in the rate that domestic violence is reported

– increase the rate of domestic violence offences that are brought to justice

– Ensure victims of domestic violence are satisfactorily protected and supported nationwide

– Reduce the number of domestic violence related homicides.

The review has shown that despite all Government initiatives towards domestic violence, healthcare agencies are still under-represented (Hague et al., 1996). It was not until the year 2000 that the Department of Health (DoH) started to take steps to implement front-line interventions from health professionals by publishing two documents known as ‘Domestic Violence: A Resource Manual for Health Care Professionals’ and ‘Principles of Conduct for Health Professionals’ (Department of Health, 2000a, 2000b). The aim of these documents was to integrate best practices recommended by the various governing bodies of differing health professionals. This documentation aims to provide guidance for healthcare professionals in their practice and daily interactions with women experiencing DV. After the publication of these documents, DV was seen for the first time as a health care issue as opposed to a mainly social care problem.

The police and the criminal justice system cannot address the issue of domestic violence alone. The cost of protection for those women who experience domestic violence is of such a scale that it should be considered a major public health issue (Department of Health, 2000a: 2).

Validity and Reliability

As most of the literature referred to in this research was phenomenological, there are some key methodological limitations. For example, phenenological research is often open to interpretation. In particular, the same words may have different meanings for different people (Beck, 1994). This may be of particular importance for the topic of DV as some women who are included as participants may report that they are abused but may not attach the same negative connotations that the researchers do. The most reliable estimates of the extent of domestic violence in England and Wales come from the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW; formerly known as the British Crime Survey). The CSEW asks people about their experience as victims. Being a household survey, it picks up more crime than the official police figures, as not all crimes are reported to the police, let alone recorded by them. Two sets of figures are available from the CSEW: the first, collected from the survey’s inception in 1981, come from the results of face-to-face interviews; the second, available from 2004/05, come from confidential self-completion modules, which respondents complete in private by responding to questions on a computer. The unwillingness of respondents to reveal experience of domestic violence to an interviewer means that the first measure significantly underestimates the extent of domestic violence.


The high occurrence ofDV experienced by mature women suggests that doctors and other healthcare professionals working in all areas of medicine must identify and explore the potential significance of DV when considering reasons why mature women present with ill health. The issue of DV against mature women should be integrated into medical training, therapist training and also into governmental policy. Heterogeneity within the methodology of the different studies discussed in this review has highlighted the significance of developing stronger definitions to improve coherence across findings during a literature search. Future research work must try to recognize cultural differences when working with families and women of ethnic minorities.

Contrary to previous assumptions that mature women may consider DV as acceptable, results of a study found that mature women were able to identify abuse and actions seen as abusive, which demonstrates suggesting that care workers may be misinterpreting victims’ feelings. The study also demonstrates how the attitude of mature women has been altered over time, from something acceptable to something that must be dealt with.

Society must stop viewing domestic violence against mature women as a problem which only affects women, as the issue is overall a public health issue. All forms of violence against mature women are abhorrent and support for those who have been abused in any form should be readily available. We need a clear and decisive answer for calls for help from the health sector, in collaboration with women’s organizations and other related public powers. As observed by Hamberger et al. (1992), future research is essential in order to help determine the reason behind some re-occurring factors that are prevalent in contributing toward cases of DV against mature women.

A collective societal intervention is necessary to address the social determinants of DV. Counsellors, as frontline care providers, have an essential role to play in controlling the negative impacts of DV amongst mature women. Counsellors can be proactive in their approach and target vulnerable individuals and groups based on initial assessment or treatment programs. Counsellors and healthcare providers should effectively liaise with various governmental and non governmental agencies that participate in delivering individual treatment plans for mature victims of DV.By improving the coordination between these participating agencies and the women that need intervention, healthcare providers can promote greater access to and utilization of these services.

Future Work

The researcher discovered that there is not much data available on the topic of DV in mature women from previous researchers. In future the researcher will conduct research herself when qualified enough to conduct research using questionnaires and interviews to collect qualitative data.


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Free Essays

Violence against Women


The United Nations defines violence against women as any gender based violence that leads to or is likely to result in sexual harm, mental harm or any other kind of suffering to women. This includes threats, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty either in private or public life (The UN Declaration on Violence Against Women 1992). Bardwell (2010) describes violence against women as the most pervasive violation of human rights in the world. Violence against women bears significant costs for the society, individuals, public services and the economy as a whole. The prevalence of violence against women and girls in England is more than that of diabetes, stroke and heart diseases (Adams 2010).). The figures published by the Office for National Statistics from 2012 to 2013 estimated that approximately 1.2 million women suffered from domestic abuse and other 330,000 were sexually assaulted. Sexual violence and domestic violence are in most cases hidden because the victims choose to suffer in silence or are afraid to come out and report (Riecher-Ro?ssler & Garci?a-Moreno 2013).).

Violence against women and girls is recognised globally as a violation of fundamental human rights that include the right to non-discrimination based on sex, right to not be treated inhumanly and degradingly, right to respect for private and family life and right to life (Bird & Westley 2011). The 1995 Beijing Platform for Action to which the United Kingdom is committed, states that violence against women is one of the major hindrances to the achievement of gender equality. Although the United Kingdom. The United Nations Committee and the European Court of Human Rights on the elimination of discrimination against women recognises violence against women as a form of discrimination. The United Kingdom has an obligation to exercise due diligence to prevent violence against women under the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the Beijing Platform and the Convention, the country has an obligation to change stereotypes, cultures and attitudes that perpetuate gender inequality. In the UK the new public sector equality duty under the Equality Act of 2010 requires all public bodies to consider equality, discrimination and good relations between groups in the way they formulate policy, employ people, buy goods and services and deliver services. This means that all the public bodies have an obligation to prevent violence against women.

Violence against women voluntary sector

The voluntary sector provides important services to support and protect the victims of violence against women. The organisations in the voluntary sector working to end the violence directed towards women in the United Kingdom challenge the system that allows for violence and abuse to continue in the country and at the same time celebrate the women who have survived such violent. The voluntary sector mostly pursues proactive prevention measures that can be categorised into three major groups depending on the target population (Stark & Buzawa 2009). The first group consists of the general measures directed at certain population groups or the whole population. For instance some of the voluntary groups use study courses in preventing violence against women for students and media campaigns targeting specific groups of children. The second category comprises of targeted measures directed at specific high risk groups for instance educating the armed forces on the importance of respecting the rights of women and all other human beings. The last category consists of the measures directed at the individuals who have already been subjected to violence before with an intention of preventing them from committing the violence again. For example they provide rehabilitation programs for the perpetrators of violence to educate them on the importance of respecting the rights of women and human rights in general.

Educational institutions and schools have been supportive of the voluntary sector as they allow them to access the students and educate them on the adverse effects of violence against women. In addition to that, these institutions also pay special attention to violent behaviour as far as the welfare of the students is concerned. The voluntary sector organises awareness campaigns targeting women to inform them that men are responsible for all their acts of violence and that such violence is illegal and as such should be reported and punished. Such initiatives are aimed at encouraging more women to come out and report the violence that they suffer privately at home in order to protect them from repeated assaults which can end up costing their lives in the long run. The campaigns also encourage the men to examine and challenge any cultural orientations that perpetuate violence against women. The programs directed at the young people have particularly been rewarding as it has reduced violence in learning institutions although there is still need to do more (Hughes & Owen 2009). The voluntary organisations often target providing education to the young people to correct the system. Most of these organisations believe that it is the system to blame for the high rates of violence against women because the society is not sufficiently educated on the need for respecting the basic human rights thus leading to the violation of the rights of women through battery and sexual violence (Harne & Radford 2008). As such they direct a lot of their effort in educating the young people at an age where the identity of their gender is just starting to take shape and can easily be influenced. For example the 16-20 age groups are often persuaded to stay in love and respect their partners in order to reduce violent behaviour in partnerships. The emphasis is that if they really love their partners then they should always strive to make them happy and not engage in any acts that would harm them. Such programs are often conducted in different communities including youth associations, schools and sports clubs.

In terms of protecting the immigrant community, the voluntary organisations often pursue comprehensive integration as the best strategy for preventing them against violence. The aim of comprehensive integration is not just to help them find jobs and settle but to help them restore their sense of life control. One way of helping the immigrants achieve this is by giving them information, support and guidance in the early stages of integration. The voluntary organisations often do this with respect to their cultural backgrounds in order to ensure that they do not perceive the process as one designed to force them abandon their cultures. The intervention programs targeting the immigrant groups are normally well constructed in order to consider their cultural backgrounds as well as the different challenges that come with the process of immigration and integration. Some of the immigrants coming into the country are from countries with patriarchal and hierarchic social structures where the right of women with regard to equality is something that has never existed both in theory and practice. For instance the girls who come to the country from cultures that do not proscribe violence against women often live under several restrictions (DeKeseredy 2011). Such restrictions make the integration process very difficult let alone access to information on physical and sexual violence. In these groups some parents at times prohibit their daughters from using the internet, engaging in leisure activities, meeting boys or doing any other things that their peers are doing and they may also wish to participate in.

The voluntary organisations often dissuade the immigrant communities with such cultures from sending their girls to other countries in order to defend their sexual reputation. Although the gendered phenomenon is inculcated deep into their culture, these organisations target the parents from this group with an aim of informing them on the dangers they expose their daughters to by forcing them to move to the other countries. Incidences of forced or early marriages are also common among these people and this increases the risk of the women and girls being exposed to violence because they do not have free will since all decisions are made for them by other people. In order to stop such behaviour and protect the women and the young girls, the voluntary organisations often offer low threshold services and activities as well as peer support groups to inform the population on the availability of such services so that they know where to turn to whenever they need any kind of assistance. Marriage is a voluntary union under the UK legislation and all the marriage procedures are supposed to protect the freedom of choice of all the individuals involved. The voluntary organisations often give the immigrants information regarding gender equality, consequences of domestic violence and rape, and where to report such incidences whenever they are perpetrated.
Peer groups are one effective channel that the voluntary organisations utilise in passing information regarding aspects like welfare, wellbeing, life control and prevention of violence against women. These groups are efficient in that the members are in most cases free to discuss their personal challenges with their colleagues making it easy for the voluntary organisations to offer help and assistance to the victims of violence against women.
To the victims of violence, the voluntary organisations normally offer them support as well as therapy to help them recover from the trauma caused by the violence. The support is normally offered jointly with other health services in selected environments to help the victims recover in the shortest time possible and resume their normal life activities (Thiara et al 2012). In addition to this, the voluntary organisations also help the victims to make use of the legal system by reporting the offenders to the authorities so they can face the law and pay for the consequences of their unlawful actions. For instance they offer financial assistance to the women who are unable to raise the legal fees, file for divorce, social security, and negotiate for child custody among other things. Owing to the fact that child custody and visiting arrangements exposes the victims to the risk of further violence in the form of blackmail, threats or direct violence the voluntary organisations normally help the women with security arrangements like insisting that whenever such visits are made it should never be in private.

The voluntary organisations have managed to achieve this level of success because they devised strategies of reaching out to the women and men differently. Once they identified that the issue lies with the system, they embarked on educating the young people on the importance of respecting human rights and upholding high moral values. To the women who are currently at the risk of being exposed to violence, the voluntary organisations have made measures to encourage them to come out and report so that they can be assisted. They inform the women that the men should take responsibility for their actions and as such they should come out and report any incidences of violence early before they escalate to the level of interfering with the quality of their lives (Lombard & McMillan 2013). The men are encouraged to resort to other measures of conflict resolution without resorting to violence because violence is itself a problem and does not provide a solution to anything. This shows that different categories require different intervention mechanisms but all these efforts are aimed at achieving the major objective which is to protect women against gender based violence.

The response of the voluntary sector to the issue at hand is directed by both proactive and reactive approaches. These strategies are important as they are useful in helping the voluntary organisations achieve their objectives in the short and long run. The proactive approaches are used on the young populations with an objective of educating them on the need to uphold high moral values and respect human rights (Hughes & Owen 2009). They are encouraged to solve their differences in relationships amicably without resorting to violence because violence only leads to more problems. The reactive approach on the other hand is intended to help both the perpetrators and victims of gender violence. The victims are encouraged to report the perpetrators to the authorities, seek counselling and get out of the abusive marriages. The perpetrators are also offered counselling and educative services to ensure that they do not repeat the crimes again.

The response of the voluntary sector differs slightly from those of the statutory agencies because the latter mostly pursues the reactive approach while the former pursues both (True 2012). The statutory agencies help the victims by offering different services like healthcare, counselling, encouraging the victims to report, and helping the victims with the legal procedures among others. Their emphasis is twofold, one is to help the victims and the other one is to deter the behaviour. The sectors response presents a holistic approach as it aims to provide both short term and long term solutions. There is no evidence that the measures taken to control violence against women are working because the number of violence victims is still high in the country as already indicated in the country. There is also a possibility that the figures provided are still an underestimation given that many women still fear coming out to report that they are in abusive relationships (DeKeseredy 2011).
External factors particularly funding has affected the response of the voluntary sector because they have limited resources at their disposal. The devolution of funding for the voluntary sector from the central government to the local authorities has resulted into many inconsistencies in levels and types of funding. For example many local authorities in the country have stopped giving the grant aid and now prefer commissioning of services through tendering and other contract funding. This has led to instability within the voluntary sector and loss of essential services (True 2012). A perfect example is refuge accommodation where the authorities have resorted to support few large organisations providing services to communities that they do not have any previous connections or knowledge at the expense of strengthening the smaller local organisations that are well placed to cater for the needs of the local people. In other cases the housing associations and other providers are taking over the specialist services offered for the victims leading to loss of expertise and independence of the voluntary sector (Thiara et al 2012). With the limited funds the voluntary sector cannot do much and as such they should focus their energy and resources on services not offered by the statutory bodies. There is need for them to focus on the key areas that they can achieve maximum returns with the limited funds while exploring other means of raising more money to support their activities.

Summary and the key issues

The prevalence of violence against women is still high in the United Kingdom despite all the efforts made by the government to reduce the problem. The voluntary organisations present a good avenue of mitigating the problem although they face many challenges that hamper the effective execution of their services. These challenges range from inadequate financing to additional roles like caring for men too have destabilised the organisations. The national government should therefore help these voluntary organisations with adequate funds and support to help them reduce violence against women in the United Kingdom.


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Free Essays

Violence and Summary Socrates

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned Themes: Redemption can be found throughout the book. Socrates, the main character, has spent twenty-seven years in prison for a violent crime that he committed. The legal system punished him for his crimes, but they did not attempt to rehabilitate him. While in prison, he committed more violent crimes than he committed before his incarceration. The Capricorn bookstore is what led Socrates to redemption, not prison. He is definitely a reformed man. He is now perceptive, compassionate and persuasive. Once he only acted on impulse, but now he reasons out what is right and what is wrong.

He tries to do the right thing, and he guides others to make the right decisions through questions and rebuttals. “Crimson Shadow” Summary The novel begins with the main character, Socrates Fortlow, going outside into the alley beside his home. Socrates is investigating why Billy, an old rooster Socrates considers his friend, is not crowing this morning. The sun is just coming up, and Socrates views the alley as almost pretty with the debris in the alley bathed in half-light. Socrates finds a boy, Darryl, standing in the alley with a cardboard box. The boy tries to run when Socrates confronts him, but Socrates stops him.

Inside of the box is Billy. He is dead. Socrates forces Darryl to take the box containing the dead rooster into his tiny, rundown home. Socrates questions Darryl as to why he killed his friend. Darryl seems relieved when he finds out Socrates is talking about the rooster. Socrates forces Darryl to pluck the chicken and to sit there while he cooks the old rooster. “Midnight Meeting” Summary Right Burke, Stony Wile, Howard Shakur and Markham Peal are all sitting in the impoverished home of Socrates discussing a serious matter. Howard’s daughter, Winnie, saw Petis stab and rob LeRoy.

Howard is seeking advice about how to handle the situation. Socrates questions Howard further. He wants to be certain Winnie really saw what Howard is claiming she saw. The men conclude that if Petis is responsible, he is also probably responsible for other murders and will not stop on his own. Three of the men have different opinions on how the situation should be handled. Right thinks they should kill Petis. Markham thinks they should go to the police. Stony feels they should tell everyone in the neighborhood about Petis and let the situation take care of itself. We get another glimpse into Socrates’ past.

The discussion sparks a memory from when Socrates was in an Indiana State prison…. “The Thief” Summary Socrates pays a visit to Iula’s diner. He visits the diner at least once a month, on Tuesdays. Iula serves meatloaf on Tuesdays and that is one thing he is not able to make on his hotplate in his small home. Socrates has been out picking up bottles and cans. He does not like the way the men treat him at Crenshaw’s. They make him wait, while they stand around telling jokes, and then they check every can and bottle before accepting them. After getting his money for the bottles and cans today, three men jump him.

Socrates receives a cut on his wrist from a broken bottle, but otherwise he walks away the winner. Iula shows concern over his wrist. Socrates has already taken the time to stitch his slashed sleeve. Iula tells Socrates he has no business out there collecting bottles and cans and offers him a job… “Double Standard” Summary Socrates is waiting for a bus. It is pouring rain, and the streets are mostly deserted. Across the street from the bus stop he sees two lovers standing under the ledge of an abandoned shop. Socrates imagines that the shop was once a bakery because of the blue and white checks on the window.

He pictures the bakery full of hard working black people working long hours and earning good pay. Socrates tries to give the couple as much privacy as possible under the circumstances. Ralphie, according to the woman’s passionate cries, is on the heavy side. The girl is small and much younger. The girl’s bus is coming down the street and the couple runs to the bus stop. When they do, Socrates finds out the girl’s name is Linda. Ralphie does not want to let Linda go, but he finally releases her hand, and the bus drives off… “Equal Opportunity” Summary Socrates is trying to get a job.

He has been practicing how to ask for an application. After taking three different buses to get there, he walks into the Bounty Supermarket on Venice Boulevard. In his eyes, the store is a glittering palace with a religious feel. The everyday noises of the store all mesh together into a music that lulls Socrates. Socrates is approached by the Assistant Manager , Anton Crier. Socrates asks the man for an application. Anton stalls for a moment and then asks Socrates what kind of application he wants. Socrates tells him a job application and feels that the man is making him beg already. Anton then asks Socrates his age.

Socrates lets Anton know that it is illegal to discriminate based on color, sex, religion, infirmity or age. Anton tells Socrates that he knows that, but they do not have any openings at the… “Marvane Street” Summary Darryl returns to visit Socrates. It is pouring rain, and the boy is cold and hungry. Socrates believes all eleven-year-old boys are hungry, especially when they are poor. Socrates feeds Darryl, and as the boy shovels the food into his mouth, Socrates feels the urge to slap and shake the skinny child. Socrates wishes a man had felt that type of love for him before he had gone wrong.

He views Darryl as a troubled child; a lost soul who did wrong but doesn’t fully know it. Darryl tells Socrates he has been having a recurring nightmare that keeps him from sleeping. In the nightmare, Darryl is in a large room with the lights out, but he is able to see the boy with the cut in his neck screaming and coming after him. Darryl always wakes up before the boy gets him, but he thinks that if the boy… “Man Gone” Summary Corina Shakur shows up at Socrates’ home looking for Howard. Corina is upset, because she and Howard had an argument the night before, and he has never stayed out all night.

Socrates asks Corina what she and Howard fought about, and she tells him that she told Howard he should get a job at McDonald’s or someplace until he can do computer operations. Howard has not had a job in nine months, and they have cut Corina’s hours at work. When Socrates suggests that Howard is lazy, Corina defends him and says he is just proud. Socrates says that Howard is not too proud to let his wife bring in all the money. Socrates goes on to explain that black men are always complaining how hard things are for them, but they are too proud. Children and a loving woman are much better than pride.

Socrates tells Corina that Howard… “The Wanderer” Summary “The Wanderer” takes us back to Socrates’ release from prison and his move to California. Socrates had his first fight in his new surroundings within a week of his prison release. A man by the name of Charles Rinnett was trying to impress his friends and chose to degrade Socrates in the process. In the end, Charles ended up being the one degraded. Socrates broke Charles’ nose and knocked him to the ground three times before the man decided to stay down. Socrates sees Charles around Watts collecting bottles and cans.

Charles has grown shabbier. Sometimes he wishes he could apologize to Charles for breaking his nose. He often has imaginary conversations with the man, trying to motivate him to do something with his life. In his conversations, Charles tells Socrates that they are both at the bottom of the white man’s ladder, and neither one of them can climb… “Lessons” Summary Darryl has moved in with Socrates. The two of them are sitting in a park waiting on Philip, a neighborhood gang banger, so that Darryl can confront him. Darryl is scared, but Socrates tells him that he has to do this.

While they are waiting, Socrates tells Darryl that he had a dream about his momma. Darryl tells Socrates he has been dreaming about a naked Yvette Frank, telling him how much she likes him. Socrates says he is dreaming about manhood. When Philip shows up with two other thugs, Socrates leaves Darryl standing there alone. Philip takes the first swing at Darryl, but misses. Darryl hits Philip in the chin with a right cross, but it does not affect the gangbanger. As the fight intensifies, Socrates intervenes by knocking out and disarming the other two thugs.

He then slaps a gun from Philip’s hand and slaps him off of… “Letter to Theresa” Summary Socrates is very sick with the intestinal flu. He has not been able to call in sick and is concerned about his job. He is not able to make it from one room to the other. All he can do is sleep and dream. He dreams of Theresa. The dream seems so real to him. In his dream, he comes home to her after being beaten badly. She comforts him until he falls asleep. When he wakes back up in the dream, she has bandaged his cuts. He looks into her eyes and sees every cut and bruise he has ever had in them.

She wants to know when he is going to stop all of this. Theresa tells him she can’t go on worrying and taking care of him. Socrates tries to tell her not to go, but he can’t. Darryl then wakes him up asking him what he… “History” Summary Socrates has been inside for three days watching riots on his muted television. He stays inside, not because of fear of what might happen to him, but because of fear of what he might do. “The smoke coming through the cracks in his apartment walls smelled of sweet revenge. ” Everything that has happened to Socrates in the past wants out there on the streets, but he stays inside.

While he is watching the television, he sees a billboard he is familiar with topple over. Socrates knows that the billboard is falling on top of a bookstore that he visited regularly when he first got out of prison. He had been waiting for his violence to bubble over and erupt until he visited the bookstore. The bookstore changed him. It was a place that he could read and talk with others without being chased out for not buying anything. “Firebug” Summary When Socrates visits Stony Wile’s cousin, Folger gives Socrates a long lecture on the faults of the LAPD.

Folger brings up the dozen fires that have been set. A squatter and his girlfriend were killed in the most recent fire. Some people are speculating that the fire department is setting the fires for the white landlords, but Folger thinks it is the Koreans trying to steal everything. Socrates tells Folger that he knows some real nice Koreans, and it is the businessmen, even black men, that want to steal everything. Folger believes the fires are a part of a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, but Socrates says, “Maybe it go to the heart, Mr. Wile. Socrates thinks that everything is rotten and that maybe burning it all down is the only way to straighten things out. Socrates asks a high school kid, Bruce Tynan, working with… “Black Dog” Summary This chapter opens with Socrates standing before a judge. His attorney is stressing that Socrates has paid for his previous crimes and has been living a productive life on LA. The prosecutor is stressing that Socrates has killed in the past, and this is a violent crime that brings him before the judge. While Socrates is in the holding cell, he has to pass the holding cell’s initiation.

A baby faced man named Peters is harassing him. He chokes Peters to the brink of death and then releases him. A large, bearded black man by the name of Benny tells a curious guard that he was just showing Peters a trick. Peters nods that he is okay. Socrates has now established that he is not a man to be taken lightly. Socrates decides that Benny has appointed himself as leader. He knows he will have to go up against Benny… “Last Rites” Summary Right Burke is dying a painful death from prostrate cancer. He is asking Socrates to get him a gun so that he can end his misery. Socrates is trying to talk Right out of it.

He tells Right that he can’t do that in Luvia’s house. Right says that he can come to Socrates’ house, but Socrates asks him how that would look to the police. Right then says he can go to the park, but Socrates tells him that he can barely walk to the end of the block, so he knows there is no way Right can make it to the park. Socrates visits Hogan’s Snooker Room looking for Blackbird. Blackbird is a man that is probably as bad as Socrates, if not worse. The Snooker Room is a place to get illegal things and the police are paid their street insurance so there is never a problem….

Free Essays

Music and Violence: Still a Concern in 2007

Media effects have been a hot topic in United States social history, especially with the newest in technology, which brings video and film to the personal computer and ipod.  However, one of the most long-standing debates does not concern new technology, but an older medium – music.  For nearly five decades, psychologists, scientists and parents have expressed concern that music lyrics could affect listeners and behavior, even violent behavior.  Despite some switch in focus to violent and sexual content in film and internet video, music lyrics still hold concern for their possible contribution to aggressive behavior in the United States and elsewhere.

In response to this concern, many public and private investigations have sought to reach some sort of conclusion on the impact that music lyrics may have on aggressive behavior of young people.  The 1982 National Institute of Mental Health report noted that media violence, including violence in music, was a “serious threat to public health,” and by the 1990s, most research concluded that “media violence on aggressive and violent behavior was real, causal and significant” (Anderson, et al.

This was followed by a Congressional Public Health Summit which consisted of six medical and public health organizations.   Their conclusion delivered as a joint statement of all was that “entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values, and behavior, particularly in children” (Anderson, et al., 2003).

These research organizations define aggression as “any behavior that is intended to harm another person” and can include not only physical aggression, but also sexual aggression, verbal aggression, and indirect aggression.  Particular attention has be revisited on music lyrics with the rise in popularity during the 80s and 90s of the music video.

Researcher found that music videos are laden with violence and “explicit aggressive content” with “antisocial overtones” (Anderson, et al. 2003).  In fact, a study by However, Waite, Hillbrand, and Foster (1992) found that aggressive behavior in a forensic inpatient ward decreased significantly after MTV (Music Television) was removed from the television offerings.

Additionally another group of researchers found that males who listened and viewed violent music videos exhibited a significant increase in “adversarial sexual beliefs and negative affect” (Peterson and Pfost, 1989).  Additional this group also found that college students who listed to rock music with antisocial themes self-reported a wider range of acceptance for antisocial behaviors. Additional studies also followed test subjects for several years and report that violent music videos can have long term negative and maladaptive effects on young people (Anderson et al, 2003)

One performer who has recently fallen under close scrutiny is Marshall Mathers, known to listening fans as Eminem.  Eminem’s character, Slim Shady, appeals to teenagers because her represents the extreme emotions which range from outrage to helplessness that are so common in the lives of adolescents (Doherty, 2000).

Eminem is profane, rebellious, determined to be himself, to speak what he takes to be the truth about his emotions and what he sees around him. He’s all the more determined to do so if it pisses off authority figures. And in a world largely dominated by modern liberal cant, the best way to outrage adults is to come across as anti-gay, anti-woman, and pro-violence. As Eminem says in “Criminal,” “Half the shit I say, I just make it up to make you mad.” Such an attitude speaks directly to adolescent anomie and rebellion (Doherty, 2000).

Lyrics such as this draw teens into the world of Slim Shady, identifying with him and adopting his style of dress, attitudes and behaviors.

Now, these lyrics are even more damaging, according to Myronda Reuben of WBLX in Mobile, Alabama.  She says that music now holds less hope and fewer positive possibilities in the lyrics:“Back in the day, when a rapper was talking about ‘the life,’ it was usually about getting out of away from the violence and the streets.  Now the music glorifies it, and there are so many contradictory messages out there” (Hall, 2000).

Another example is the phenomenon known as Hip-Hop. Researchers note that these songs target what is known as “marginalized youth,” which is defined as those that experience the “most dramatic social pressures” (Violent Music Lyrics Increase Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings 2003)  in life, such as economic, family and behavior issues.  These individuals who listen to rap are more likely to become violent. Hip hop music seems to have the common theme of drug use, alcoholism, Aids, and murder.

Thus, results of several experimental studies show that subjects who listened to violent songs were more likely to interpret ambiguous words and phrases as aggressive, and to having “increased feelings of hostility without provocation or threat”  (Violent Music Lyrics Increase Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings 2003).

These violent songs with their aggressive thoughts and feelings have daunting implications for real world violence, notes Anderson cited in the aforementioned article:

Aggressive thoughts can influence perceptions of ongoing social interactions, coloring them with an aggressive tint. Such aggression-biased interpretations can, in turn, instigate a more aggressive response–verbal or physical–than would have been emitted in a nonbiased state, thus provoking an aggressive escalatory spiral of antisocial exchanges…(Violent Music Lyrics Increase Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings 2003).

It is easy to see why these concerns are in place when one examines the lyrics from two hip hop songs that have been at the very top of the Billboard charts as cited by Senator Brownback (1998):

“F– home we capture with more hits and slaughter more kids…

You know for real the nig– came f–in’ sucked my d–…

I have nig–z falling like white b in a scary movie…”


“I’m known in the ghetto for slangin’ narcotics…

I come up short I’ma bust yo’f–in’ lip up

Cuz money and murder is the code that I live by

Come to ya set and do a muthaf–in’ walk-by.”

These lyrics from the songs “Get at Me Dog,” by DMX and “Come and Get Some” by Master P show the explicit references to killing, racial slurs, sexuality and drugs.

Ironically, these chaotic songs are highly organized and effective at targeting youth and maximizing profit, which tends to squelch legislative attempts at censorship.  Scholars have identified some particularly disturbing rap styles:  hustler rap, booty rap, pimp rap, gangsa rap, and don rap – all of which are considered as hardcore rap.  Hustler rap features a bad guy figure who dominates others through force, intimidation and/or seduction.

Booty rap applauds sexual shock and nonconformity with titles from the group 2 Life Crew like “Dick Almighty,” “Me So Horny,” and “The Fuck Shop.”  Pimp rap focus on money and sex; an example is P Diddy’s song “It’s All about the Benjamins.”  Finally, gangsta rap emphasizes the acceptance of antisocial, often violent, behavior.  For example, NWA’s  (Niggaz Wit Attitude) album Straight Outta Compton offers a written thank you to:

“All the gangsters, dope dealers, criminals, thieves, vandals,

villains, thugs, hoodlums, killers, hustlers, baseheads, hypes,

winos, bums, arsonists, police, maniacs and bad ass kids for

listening to our shit…” (Lena, 2006).

Finally, don rappers (like Master P and Junior M.A.F.I.A.) combine gangsta rap’s emphasis on

violence with the pimp rap emphasis on money and sexual dominance (Lena, 2006).

These songs do translate into aggressive action.  For example, in the case of Mitch Johnson, the boy who was charged with killing four fellow students and a teacher in Jonesboro, Arkansas, frequently listened to violent rock and rap.  Mrs. Pelley is a junior-high-school teacher there who notes that after the shootings, several students revealed that Mitch had a morbid fascination with this type of music.  Mrs. Pelley discovered in a discussion with her students that while nearly ball of them could recite the violent and aggressive lyrics of songsw by Bone, Thugs-N-Harmony, and Tupac Shakur, nearly none of their parents had any idea about these songs and performers (Brownback, 1998).

The tragedy of Columbine is also linked to the music of the controversial Marilyn Manson, primarily because shooter Eric Harris’s website contained frequent laudatory references to the odd performer, and both shooters wore Manson t-shirts and recited his lyrics frequently.  However, many psychologists note that this type of violence hails from an inability to communicate hatred and rage, a characteristic that these lyrics definitely do NOT have (Sanjek, 1999).

Violent results from these songs are not limited to school kids.  In fact, one of the newest controversies concerning music lyrics hails from the dancehalls of reggae.  Dancehall reggae lyrics have a long history of aggressive content.  One popular artist is Buju Banton, whose 1992 chart topper called ‘Boom Bye Bye” explicitly urged listeners “to burn, shoot and pour acid on gay people”  (Werde, 2004), and Artist Beenie Man’s hit “Weh Yuh No Fi Do” similarly argues that  gay men should die.

Luckily, gay rights activists have been able to convince some of these dancehall sponsors such as Red Stripe Beer and Pepsi, to exert pressure on these performers to tone down their acts.  A group of sponsors did issue a statement to this effect, saying “that the continued use of violent lyrics could ultimately lead to the decline of our music industry, as well as a social and economic backlash” (Werde, 2004).

It’s disappointing to realise that in the 21st century there are still people who want to belittle or frighten other people for their own amusement. Aren’t we better than this? Aren’t our musicians better than this” (Debbonaire, 2006).  While violence is rarely linked to only one source, certainly the draw of aggressive music lyrics must share in the responsibility for aggressive behavior in youth.

Possibly because of the enormous profit to be made by this music and possibly because of the first amendment, which protects speech, these lyrics are allowed onto CDs and on videos.  Despite warnings and labeling movements, any youngster who wants to obtain a CD is likely to be able to.  If not, the most vulgar of these artists perform and release their CDs underground, where they can be copied and spread among these teens.

The best defense against song lyrics is parent involvement and participation.  Open discussion will do a lot towards deflecting some of the adverse effects of violence in music.  While song writers will do what makes money and kids will buy what music is hot, adults need to take a stand to ensure that this sad trend does not get any worse.


Anderson, Craig A. (2003). The influence of media violence on youth. Psychological Science in

the Public Interest 4 (3), 81-100.

Brownback, Senator Sam. (1998). The melodies of Mayhem. Policy Review, 92

Debbonaire, T. (2006).  Domestic Violence: Are Song Lyrics Really To Blame?  BBC Radio.                  Retrieved 2 June 2007 from


Doherty, B. (2000). Bum Rap.  Reason 32 (7)

Hall, D. (2000). Violence In Lyrics, Life An Issue For Radio. Billboard 112.27

Lena, J.C. (2006). Social Context and Musical Content of Rap Music, 1979-1995. Social Forces   85.1: 479-495

Peterson, D.L., & Pfost, K.S. (1989). Influence of rock videos on attitudes of violence against

women. Psychological Reports  64, 319–322.

Sanjek, D. (1999). Paying the Cost to Be the Boss. Popular Music & Society 23 (3), 25-29

Violent Music Lyrics Increase Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings. (2003). Journal for Quality &

Participation 26 (2):46-47

Waite, B.M., Hillbrand, M., & Foster, H.G. (1992). Reduction of aggressive behavior after

removal of Music Television. Hospital and Community Psychiatry 43, 173–175.

Werde, B. (2004). Reggae Boycott. Rolling Stone, 961, November 11.


Free Essays

Militarism and Border Violence

War exposes the operation of sex and race in the construction of a nation as war enables us to perceive the process of securing and creating territories through the use and implementation of particular values and standards of perceiving reality. For example, the division between the battlefront and home front along with the emphasis on the action in the trenches creates and highlights gendered boundaries, which are equivalent to the division between the protector and the protected.

Furthermore, the social territories formed during and after the war highlights the use of ethnocentric viewpoints, which leads to racism and the exploitation of bodies. The mode in which these events are possible can be read by stating that the current events within the world are affected by the different modes in which a hegemonic groups’ power becomes visible in a society. Within this perspective, one may state that the current oppression that women experience is caused by the patriarchal views heeded by those who directly affect world politics.

Such may be the case; however it is still possible to state that even though certain nations hold control of current world politics, equal ground has been given to the different agents within society. Women, in this perspective, may be seen as possessing freedom in so far as they are no longer placed within the stereotypes of the feminine. However, the case is not that simple.

Consider for example a woman in a Third World Country who is granted the recognition of her independence. Although this woman is “free”, she is still placed within the stereotype of a Third World woman who needs to be further emancipated from her “barbaric” culture. In order to resolve such a conflict let us consider Michel Foucault’s conception of power.

According to Foucault, power is not an institution. It refers to the strategic situations within a particular society. It cannot be located in a particular or specific entity such as the state’s sovereign, it is everywhere and nowhere at the same time manifesting its existence in the different forms of repressions present within society. Repression, however, should not be seen as an entirely negative aspect. Repression is not a form of paralysis; it should not be seen as a freezing of possibilities for all forms of repression enables. Consider for example a Muslim woman who is forced by social norms to wear a burqa.

According to Abu-Lughod the act of wearing a burqa should not be seen as repressive in character since Muslim women choose to wear it for it is a basis of their social status. A Muslim woman who does not wear a burqa for instance does not come from a reputable family or she is a woman who participates in the trade of the flesh. Abu-Lughod states that the benevolent father image portrayed by America towards the Palestinian women misconstrues the Palestinian women’s cultural background. Such an ethnocentric perspective merely shows America’s disrespect of other cultures.

In the above example, one can see how a repressive state may have allowances, which the individual may use to inch towards her freedom, which in these terms refers to the control of the power relations that is dominant in that particular period. Palestinian women’s opposition of the predominant consciousness regarding women’s oppression can best be portrayed using the notion of oppositional consciousness. Oppositional consciousness refers to the subversive use of tools of repression.

This is evident in the practice of Palestinian women in the United States who choose to wear their burqa despite their freedom to dispose of it within foreign grounds. It might be stated that such an action is only possible since there are no threats placed upon the individual’s life when she refuses to adhere to the practice in a different place. However, it can be argued that as long as their actions are explicitly stated to stand for a particular cause notion of oppositional consciousness still follows.

Oppositional consciousness, however, becomes problematic when one considers that an individual is predisposed to think in a particular way based upon his or her ontological and epistemic background. In other words, is it really possible for a woman to obtain freedom when she has been conditioned or predisposed to think in a particular way? Specifically, in a way wherein she considers the view of the patriarch to be the basis for truth compared to the view of her fellow women. This tendency is apparent in the current contentions that feminism experiences with women outside the academe.

As an answer to the events, which occurred after the September 11 bombing, Bachetta, together with other transnational feminists stated their disapproval towards the violent effects of Bush’s “messianic mission” to redeem the world from all forms of “terror” evident in the so called “backward” and “barbaric ways” of those who reside in the Middle East. According to S.R., a Palestinian woman, though she agrees with the general appeal of feminists to stop the war, she disapproves of the way that feminists present Palestinian women in general.

According to S.R., liberation should not be forced on an individual. It is an instinct, which presents itself on its own way. The general contention regarding transnational feminists appeal is their ethnocentric tendency to perceive other women who refuses to heed their call as “oppressed” individuals.

However, it may be argued that transnational feminists notion of feminism may be salvaged if one considers that their emphasis lies on the need for women to be freed from their political double bind apparent in their marginalization as women and in the use of their bodies as tools for the assertion of power. Instances like these can be seen in Falcon’s analysis of the militarized rape cases, which occurred in the US-Mexico border.

Sylvanna Falcon, in her paper “‘National Security’ and the Violation of Women’s Bodies” reiterates these claims as she discussed the cases of rape committed at the US-Mexico border. Falcon argued that the rape and harassment of women in the said border presents an example of “the hypermasculine nature of war and militarism” wherein sexual assault is used as a military strategy which aims to “dominate women and psychologically debilitate people viewed as the ‘enemy’” (120).

According to Falcon, what occurs in the border is a form of “national security rape and systematic rape”. “National security rape” refers to the sexual abuse of women committed for the sake of “bolstering (a soldier’s) nervous nerves”. “Systematic rape”, on the other hand, refers to the use of rape “as an instrument of open warfare” (121). It should be noted that these women are placed in a political double bind. Besides being displaced individuals and forced migrants, they are considered as threats to the state as the state conveniently forgets that these individuals are products of the internal repressions caused by the war.

One might presume that their existence within the middle ground grants them a special immunity since they are freed from the hegemonizing tendencies of the state. In fact, Falcon herself recognizes their positionality as providing them with a space that enables them to counter the system’s legitimacy. This idea becomes her springboard for the possibility of holding the United States accountable for the human rights violations committed in the US-Mexican border. However, it is important to consider the tendency of “universal rights” to be particularistic in character, in other words, applicable to others only-particularly to the enemy of those who hold the position of power.

In the 1990’s a new norm has developed in international affairs. This refers to the right of self designated “enlighted states” to resort to force in order to protect humanity”. The guiding principle behind this exists in the malleability of norms and its tendency to be placed in alignment with the interests of the powerful. An example of this is apparent in Nuremberg trials wherein an act is considered “criminal” if and only it is not one, which the victor committed.

The operative definition of a crime or any form of injustice within the universal jurisdiction would be an act, which only the vanquished foe committed. A more recent example can be seen in the “war against terror” of the United States. According to the US Code and Army Manual, terrorism refers to “the use, or threat, of action which is violent, damaging, or disrupting, and is intended to influence the government or intimidate the public and is for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, or ideological cause” (qtd from George, 18).

From this definition, it follows that the sexual assaults, which occur at the US-Mexico border are in themselves acts of terrorism since they are enacted in order to reinforce the United States’ hold on the territory through causing damages and disruptions in women’s lives. This presents us with the self- negating tendencies of the United States’ “messianic mission” of grafting democracy along with its ideals of freedom and liberty to the rest of the world.

Although it might be stated that United States may be held accountable for it offenses against the national community, the possibility of the event is dependent upon the change of the power relations that dominate the national society. Such a change, on the other hand is dependent upon women’s recognition of their positions as transnational members of the global community capable of mobilizing against the capitalist movements in the world.

Works Cited:

Falcon, Sylvanna.  “‘National Security’ and the Violation of Women: Militarized Border Rape at the U.S. Mexico Border.”

George, Alexander.  Western State Terrorism.  Polity: Blackwell, 1991.




Free Essays

Violence Against Women in India

Andhra Pradesh and Delhi have a special place in annals of crimes against women in India in recent times. If we are to take a look at the statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, Andhra Pradesh has figured consistently in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as the state with highest incidences of crime against women; and Delhi, similarly has figured as the city with highest incidences of crime against women in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. Let me restate the figures and illustrate just a few preliminary findings.

Andhra Pradesh: Collated statistics for 2008-2010 A total of 76, 924 incidents of crime against women have been recorded from 2008-2010. This is the highest in India for a state and Andhra Pradesh topped this dubious list each consecutive year for three years till 2010. 2011 statistics are awaited. As per categories of crime, crime against women constitutes the second or third largest category in crimes in Andhra Pradesh. A total of 3,807 cases of rape have been recorded for the same period, which constitutes 4. 4% of total incidence of crime against women. A total of 14,511 cases of molestation have been recorded for the same period, which constitutes 18. 86% of total incidence of crime against women. A total of 11,633 cases of sexual harassment (eve-teasing) have been recorded for the same period, which constitutes 15. 12% of total incidence of crime against women. Rapes, molestations and sexual harassment (eve-teasing) constituted 38. 93% of crimes against women in Andhra Pradesh in 2008-2010.

Women in the age group of 18-30 years were most vulnerable to rape, followed by the women in age group of 14-18 years. In all the 3,807 rape cases that had been recorded in Andhra Pradesh between 2008-2010, the offenders were known to the victims. The picture in Karnataka is better, with 18. 2% of married women in this age group being subjected to physical violence, 3. 2% to sexual assault and 6. 9% to emotional domestic violence. But the Bihar story is horrifying where the percentage of physical violence is as high as 56%.

Tamil Nadu is at a close second with 40. 2%. The number of cases registered under Protection of Women From Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005, has increased to 7,802 in 2009 from 5,643 in 2008. Andhra Pradesh registered 2,710 cases under the DV act, the highest in any state in 2009. The NFHS-3 has further stated: “81% of married women between 15 and 49 years, who have experienced physical or sexual violence from husbands, have for the first time faced it within five years of marriage. ” Being slapped is the most common form of physical violence that married women experience. Of 35% married women subjected to any form of physical violence, 97% were slapped and 1% of them experienced life- threatening violence in the form of being choked or burned or being threatened or attacked with a weapon,” the study said. Union minister for women and child welfare Krishna Tirath recently proposed the idea of training first-class judicial and metropolitan magistrates on how to deal with cases filed under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Free Essays

American Horror Story: the Affects of Sex and Violence in Media

Media Analysis: American Horror Story American Horror Story is an FX horror-drama television show, as well as an anthology series; each season of the show has a different cast and storyline. The show was created by Ryan Murphy (creator of the FOX show Glee) and Brad Falchuk (producer of Nip/Tuck), and premiered on October 5, 2011. The first season of the show follows the Harmon family as they settle into their new home in Los Angeles. They are unaware, however, that the mansion is haunted by its many former owners. The two main topics in which we covered in class that are utilized in the show are frightening and sexual content in media.

The focus of the first season is on infidelity and temptation. Ben and Vivien Harmon moved to Los Angeles from Boston with their daughter Violet in an attempt to start over and save their fragile marriage, after Ben had an affair with one of his students. Although they think the move will help, it only worsens their situation. The cable series is full of as much violence and sexual content as the writers and producers can get away with. With multiple instances of violence, sex, and nudity in every episode, the show draws a very large audience.

American Horror Story is FX’s most viewed series, with the pilot of the first season bringing in 3. 2 million viewers. The show gained viewers as it progressed, and the premiere of the second season had 3. 85 million viewers. In an interview by AfterElton. com contributor Brian Juergens, when asked about what he wanted to bring to the horror genre, producer Brad Falchuk said “In the case of the horror genre, your main goal is to scare people. You want people to be a little bit off balance afterwards. You want people to have their friends sleep over that night.

And you want to deliver iconic images that stay with people. ” The writers of American Horror Story make use of many of the subjects from chapter 13 of our textbook. There are many realistic scenarios that occur in the series, such as a home invasion and multiple murders. This is an example of stimulus generalization. Because many of the scenes are highly realistic, the generalization stimulus is very high, which consequently increases the fearful or emotional response. American Horror Story is rated TV-MA, which means that it is intended for mature audiences, and not children (usually age 17 or older).

It also has a sub rating of LSV (offensive language, strong sexual content, and violence and gore). R-rated videos and magazines contain far more profane and explicit sexual content than network television shows, but sexual remarks and suggestions are becoming ever more frequent in public media today. In American Horror Story there are elements of the four major themes of sexuality in media. Sexual scenes in the show include examples of domination (sexual control of a person), exploitation (coercion of one person by way of power or status), reciprocity (consensual sex), and autoeroticism (self-stimulation, such as masturbation).

In the pilot of the first season Ben walks in on the housekeeper, Moira, masturbating. She tries to get him to sleep with her but he goes to another room and masturbates as well. Yet another storyline consists of Ben’s former student, Hayden, in which he had an affair with, who shows up and tries to convince him to stay with her. These scenes, along with many others throughout the season, go back to the theme of infidelity and temptation. The trailer for the first season of American Horror Story gives the basic plot of the show. It also makes use of frightening music and sounds to get the attention of fans of the horror genre.

The season two trailer also highlights each character’s traits and occupations briefly (Leo’s photography, Shelley’s sensuality, Lana Winters’ love for her partner, Wendy, etc. ). These short advertisements appeal to viewers by the use of catharsis. The audience of American Horror Story wants to be scared. It’s a way for them to escape, or animate, their own violent predispositions or inclinations; to purge themselves of their personal worries and apprehensions. Personally speaking, I find the sadistic and erotic nature of the show enjoyable.

It allows me and other viewers to gain vicious pleasure by identifying with the immoral and shady personalities of the characters in the show. The intent of the show can be pretty well summed up by the theories of scholar and professor, Dolf Zillmann, in Fundamentals of Media Effects (Bryant and Thompson): “Zillmann (1991a, 1991b) described horror as frightening because it releases empathetic responses toward victims and makes viewers apprehensive about becoming victims themselves. In other words, viewers identify with the victims and experience their terror vicariously.

Horror also frightens viewers because of their apprehensions; they fear being victims themselves. Finally, horror usually features a satisfying ending that viewers enjoy. ” American Horror Story has had its share of controversy with viewers already. Erin Brown, contributor for the Culture and Media Institute at the Media Research Center, writes: “The premiere of “American Horror Story” wasn’t just sexually and physically repulsive. Flashback scenes also featured a large dose of verbal and mental cruelty toward a Down syndrome girl – including her mother, played by Jessica Lange, wishing she’d aborted her.

To add to the violence, sex and abuse, there were 13 versions of the word “s**t,” and such delightful terms as “p***y” and “c**ksucker. ” With all this objectionable content, Entertainment Weekly still named American Horror Story one of its “Top Ten Things We Love this Week” putting it on their famous “Must List” in the October 7 issue. “This show has a potential to literally be shattering to all of the things that we consider to be normal,” one of the actors said during production. ” Many parental reviews of the show describe it as disturbing, terrifying, and even repulsive.

The three main age groups discussed in the Reactions to Disturbing or Frightening Media Content chapter of Fundamentals of Media Effects, 3-8, 9-12, and 12-17, are all thought to be too young for most parents. Some critics also consider American Horror Story to be a strained and overexcited mess. Though there are many frightening elements to the show, most of them are written off as cliche. The fact that in society today we are so used to seeing violence and sexual content in media, these happenings in the show are not as disconcerting as they would have been in the decades prior to the twenty-first century.

Free Essays

Effect Of Violence On Children’s Television Programs

The last decade has generated enormous momentum regarding the effect of violence in media targeted at individuals in the young age bracket. But even as awareness increases the problem seems to increase in magnitude. Experts argue that unless the demand does not reduce the supply will not match down and this might just be true. In reality the stem of the problem is still lack of awareness. An average educated American family might know not to expose their children to violence on television but may not really gauge the fact that the program their toddler watches on screen has its share of violence in a well fed and nourished capsule. This is largely the problem.

Of course, other social factors can increase the likelihood of violence by youth: lack of interaction with parents, brutality in home life, exposure to violence in neighborhoods, and easy access to guns. Here we are talking about an entire generation of our children who shall be victims to aggression and violence and who shall with increased likelihood grow up to be less productive individuals. Let us not forget that we are talking about the future of any given nation when we speak of its children. Take a look.

Significance of the problem at hand:

So just why is it so important that we try to understand something that happens in childhood? And that too something as trivial as a few stunts in your child’s daily program, some might ask. Don’t most children grow out of such things when they grow up and begin to exhibit normal acceptable adult behavior? The truth is that during early childhood, the foundation is laid for future social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.

During this formative period, young children are particularly vulnerable to negative influences. In most instances, children have no control over the environmental messages they receive. Up until age seven or eight, children have great difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality, and their ability to comprehend nuances of behavior, motivation, or moral complexity is limited. This special vulnerability of children necessitates increased vigilance to protect them from potentially negative influences.


The nation’s first major study on the effects of TV violence was a 1972 U.S. surgeon general’s report that confirmed that televised violence, indeed, does have an adverse effect on certain members of our society.

MAJOR and Direct

-Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others (‘desensitization’ to violence)

-Children become fearful of the world around them

-Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others

–Media violence can be especially damaging to children under age 8 and their families because they cannot readily tell the difference between real life and fantasy and stresses the caregivers.

-Direct anti social behavior as a result of simulating the acts seen on television.

-Immediate phobias due to what is seen on screen which makes them fearful  of the world around them.

– In their play, children imitate those characters reinforced for their aggressive behavior and rehearse the characters’ scripts without creative or reflective thought. And it has to be well understood that creativity and reflective thought are part of the criteria for assessment of children in school as part of their national curriculum and these provide them chances to score higher. Thus there are chances that the childs school results drop.

MINOR and Indirect

-Children who watch a lot of TV are less aroused by violent scenes than are those who only watch a little; in other words, they’re less bothered by violence in general, and less likely to do anything wrong with it. One example: in several studies, those who watched a violent program instead of a nonviolent one were slower to intervene or to call for help when, a little later, they saw younger children fighting or playing destructively.

-More likely to think that the world is a mean and dangerous place( feelings of phobia and discontent which are generally unusual at an early age)

– ‘Children who watch the violent shows, even ‘just funny’ cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs,’ says Aletha Huston, Ph.D., now at the University of Kansas.

-Research also indicates that TV consistently reinforces gender-role and racial stereotypes.

-Children will view violence as an acceptable way to settle conflicts

– Research has shown that children who consistently spend more than 4 hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight.

-Young individuals become comfortable with physical aggression and even arousing them to violent action, it can make others increasingly fearful of being victims.

-Lack of interaction with family members or peers who in turn would provide mediating influences in the child’s development.

– Direct antisocial behavior in children which indirectly causes violent and criminal behavior when older.

– Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others

– Long term Exposure to media violence leads children to see violence as a normal response to stress and as an acceptable means for resolving conflict in the years to come and this behavior it is reported can continue into adulthood.

– In these situations. children’s creative and imaginative play is undermined, thus robbing children of the benefits of play for their long term development.


The prevalence of violence in American society is a complex social problem that will not be easily solved. Violence in the media is only one manifestation of the larger society’s fascination with violence. However, media violence is not just a reflection of violent society, it is also a contributor. If our nation wishes to produce future generations of productive adults who reject violence as a means of problem solving, we must reassert the vital role of government in protecting its most vulnerable citizens and, together, work to make media part of the solution. .


Free Essays

Media violence: Pointing at the wrong culprit

Nowadays, violence in the streets is becoming commonplace. Headlines are screaming of assaults and other senseless crimes. Thus, it is necessary to understand what causes violence to minimize, if not stop, its prevalence in society. In this age of technology, media is very influential among people because of its global reach. Thus, there have been arguments that media violence translates to societal violence.

Through the years, there has been an increase in the quantity of violence, and media has been transforming to a more sexual, graphic, and sadistic media. Because of the technological development, bullets exploding in people’s brains were seen in slow motion in movies. Wrestling fans cheer over hard-hitting action, and one particular video game’s, Grand Theft Auto, goal is murdering as many people as possible. Moreover, extremely violent lyrics are common in music. The Web makes access to all these kinds of media easily accessible as well as contains violent materials (Vidal, Clemente, & Espinosa, 2003).

The presence of cruelty in different types of media means that it is appealing to people. Violence is incorporated to media because it is what “sells” to people. The question now is, Does it cause societal violence?

Many believe that people exposed to violence in the media have a more aggressive behavior. Media has been accused of teaching children how to kill people. However, the actual connection between media and violence is yet to be established (Bushman & Anderson, 2001), and some researchers believe that blaming media is only one way for others who refuse to believe that the actual violence is seen at home and in the community. Indeed, guns, drugs, alcohol, and poverty heavily influence youth, much more than media does.

Those who are believed to be influenced by media live in ghetto cities where people mostly are in the low socioeconomic bracket and belong to the minority groups. A common factor among these people is the presence of abuse and violence, even before the media became a part of the popular culture. Rap music, accused for its violent lyrics, originated from these areas, a reflection of the experiences of those who created the music. Artists of metal music are said to incite violent tendencies among youth, and Marilyn Manson was blamed for the Columbine shooting.

Similar to rappers, metal music artists usually had poor upbringing and exposed to violence throughout their childhood. Cases against the rock bands claiming that they are responsible for influencing the violence in teenagers were dismissed because the teenagers were under the influence of drugs and, similarly to most artists, have depressing lives. In reality, music does not cause violence; rather, musicians are only expressing the violence that they experienced in the society.Approximately 90% of violent youths were exposed to violence at homes, were abused, and have depressing lives, even before they learned how to listen to music.

As regards movies depicting violent scenes, these only slightly increase aggression (Freedman, 2002). Similarly to music, movies only emulate reality, and the graphics only help to make films as “real life” as possible. Again, it is the poor home environment that raises a violent child. As an example, movies, animes, and video games in Japan are more violent than in the United States, but are there any reported incidents of shootings by teenagers at school? None. Furthermore, there are less incidence of crimes committed by teenagers.

Indeed, violence in society is rapidly rising, but people should not point their fingers at the wrong culprit—media. Media violence does not cause societal violence; rather, violence is only portrayed in media. Although it is true that violence in media increases aggression in children, ultimately, proper upbringing is essential to ensure that a child does not grow to be a violent person. Instead of focusing on media violence, people should focus on the real problem—poverty, drugs and alcohol, loose gun laws, and domestic violence.


Bushman, B. & Anderson, C. (2001). Media violence and the American public: Scientific fact

versus media misinformation. American Psychologist, 56(6–7), 477–489.

Freedman, J. (2002). Media violence and its effect on aggression: Assessing the scientific

evidence. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Vidal, M.A., Clemente, M., & Espinosa, P. (2003). Types of media violence and degree of

acceptance in

Free Essays

Media violence and society

The influence of media is characterized by theories about how mass media shape a person’s behavior and thinking.  The development of media is further evidenced by the emergence of the Internet and DVDs, which sophisticated the way an individual receives information from media worldwide (Curran and Seaton, 1988).

The most well-known premises about the influence of media on the society are those related to theories having a passive audience. An example of this theory is the hypodermic needle model, which compares media with an intravenous injection, with the media message being the matter transferred.  The explanation is that the information being transmitted by media is voluntarily and obediently received by the audience.  This, however, is still dependent on the interfering factors that changes the way an individual perceives the message (Weaver and Carter, 2006).

Another example is the inoculation model, which induces a long-term influence on people by making them resistant or immune to the message conveyed by the media.  Here, a person becomes somewhat desensitized by a violent film for example, making him able to tolerate the same degree of violence once encountered again (Curran and Seaton, 1988).

Different theories have different fall backs and limitations but nevertheless, they can help explain how media influences the attitude of an audience.  The theory that violent media result to violence on the part of the audience, especially the younger ones, is also deficient of a logical scientific foundation.  This is the main reason why it is regarded more as a hypothesis rather than a theory (Potter, 1999).

Whether or not violent media has bad influences on the society is an argument usually raised when media effects are being taken into consideration.  This has also been used widely as a topic on debates, with the usual premise that violent media indeed have bad effects on its audience, which in fact is true.

This argument is supported by many researches which relate the media of violent nature to the aggressiveness and obnoxious behavior of viewers or listeners, especially the younger generations.  A study was done using an inflatable clown which was introduced to two groups of children.  One group was accompanied by an adult who ignored the clown and settled playing with the other toys.  The children also ended up playing quietly and calmly with the toys other than the clown.

The other crowd was grouped together with an adult who executed several aggressive moves on the inflatable clown, such as kicking and punching.  The children imitated the moves done by the aggressive adult onto the clown when left alone with the toys.  This can be related to the effect of media since the children can see and consequently imitate the actions of the adults (MAN, 2007).

Another study was done after the release of the movie A Clockwork Orange in 1971.  The lead role in the film, which also depicts a hero, was both woman-beater and a rapist.  The film ended up a controversy when gangs started to copy the character of the lead actor, resulting into many rape and death cases.  The director, Stanley Kubrick, was also very sorry that he directed the violent movie.

He banned the movie to prevent further criminal cases and for his family’s protection against death threats since he was being held partially accountable for the incidences.  These are just a few examples that violent movies are being imitated by the audience (Barker and Petley, 1997).

A research was performed in 1956 to demonstrate the effect of violent media in 24 children.  A dozen watched a violent episode of Woody Woodpecker, while the other half watched a non-violent one entitled The Little Red Hen.  When the children were observed during playtime after watching TV, those who watched the violent show were the ones most likely to fight with each other and smash their toys (Potter, 1999).

In 1963, three professors conducted a study which involved 100 children to determine the effects of violence in reality, television, and cartoons on the subjects’ behavior.  The entire population was divided into four, wherein the first group was allowed to witness a real adult shouting at an inflatable doll while at the same time beating it with a toy hammer.  The second twenty five preschool children were shown the same incident on TV, while the third group was allowed to watch a cartoon showing the same event.

The fourth was group served as the control, and did not watch any.  All the groups were then opened to annoying circumstances.  All the first three groups exhibited a significantly higher level of aggressiveness as compared to those who were in the fourth group.  The group that watched the incident on TV was as violent and aggressive as those who watched it in the real scenario (Curran and Seaton, 1998).

The Kaiser Family Foundation likewise conducted a study in 2003 showing that 47 per cent of parents have reported that their children have, at one point in their lives, have mimicked the violent actions portrayed by a character on TV.  However, the organization reported that children are still more inclined to imitating the positive behaviors they observed.  The violence in cartoons, which is commonly characterized by the use of bomb, guns, and deformed bodies, can make children believe that a person can not be hurt by such violent actions which can cause death and accidents when done in the real world.

Furthermore, children often imitate the actions of their super heroes as seen on cartoons and other TV shows.  They sort of internalize what they see and formulate their own script which they would resort into when they encounter trouble or something harsh, making violence a way to solve problems (, 2007).

Due to the negative psychological effects of animated shows on the target viewers, many cartoons were censored and animators protested because their creations eventually became boring.  They stated that many children who watch such cartoons are not negatively affected in terms of attitude and behavior, and that no scientific evidence was established to link the negative behavior of the audience to the violent media (Barker and Petley, 1997).

The majority is being considered in all cases of violent media effects, and it should always be remembered that the subconscious of the audience can still be influenced, regardless of the subject’s age, inert attitude and personality, and moral beliefs (Weaver and carter, 2006).

It is a fact that even adults can be negatively influenced by violence in media.  News containing violent reports can be exaggerated in the delivery of information.  This can lead to the people being scared and overreacting to the reported situation, which they can also associate to whatever it is that is happening in their immediate environment.  They might feel unsafe even if they are protected (Barker and Petley, 1997).

It should always be remembered that parental guidance is an important factor that can alter an individual’s, especially a child’s, perception of violent media.  This intervention can significantly lessen the effects of violent media on society.  This should have a stronger influence on the audience than the violent media itself.  With all the researches and studies mentioned, it can be concluded that violent media indeed has bad influences on the society.  This is particularly true to children and adolescents who received less guidance from their parents during their childhood.

Violent media can cause psychological disturbances and aggressiveness in people when faced with frustrating and provoking situations.  It can also mold children to be destructive when they grow up.  As true as there are people who remain unaffected by violent media, majority can be said to agree with the premise since each and every one in the society, regardless of personality and age, can be subconsciously affected by violent media in some way.

Reference List

Barker, M. and J. Petley. (1997). Ill Effects:The Media-Violence Debate. NY: Routledge.

Curran, J. & Seaton, J. (1988). Power without Responsibility. UK: Press and Broadcasting. (2007). “Psychiatric Effects of Media Violence.” Retrieved May 24, 2007, from <>.

MAN. (2007). Research on the effects of media violence. Retrieved May 24, 2007, from <>.

Potter, W. J. (1999). On Media Violence, Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Weaver, C. K. and C. Carter. (2006), Critical Readings: Violence and the Media, Maidenhead: Open University Press.



Free Essays

Zero Tolerance Policy

The zero tolerance policy strives to reduce violence in schools and make schools a safer place for students. Anne Atkinson, a member of the Virginia Board of Education defines zero tolerance as a “policy that mandates predetermined consequences or punishments for specified offenses. ” The policy first became effective in 1989, but grew most rapidly in 1994 when the Gun- Free Schools Act was passed (1).

There are many controversies about the zero tolerance policy including whether or not the policy is effective in reducing violence in schools, whether or not schools are trying to handle disciplinary actions in a fair manner, and whether or not all students are treated equally when punishments are determined. While many supporters, such as school administration, believe that the zero tolerance policy is necessary in schools, those who oppose the policy, such as parents, believe that the policy is unfair and ineffective in schools.

Those who support the zero tolerance policy believe that the policy is effective in reducing violence in school. Atkinson argues that “strict policies are needed to send a clear message and are designed to protect students” (2). Agreeing with Atkinson, Richard Curwin and Allen Mendler, scholars on the zero tolerance policy, believe that by using the zero tolerance policies, it is evident to students that aggressive behavior is unacceptable. By allowing the students to realize that misbehavior will not be tolerated, students become more likely to obey the rules and cooperate with schools (1).

According to the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV), 17. 1% of students carried weapons at school and 71% of elementary and secondary schools have experienced at least one violent crime by a student. A nationwide survey suggested that 15% of students have been involved in a physical fight on school grounds. By using the zero tolerance policy, those students who are violent in school are expelled or suspended, resulting in schools becoming a safer environment for students and teachers (3).

Although defenders of the zero tolerance policy agree that they policies are effective, those who oppose the policy do not believe that the policies are effective in reducing school violence. People who are against the zero tolerance policy agree that the policy is ineffective in reducing school violence. Members of the American Psychological Association (APA), the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, agree that schools are no safer and more effective in teaching discipline that before the zero tolerance policy in the 1980s.

They also agree that school violence is not out of control, so zero tolerance policies are not necessary (1). Russell Skiba, chairman of the Indiana Education Policy Center and Reece Peterson, a scholar on the zero tolerance policy, conducted statistics that show “violent crimes occurred at an annual rate of fifty-three per one hundred thousand students. Because evidence shows that violence rates are not out of control, critics argue that there are many other alternatives that can be used to promote a safer environment for students and teachers (2).

According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), some alternatives that reduce violence in schools include a prevention curriculum, help from school workers, counselors, and psychologists, and parental/family involvement (3). Whether the policy is effective or ineffective is only one aspect of the controversy; there are many other controversies that occur within the policy. Whether schools are handling disciplinary action in a fair manner is a main controversy when discussing the zero tolerance policy.

Russell Skiba believes that the way in which schools punish students is fair. He thinks that rash punishments improve overall student behavior and discipline. Skiba acknowledges the fact that harsh disciplinary actions are determined by the degree of the student’s violent actions (29). While some people agree that schools are just when using the zero tolerance policy, others disagree and believe that schools are extremely unfair. Those who oppose the zero tolerance policy believe that the way in which schools use the zero tolerance policy to punish students is very rash and unfair.

Those against the zero tolerance policy, such as Skiba, believe that rash suspensions and expulsions, rather than improving student behavior, forces students to misbehave more frequently. He also believes that rash suspensions and expulsions lead to an increased number of school dropouts and failure to graduate on time (28). A personal example of zero tolerance proves schools to be rash and unfair when punishing students. My ten-year-old cousin went to a public school where he was a part of the minority group. He found a pocketknife at home and thought it was the coolest thing he had ever seen.

Being an immature, unknowing child, my cousin brought the pocketknife to school to show his friends, not intending on using it in any dangerous way possible. As he took the knife out of his pocket to show is closest friends, a teacher spotted him and immediately jerked him away from his friends and into the principal’s office. The principal, being the one to decide punishment, automatically expelled my ten-year-old cousin for bringing a pocketknife to school, even though he did not harming anyone or anything with the knife. Because my cousin was expelled from school, he is no longer in school this year and now has to repeat the grade.

This is a perfect example of how the zero tolerance policy leads to school dropout and failure to graduate on time. Not only is the process of punishment a controversy, but whether or not racism is used to punish is also an issue concerning the zero tolerance policy. An important controversy when debating on the zero tolerance policy is whether or not racism is involved when schools are punishing students. Russell Skiba and Allen Mendler argue that schools are completely just and equal when determining punishments for violence in schools.

They agree that no matter race, ethnicity, language, or abilities, if you portray a violent action, rash punishments will result (1). Although supporters agree that the policy treats all people equal, those who oppose the policy agree that racism occurs when punishing students using the zero tolerance policy. According to those that oppose the policy, zero tolerance is an unjust policy that does not treat all students equally. The American Psychological Association (APA) agrees that the disproportionate discipline of students of color is and continues to be a concern when discussing the zero tolerance policy.

They believe that most expulsions and suspensions are punishments that result from African Americans or Latinos that are violent in schools. Another target group of schools that use the zero tolerance policy are those people with disabilities, especially with emotional and behavioral disorders (2). There are many important controversies dealing with the zero tolerance policy, and many people either support the controversy or are opposed to the controversy. Zero tolerance attempts to prevent violence in schools and create a safer environment for the school community.

It is viewed as a policy that that tries to teach students wrong from right, and gives students a sense of discipline. Although some believe that the policy has good intentions, there are many controversies that aroused, causing many debates that challenge the effectiveness of the policy. While many people who believe that the policy creates a safer environment for students and teachers support the zero tolerance policy, there are many who oppose the zero tolerance policy, arguing that it is unfair and ineffective in reducing violence in schools.

Free Essays

Are Television, Movies, and Music Responsible for Teen Violence?

Are Television, Movies, and Music responsible for teen violence? Most people would like to know why violence among teens is rising. Most people blame parents for the way the child acts. Others blame the kids they’re around. In my opinion, I don’t think neither parents nor peers are to blame. The media is responsible for teen violence in our society. The media teaches teens that violence is acceptable. Children will try to imitate the things they see on television.

For example in Toronto, a six year old boy wearing a Ninja Turtle costume stabbed his friend in the arm for not giving back a toy he had borrowed. When the child is young and watches shows that have violence in it like SpongeBob Square pants children will want more violence when they grow older. The more they grow the more violence they want. This makes them less sensitive to violence. Only 16% of shows actually show the long-term effects of violence. The other way media portrays violence is by music.

Rappers like Eminem have violent lyrics. One example is when Eminem wanted to kill his wife and ask his daughter to help throw her mom in the bottom of the ocean because he made a bed at the bottom of the ocean. When reporters ask him why he has such violent lyrics he blames his alter ego Slim for everything that happens, with his family, and work, that is bad. “I do promote violence and I don’t care. ”-Eminem. Artists don’t get in trouble for the negative message they send to teens. Rap music puts teens at risk to get arrested 2. times more. 66% of 13- to 17-year-olds believe violence in music is partly responsible for violent crimes. Music has a big impact on a teenagers life it helps up when were down and to make us happy. The last way media portrays violence is in Video games. More than 70 percent of American teenage boys have played the violent and adult-rated Grand Theft Auto video games. This will make them more aggressive. This can cause teens to fight with their peers by using what they see in the game to attack their peers. 8 percent of games show aggression that went unpunished. Video games are a form of entertainment among youth. 70 percent of children from ages 2 to 18 have access to video games at home. Teens that aren’t exposed to violence in media will be less likely to have violent behaviors. If parents don’t allow their child to watch too much T. V and play less video games than they will be less likely to have violent behaviors. People say it’s not the media’s fault if that is true than whose fault is it?

Most teens grow up with T. V. Violence on T. V starts off young and they grow up with it and the more they grow the more violence they want. Violence in the media has negative effects on children. For example it increases aggressiveness and anti-social behavior. It also increases their fear of becoming victims because they see what happens and they are scared if it will happen to them. In summation media is a major component in the upbringing of a child whether good or bad, the key to stopping it is to not purchase it.

Free Essays

Domestic Violence Case Study

Field Study: House of Ruth Domestic violence is an issue affecting millions of families. As a result of the increasing incidents of abuse, the number help centers and outreach programs have amplified in urban areas. One of the most influential centers against domestic violence is the House of Ruth. Established in 1977 and located in an urban city area, the House of Ruth offers various services to women and children who are victims of familial violence.

Their mission states, “The House Of Ruth Maryland leads the fight to end violence against women and their children by confronting the attitudes, behaviors and systems that perpetuate it, and by providing victims with the services necessary to rebuild their lives safely and free of fear. Our vision is that one day, every woman in Maryland will be safe in her own home. ” (WEBSITE) House of Ruth provides various services to help families “rebuild their lives”, according to Executive Director Sandi Timmons. Through aiding the public in times of need, House of Ruth fulfills every level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

These needs are embodied by every individual. The first platform involves the physiological needs of a person. It includes physical necessities such as food, water, shelter, etc. House of Ruth provides two types of shelters. The first is an emergency shelter. This accommodation is described as, “temporary refuge for battered women and their children who are in immediate danger or at risk of homicide. ” There are private bedrooms with bathrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, and a living room. Women and children receive the help they need to remove themselves from hostile situations. The length of stay is based on each women’s’ personal needs. The beginning of their stay is directed towards recovery and planning their goals,” says Timmons, “Women then move into the transitional phase where we partner with local businesses to access starting jobs and secure housing. ” Therefore, House of Ruth is addressing the physiological needs of the family as well as the second tier of the hierarchy: safety. Needs for safety are met by the family’s desire to protect its members from all types of danger. textbook) A critical resource provided is a 24 hour hotline that is available to all persons facing an emergency. This help line is confidential and connects victims with trained counselors. Along with their crisis intervention training, counselors are able to provide callers with legal referrals and plans for escaping abuse. Women seek to protect their children from being reared within an abusive environment which exemplifies the concept of safety needs. The medical needs of the women and children living in the shelter are also addressed.

A health clinic is operated by the School of Nursing at John Hopkins University. House of Ruth also addresses the need for protection in the future, after the shelter. They operate the Marjorie Cook Domestic Violence Legal Clinic with a staff of numerous attorneys and paralegals. With this service, a prolific amount of women are helped to obtain protective orders, peace orders, divorce decrees, custody of children, and child support (website) House of Ruth provides a safe haven for families and medical attention to those battered.

The next stage addressed in pyramid of needs is that of social and belonging. When meaningful relationships have been made, members create a loving and accepting atmosphere (Textbook). Escaping any form abusive relationship is traumatizing and is not discriminatory. As Timmons explains, “There is no average client. Domestic violence breaks all socioeconomic boundaries. ” Women living at House of Ruth are encouraged to develop relationships with other women within the shelter. Creating connections with others who have the same experiences is vital in gaining back the lost familial atmosphere.

Dinners are served “family-style” to reinforce this concept. Large living rooms are also provided as a gathering place for women to simply enjoy time together; watching television and playing games build a key family strength. The staff of House of Ruth consists of licensed counselors and therapists. Free group therapy sessions provide support in escaping their once isolated lives. In order to capitalize on the counseling resource, women must recognize that they are not alone in their situation (House of Ruth, ). Leaders insist that women expound on their situation and exchange support.

The root of their relationships comes from the mutual violence endured. By having relatable experiences, deeper connections are made possible. The unique transition programs offered by House of Ruth propel women into becoming self-sufficient. When asked about their transition program, Sandi Timmons stated, “By partnering with outside organizations, we are able to provide women with a stepping stone to rebuilding their lives. Outsourcing helps us find starting jobs for women. ” When women are given an opportunity to support themselves instead of their abusers, they are overcome with confidence.

The belief of independence is instilled within women when they are able to provide for their families. Transitional housing offers apartments with supported rent to improve a families’ monetary condition. Women must stay a minimum of six months in the confidentially located rooms to ensure every victim’s safety. The stress of constantly struggling to pay for housing is relieved by this resource. Women and children would be frozen within the circular-traditional model of time if transitional services were not provided.

Instead of barely meeting the financial demands of housing, women are assisted and able to provide for their family. Eventually, women are able to support themselves without outside assistance. It is evident in all aspects of life that when independence is gained, so is the confidence in oneself. Self-esteem is built through the transition program; women are able to gain the respect that was lost in their abusive relationship. All of the services provided by House of Ruth help women in having a better chance of reaching the uppermost tier of the hierarchy: self-actualism.

Though some critics argue that total self-actualization is impossible, women are given a better opportunity to attempt. Self-actualization is reaching an individual’s full potential and acquiring a sort of self-fulfillment. Psychologist Abraham Maslow describes it as, “…the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming” (Cherry, ). Though total self-actualism may not be reached, House of Ruth propels women forward to become their own person. An overall happier life is entailed; victims can build their own attitudes.

Women may develop personalities and characteristics that were not possible prior to living in the shelter. Creativity, spontaneity, and lack of prejudice are some traits that can be gained. House of Ruth is an extraordinary organization. Their resources provide endless opportunities for women to turn their lives around. Domestic violence takes away a families’ independence and the shelter offers an outlet to restore family strengths: commitment, spiritual well-being, affection, enjoyable time together, stress management, and positive communication (textbook). Those affected by familial abuse have an ccessible treatment facility and escape from aggressive situations. The services provided by House of Ruth are essential in decreasing the numbers of battered women who are left feeling helpless. The availability of each resource allows women to feel as if they always have a place to go. Works Cited (2010). House of Ruth Maryland. House of Ruth Inc. http://www. hruth. org/ Cheery, K. (2011). “What Is Self Actualization” http://psychology. about. com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds_2. htm Moore, T. J. & Assay, S. (2008). Family Resource Management. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

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Essay on Domestic Violence

Domestic violence — also called domestic abuse, battering or intimate partner violence — occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse and threats of abuse. Men are sometimes abused by partners, but domestic violence is most often directed toward women. Domestic violence can happen in heterosexual or same sex relationships. It might not be easy to identify domestic violence at first. While some relationships are clearly abusive from the outset, abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time.

You might be experiencing domestic violence if you’re in a relationship with someone who: •Calls you names, insults you or puts you down •Prevents you from going to work or school •Stops you from seeing family members or friends •Tries to control how you spend money, where you go, what medicines you take or what you wear •Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful •Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs •Threatens you with violence or a weapon Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets •Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will •Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it •Portrays the violence as mutual and consensual The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the greater the toll on your self-esteem. You might become depressed and anxious. You might begin to doubt your ability to take care of yourself or wonder if the abuse is your fault. You might feel helpless or paralyzed. If you’re an older woman who has health problems, you might feel dependent upon an abusive partner.

If you’re in a same sex relationship, you might be less likely to seek help after an assault if you don’t want to disclose your sexual orientation. If you’ve been sexually assaulted by another woman, you might also fear that you won’t be believed. Still, the only way to break the cycle of domestic violence is to take action — and the sooner the better. Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence (IPV), is defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation. 1] Domestic violence, so defined, has many forms, including physical aggression or assault (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][2] Alcohol consumption[3] and mental illness[4] can be co-morbid with abuse, and present additional challenges in eliminating domestic violence. Awareness, perception, definition and documentation of domestic violence differs widely from country to country, and from era to era.

Did you know over two women per week are killed by current or ex-partners, and that one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in their lifetime? In Women’s Aid’s view domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. At least 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime and between 1 in 8 and 1 in 10 women experience it annually

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Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

The topic I chose for this project was the link between domestic violence and substance abuse. From the research that I did, there is a definite link between domestic abuse and substance abuse. According to the National Coalition against domestic violence, “Regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading factors for intimate partner violence. ” Approximately 61% of domestic violence offenders also have substance abuse problems. Domestic violence is the use of intentional emotional, psychological, sexual, or physical force by one family member or partner to control another.

These acts can include, verbal abuse, threats, physical abuse, sexual abuse, destroying the victim’s possessions, slapping, punching, kicking, burning, stabbing, shooting, or killing the victim’s. A woman is beaten every 15 SECONDS in the United States, 30% of female trauma patients have been the victim of domestic violence. The medical costs for women who have been injured by their partners total to more than 44 million annually. Researchers have found that one-fourth to one half of men who commit acts of domestic violence also have substance abuse issues.

A study conducted by the “Department of Justice” of murders in families found that more than one half of defendants accused of murdering their spouses, as well as almost half of the victim’s, had been drinking alcohol at the time of the incident. Alcohol and drugs may be used to cope with the physical, emotional, and/or psychological pain of family violence. “Regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading factors for intimate partner violence, also men who batter frequently use alcohol abuse as an excuse for their violence.

They attempt to rid themselves of responsibility for their violence by blaming it on the effects of alcohol. ” (NCADV) The effects on children of substance abusing parents is also great, “Children of substance abusing parents are more likely to experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse than children in non-substance abusing households” (NCADV) In fact 80% of child abuse cases are linked with the use of alcohol and other drugs. These children are also at a greater risk of not only developing domestic violence issues of their own, but also substance abuse issues. An estimated 3 million children witness acts of violence against their mothers every year, and many believe that violent behavior is an acceptable way to express anger, frustration, or a will to control. ” (Recovery Network) Common myths about domestic violence are as follows: domestic violence is caused by substance abuse, this is not true, domestic violence and substance abuse are two separate problems and must be treated separately.

Two, substance abusers cannot control their violent behavior, contrary to that belief, it had been proven that batterers know how to hide the violence they inflict, even under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And three, treating the substance abuse issues will end the domestic violence, this is also a myth because there is no guarantee that successful treatment for substance abuse will stop the domestic violence. The evidence between the link in domestic violence and substance abuse is great.

In fact, “About 40% of children from violent homes believe that their fathers had a drinking problem and that they were more abusive when drinking. ” (Recovery Network) Also, when a child is subjected to physical abuse, they are more like to develop drug abuse later in life. Another interesting fact is that “teachers have reported a need for protective services three times more often for children who are being raised by someone with an addiction than for other children” (Recovery Network)

Other connections I learned about while doing my research are that many times alcohol and other drug abuse may be used to cope with the physical. Emotional, and/or psychological pain of family violence. Often times the behavior is learned, because we learn in our families and social groups that certain events or behaviors are connected and expected. Denial often is a major factor in domestic violence too, because an abusive individual excuses their violent behavior and, are often excused by their partners and other family members because they were drunk and “not in control. Also, “Research supports the connection between substance abuse and domestic violence. Members of families in which one or both parents abuse substances are considered to be at high risk for physically abusing and neglecting their children. ” (Recovery Network) The National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse found that as many as 80% of child abuse cases are associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs, and the link between child abuse and others forms of domestic violence is well established.

As far as treatment, the treatment for domestic violence and substance abuse needs to be approached separately. Because, in most cases substance abuse treatment does not address the anger management problems that are associated with domestic violence. “Effective treatment for domestic violence offenders includes cognitive therapy, which helps the offender develop alternate ways of reacting to anger, and skill development, which helps the offender learn how to establish loving relationships that are free from violence. (Sober living by the sea) I learned a lot from doing this paper. As a woman who has been through domestic violence myself, it was intriguing to learn about the links between domestic violence and substance abuse. When I was married to my ex-husband, we both did marijuana, he had a lot of mood swings and violent tendencies. Now that I look back and now that I know what I know about the connection of domestic violence and substance abuse, I can see where he maybe would have thought his actions were “justified. Also, knowing what I know now, I think it would be a tai assessment that although he received treatment with his substance abuse issues and has been sober for about 7 years, he never received treatment for the anger issues and I can still see those types of behaviors in him today. Living with someone for that long ,you get to know aha their moods are, and I still know to this day when I can and when I cannot approach him about something, basically, I know what kind of mood he is in as soon as I see him.

His anger is written all over his face, it is days like that when I realize that I am happy I was able to walk away from the relationship. The fear of never knowing how someone is going to react and always having to walk “on eggshells” is a heavy burden to live with everyday. Also being a recovering addict, I know that a lot of my own anger came from my guilt, resentments, and self-loathing, working on those issues and learning to love me for me and also working with the counselors at the Shock program and in treatment, helped me to be able to control my anger and take a “timeout” if I need to.

Now that myself and my ex-husband are sober, I can only hope that we will have broken the cycle of addiction and domestic abuse so that our children do not have to experience the same thing. Domestic violence and substance abuse are two huge problems that, I think, is becoming more and more of a problem in the world today. Being able to recognize the link between these two, I hope that I as a counselor, will be able to help more of my clients who are experiencing the same kind of situation.

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A Rhetorical Analysis “The Effects of Violence in Children’s Cartoons”

Rhetorical Analysis ENGL 102-07October 03, 2012 A Rhetorical Analysis of Editorial, “The Effects of Violence in Children’s Cartoons” Claim: That children’s cartoons today are too violent and that these cartoons are greatly affecting their behaviors growing up. That violence is a learned behavior and therefore children that view violence can become violent themselves. The purpose of the argument is to raise the awareness about cartoon violence and come up with some solutions to lessen its negative impact on the children that are watching them.

The primary target audiences of this argument are those that have the most direct contact with children, mainly their parents and teachers. Faced with the increasing popularity of animation, they feel that youngsters are developing a cartoon mentality, confusing fantasy and reality, and are imitating the actions they see on the screen. The author feels very strongly about the message he is trying to make and uses emotional, logical, and ethical triggers throughout the article to make his point and bring the reader over to his idea. “this is a big dilemma because the media is promoting violence as an acceptable solution for children who may not know any better. ”] (PATHOS) This statement seems to be an attempt to shock the audience to the idea that there is purposeful plot by the media to teach children that violence is an acceptable way to act. [“If a child is growing up in a home where Dad is beating up Mom all the time, the child is going to learn that hitting is an acceptable way to handle problems.

This child is much more likely than other children to grow up to handle problems the same way and become a violent adult himself. The same can be said for cartoon violence. ”] (PATHOS) The reader is given a comparison between witnessing domestic violence and cartoon violence. The author makes the argument that both will lead to a child becoming a violent adult. [“We cannot deny that children’s violence has increase drastically in recent years. With things such as school shootings, bullying, daredevil stunts, peer to peer violence, and children killing parents we as a society need to be alarmed. ] (PATHOS) By using terms like “shooting” and “killing parents” the author is hoping to connect with the audience’s fear that cartoon violence could lead to drastic results. [“TV has even become known as “America’s baby-sitter. ” (Krieg). Meaning that parents are now using the television as a way of entertaining their children while they attempt to accomplish other things such as cooking and cleaning. ”] (PATHOS) This statement tries to prompt a sense of guilt in the audience that they are are just sitting their kids in front of the television instead of being attentive parents. “On average and American child will watch 32 acts of violence per hour on TV. This number has skyrocketed from 20 years ago when it was just 12 acts per hour (Krieg). This being said a child will have watched anywhere from 8,000 to 100,000 acts of violence before they even finish elementary school (Weiss). ”] (LOGOS) This seems a logical premise to help substantiate the authors point and uses a research example as evidence. [“It was found in one study that what a children watches on TV at age 8 will be one of the best predictors of how aggressive they will be as an adult.

The children’s TV viewing outweighed other factors such as child-rearing practices and socioeconomic factors (Grace). Grace also found that what a child watches after age 8 is not nearly as important as what they watch before age 8. ”] (LOGOS) Again, this seems logical and uses a study to show evidence. [“We can start by creating a better rating system that gives parents more information about what the shows content is. This could be similar to the more recent movie ratings (Gardner).

DIC is the largest supplier of children’s programming and they have come up with a 12- point code for the makers of these children’s shows to decrease the violence (Weiss). ”] (LOGOS) The author evokes some possible solutions to that may help resolve some of the problem with identifying violent cartoons. [“We have now seen all the facts on both sides of the argument. Is should be clear that we are faced with a very devastating problem. Our only hope is that we can do enough so that this next generation of children is not so violent.

Maybe one day we can come to the point where children are so used to watching wholesome quality television that these violent shows will die out. ”] (ETHOS) We do not know who the author is here. Is it a parent, teacher, or maybe a psychologist? The use “we” and “our only hope” seem to play on the conscience of the reader that we are all in this together, and together we can find a solution to cartoon violence. The author cites numerous reasons to prove and validate his point, such as the increase in violent acts per hour on television, and percentage of teachers that have reported increases in classroom violence.

However, there is no evidence given that ties cartoon violence directly with this. It seems most of the article is the authors interpretation of the topic. He even goes as far as to say that those that disagree with his point are absurd. Is it possible that children become violent from what they see in cartoons? Maybe. But all cartoons are not the same. I think it is ignored that many cartoons also teach children important social and cultural lessons on such as honesty, kindness, and sharing.

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Does Heavy Metal Cause Teen Violence?

Heavy metal has had a bad beat since the dawn of the genre onto the music scene. Slipknot, Ozzy Osborn, Marilyn Manson, Judas Priest, and Slayer are just some of the household names on the metal scene to have come under fire for supposedly inciting suicide, and in some cases murder. It’s a fire that the media has been more than happy to stoke, quick to insinuate links between the brutal lyrics and acts of violence.

To quote Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider, “Every time a serial killer, mass murderer, Satanists, or any “evil” person in our society… anytime the media’s found out that they’ve listened to heavy metal music it has been blown up as the reason for why this person is doing the things that they do” (Dunn). And he couldn’t be more right. As in the case of Marilyn Manson and the Columbine shootings, the media is more than happy to stoke the flames of controversy, even if the evidence points to the contrary. Violence has been around a lot longer than we have,” says Corey Taylor, lead vocalist and lyricist for the band Slipknot. Though violence and heavy metal seem to be intimately intertwined there is a difference between seeing and doing. “I have listened to enough metal for me to essentially be a serial killer,” says James McMahon from UK music magazine NME, “But there’s something in me that says no, that’s not what I believe life is about. Serial killers existed before Slayer, you know.

I’m a big fan of horror movies but Hostel, Saw, those torture-porn films, I find myself repulsed… metal is pantomime comparatively. ” As one young Norwegian metal fan told the UK’s Guardian newspaper, “It’s all fantasy… none of this is real… you can’t take this seriously… it’s just like a movie. ” According to Sam Dunn, anthropologist and director of “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey”, “People look at heavy metal and label it for all sorts of things because we need easy answers to complex questions.

I think that it’s easy to target a heavy metal band for inciting violence or making kids turn to a cult than it is to actually look at real problems in the real world” (Dunn). So what REALLY causes violent acts amongst teens? According to William Fleeman author of “Managing Teen Anger and Violence,” teen violence is a growing problem in the United States and many of the underlying causes have nothing to do with musical preference. For instance, Fleeman states that abuse of drugs and/or alcohol contributes to teen violence.

Violence among teens often stems from actions taken while intoxicated as well as crimes committed to obtain drug and/or alcohol. Another possibility is teens afflicted with mental issues. Metal health issues and conditions often show an inclination for violent behavior. Fleeman also states that teens living in unstable environments in which parents are neglectful and/or abusive tend to act out violently due to first hand exposure to violence and/or neglect.

And as in most cases some teens are motivated to participate in reckless and violent behavior as a result of peer pressure. They feel the need to fit in do to whatever reason and as such act out to look “cool”. Also, and this is possibly the most surprising reason of all, many teens that tend to do poor scholastically are more likely to behave violently in and outside of school. They feel undermined, even “stupid” and as such tend to act out as a way to gain acknowledgment (Fleeman).

While Fleeman’s research depicts teen violence to be at an all-time high research done by the FBI from 1990 through 2007 has shown that rates of serious violence amongst youths under the age 18 has plunged by 49%, including unprecedented declines in murder (down 66%), rape (down 52%), robbery (down 32%), and serious assault (down 28%) (FBI). Furthermore, large-scale surveys such as Monitoring the Future and The American Freshman have found students today reporting higher levels of happiness, optimism, leadership interest, and volunteerism and lower rates of smoking, drinking, depression, dropout, and materialism.

And if that’s not enough to blow you away, the youngest teens showed the biggest improvements. So what causes teen violence? Is the media to blame? Is it drugs, metal health issues, neglect, peer pressure, or even bad grades? There may never be a satisfactory answer, but as far as metal is concerned, sociologist Donna Gaines had this to say, “For young people, it’s a place to belong where you can experience other possibilities and transcend everyday life in a very glorious way… Is heavy metal a sacrament? For some people, it is.

If it keeps kids alive, if it gives them hope, if it gives them a place to belong, if it gives them a sense of transcendence, then I believe it’s a spiritual force. I believe it’s a pipeline to God” (Dunn). And according to Dunn, “You either feel it, or you don’t. ” Works Cited 1)Dunn, Sam, dir. Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. Writ. Scot McFadyen. Warner Bros. Entertainment, 2006. DVD. August 27 2012. 2)Fleeman, William. Managing Teen Anger and Violence: A Pathways to Peace Program. Impact Publications, 2008. Web. 3)U. S. government & U. S. Department of Justice, Stats and Services, www. fbi. gov

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With the simultaneous proliferation of technology and global-poltical danger in the modern world, strategies for countering both political oppression, and the outbreak of political violence and war are urgently needed.  Although the century which has recently slipped away — the Twentieth Century — may be remembered as “the bloodiest in history” (Martin 625), with hundreds of millions of people killed in wars and with weapons of mass destruction being “invented, built, deployed and further refined” (Martin 625) during the same century when state-sponsored genocide and terrorism became commonly known quantities.

Against this backdrop of chaos, war, and an increasingly dangerous technological landscape, the philosophy of non-violence, or passive resistance, gained  an historical currency which is still unmatched. The activities of important leaders like Gandhi, King, and Mandela revealed the truly earth-changing, paradigm shifting  potential of non-violence resistance as a method for seizing social initiative and political power.

Because of the actions of these three important leaders. plus a host of other lesser-known figures, and the action of millions of ordinary activists, “it can be argued that the rise of nonviolent action was one of the most important developments of the century”  (Martin 625), and one which has tremendous potential for application in today’s difficult and complex political world.

While it is true enough that Gandhi, King, and Mandela over similar models of non-violent leadership and that key tenants of what might be termed a “universal” sense of non-violence pervade each leaders’ philosophies, distinct differences are also recognizable  when a comparison of the three leaders’ ideas, activities, and accomplishments is carried out. Such a study of similarities and differences in the philosophies and actions of these important leaders is crucial to understanding how the philosophy of non-violence may be applied in modern times as an antidote to the dangerous and oppressive climate that threatens much of the world.

As noted, “Nonviolent action — including methods such as rallies, strikes, boycotts and sit-ins — has become increasingly important in the past century as a method for waging conflict and promoting social change” (Martin 625) and due to the urgent pressure caused by modern political and social challenges such as terrorism, global warming, the protection of human rights and religious freedom, adapting past approaches of non-violent action to present-day challenges may be beneficial.

Non-violent activism may, in fact, help bring about important social changes: “Some areas for future expansion of the role of nonviolent action include replacing military defence, technological design, challenging capitalism, bureaucratic politics, information struggles and interpersonal behaviour” (Martin 625); the suggestion of non-violence as an all-pervading philosophy applicable throughout the full strata of political and social issues may sound grandiose, but as we will see, this idea is actually a core-concept for the three leaders in our study.

In this regard, non-violent philosophy takes it roots not in social, political or philosophical idea, but in spiritual convictions or even, spiritual revelation. An abstraction of   “nonviolence principles, building on the core dynamic of political jiu-jitsu in contexts where the opponent does not use physical force” (Martin 625) may be the best way to intuitively understand that non-violence does not indicate non-action of total passivity in the face of aggression. Such a distinction is difficult to pin down, but it is a crucial part of activism, manifest in the breaking of “unjust” laws, and passive resistant behaviors which, if not violent, certainly imply action by the participants.

In order to shed light on some of the more challenging aspects of non-violent activism, such as the spiritual aspect, as well as investigate the potential application of non-violent philosophy in modern times, the following brief examination of non-violent philosophy according to each leader: Gandhi, King, and Mandela, will attempt to sketch a general idea of the similarities and differences of each leader’s approach and attempt to discover if any type of universal vision of non-violent philosophy can be discovered.


For Gandhi, non-violence arises out of an organic human impulse or ” basic law of our being” (Gandhi, and Merton 23); such a conviction, foe Gandhi, is based not in genetic or biological assumptions or evidence or in logistical philosophical reasoning, but in spiritual ideas. For Gandhi, “Ahimsa (non-violence)”  (Gandhi, and Merton 23) is the opposite of  “himsa (violence)”  (Gandhi, and Merton 23), and the attributes of each energy are just as distinct. While Ahimsa “can be used as the most effective principle for social action, since it is in deep accord with the truth of man’s nature and corresponds to his innate desire for peace, justice, order, freedom, and personal dignity” (Gandhi, and Merton 23), its opposite energy, himsa, “degrades and corrupts man” (Gandhi, and Merton 23); therefore to bring himsa energy against himsa energy would be to fight fire with fire.

By contrast, the application of ahimsa or non-violent energy to the problem of himsa energy “heals and restores man’s nature, while giving him a means to restore social order and justice” (Gandhi, and Merton 23). The important thing to remember here is that, for Gandhi, ahimsa and himsa energies are not metaphorical reflections or abstract concepts, they are living, spiritual realities.  Although the capacity for ahimsa resides in each person, modern society has left humanity with a much more desperate and disordered reliance on himsa energy.

For Gandhi such an alienation of man’s true capacities has resulted in a culture where “violence seems to be the very foundation of social order and is “enthroned as if it were an eternal law,” so that man is called upon by society to reject love” (Gandhi, and Merton 43) and instead embrace a social reality which is enforced by violence or by the threat of violence.

To meet this himsa-driven society with ahimsa energy adn non-violence requires supreme courage on behalf of the activist. This extraordinary courage, according to Gandhi, is derived from God:

This courage demands nothing short of the ability to face death with complete    fearlessness and to suffer without retaliation. Such a program is meaningless and       impossible, Gandhi thinks, without belief in God. (Gandhi, and Merton 43)

The implication in Gandhi’s ideas is that the activist or the “Satyagrahi” is enabled, in fact: bound, by God to break the laws of man when they are unjust. The decision as to how it is determined that a law is unjust is murky and unclear, as we will see: this same ambiguity marks both King and Mandela’s own approach to non-violent activism. The historical truth is that Gandhi made clear that each “Satyagrahi was bound to resist all those laws which he considered to be unjust and which were not of a criminal character, in order to bend the Government to the will of the people” (Gandhi 21) and it is this kind of “twisting” which comprises the active aspect of non-violent activism.


The expression of non-violent activism by King relied as much on spiritual conviction as that of Gandhi. This conviction brought about a similar adherence to  the concept of breaking “unjust” laws as a method of civil disobedience. King, like Gandhi, found justification for the breaking of social laws by the invocation of Divine Power. The result was that King experienced some difficulty in making his racial and social activism truly universal, although such a desire to do so formed an underlying precept of his overall strategy for social and political change.

In a rather unique twist of philosophy, King opted to not only resist unjust laws non-violently, but tor each out to his so-called opponents: white racists with language of reconciliation, good-will, and fellowship. King’s invocations of “the good to be achieved” (Wolf, and Rosen) were powerful  counterparts to his criticisms of the social conditions he sought to transform.

Since King’s goal was to “to bring the Negro into the mainstream of American life as quickly as possible” (Wolf, and Rosen) his reliance on civil disobedience and the breaking of unjust laws by Divine justification, like Gandhi’s, requires a deeper examination. Such revelation is possible due to King’s extensive writings; in particular his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” a famous document where he addresses the concern of his fellow clergymen regarding the breaking of laws by civil activists.

The letter repeatedly appeals to a shared sense of religion; King also cites Biblical examples to bolster his argument.   Responding to the criticism that his actions and the actions of his followers, even though non-violent in practice, ultimately resulted in violence on the behalf of the white Southerners who beat and jailed the protestor (and sometimes lynched or otherwise killed African Americans), King compared the fight for civil rights with the fight of Jesus to spread the gospel.

King’s appeal via religion and spirituality was based in a desire for unity and understanding. While he denied accusations of extremity or of inciting violence, he admitted that the impulse for civil rights was, by his reckoning, the will  of God.         King advises that the will of all people is toward freedom and equality.  “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro.” (King)

By forwarding the notion that civil rights are an inevitable outgrowth of both God’s will and the flow of history, King is, in effect, offering a justification for his tactics and philosophies regarding civil rights.The justification for the elements of passive resistance which had led to violent confrontation is also based in King’s ideas of justice. King’s idea is that God’s law is the highest law and that man’s laws may be broken when they obviously disagree with or even insult God’s law.

With the belief that God’s Law is the highest law and that history shows that all people will struggle for freedom and liberty, and by appealing to the rational sense of justice and the emotional and spiritual senses of brotherhood and love, King attains justification for his actions but does not seek to evade or subvert laws outright.


Unlike King, Mandela called for deliberate confrontation with the forces of apartheid which apposed his view of liberation and freedom. Although he repeatedly expressed his opinion that he was not, in fact, a racist himself, Mandela’s rhetoric unlike King and Gandhi’s, “was more polarizing” (Wolf, and Rosen); for example, Mandela never attempted “to appeal to whites” and he sought by confrontational rhetoric coupled with non-violent activism to ” through greater polarization to galvanize the situation to crisis levels, thereby compelling action by the international community” (Wolf, and Rosen) which in itself presents a divergence in thought from Gandhi and King both of whom sough reconciliation with their enemies.

However, rhetoric was simply another tool in Mandela’s non-violent philosophical approach. When, at key moments, he might have called for violence, in actuality, he strove for non-violent change. he might have “easily have called for a violent overthrow of the South African government upon his release after 27 years in prison” (Pierce 1) but rather than do so, he advocated non-violent resistance.

The idea of appealing to the world community adds another dimension to the non-violent approach of activism. For Mandela, “In this scenario, “the international community” becomes subrogated to the role of “broader constituency” that Mandela evoked indirectly”  (Wolf, and Rosen) but whose support and intervention proved crucial to his success. Because of his sometimes volatile rhetoric, Mandela took special care to “emphasize his desire for reconciliation across the divide of colour” and repeatedly “pledged himself anew to work for a multiracial society in which all would have a secure place” (Pierce 175).

Contemporary Impact of Non-Violent Strategies

Despite the contributions of great thinkers and activists like those examined in the preceding, brief discussion, the fact is contemporary society seems no less preoccupied with violence than ever before. By examining the media one has the distinct impression that in the world of media and media-related technology, a great deal of concern has been expressed by both everyday observers and specialists in social-psychology over the possible negative impacts that media, and in particular media portrayals of violence, may have upon small children and adolescent children.

One of the most complex facets of the issue is the still-unknown impact that new technologies such as 24 hour a day cable programming, widespread Internet access, and the “digital age” in general will have on the generation of young people who are presently the first to be so overwhelmed by such widespread media and media technologies.

An immersive and nearly all-pervading sense of media exists in modern homes that, in fact, the presence of media can be said to form a basis of “reality” for many people. It is this exact kind of blurred distinction between perceived reality (based on media models and information) and reality (those aspects of life which stand apart from media and media-based models).

The distinction between media-reality and reality is not always clear, particularly to small children and adolescent children: “The boundaries between reality and unreality are especially permeable for small children. They are unable, through at least the age of three or four, to distinguish fact from fantasy. Even older children rarely manage to keep “real life” and vicarious experience in watertight compartments” (Bok 1999, 38) as we will see in the following discussion.

The main impact repeated viewings of media violence seems to exert over small children and adolescents is the conflation of media-violence with organic psychological processes, many of which exist at such a deep, primitive psychological level in humans that manipulation of these emotions, and psychological dispositions remains, for the most part, beyond the conscious perception of the viewer. In conclusion, although the idea of media-responsibility regarding the impact of violent programming on children and young adults is often cited by critics as a form of censorship, ample scientific evidence and research exists to establish media-violence as a certain source of negative influence on young people.

The fact of the matter remains despite the right of free speech that media-reality and actual reality are non-distinct at some deep, organic level in human psychology: ” weeks earlier the Los Angeles police officers whose roadside beating of motorist Rodney King had been shown on TV screens the world over had been acquitted by an all-white jury[…]In that crisis, the boundaries between movies and reality blurred, not only for the public but also for Hollywood producers, directors, and actors who were seeing smoke rising beneath their hillside residences and hearing sirens echo up and down the canyons,” (Bok 1999, 36); with such a confusing and agitating impact of adult professionals, what can we expect when we expose our children to the same cultural ambiguities through media?

If non-violent philosophy according to Gandhi, king, and Mandela is correct then violence is not  a norm in human society, but a constructed evil. If, as the proponents of non-violent philosophy suggest, “non-violent settlement of conflict is the human norm as we well know from daily experience. We are not programmed in some genetic way to violence” (Kent) than a radical re-visioning of our self-identity and self-image as human beings must take place not only in our media and in our educational facilities, but in our individual psyches as well.

The applications of non-violent strategies in contemporary culture can be thought of as being as unknown as the implications of deep-space travel because even though the contributions of such historical leaders as Gandhi, King, and Mandela reveals the tremendous power of non-violent activism, the full impact of the philosophy as articulated by these men has far-reaching cultural, global-poltical, and spiritual implications which surpass anything which has yet occurred in history.

In other words, the “pioneers” of the “modern” incarnation of non-violent strategy which we have examined: Gandhi, King, and Mandela represent not the totality of what the non-violent philosophy can or wants to attain, but the mere beginning of a global transformation which is rooted not inly in the basic moral nature of humanity, but in humanity’s spiritual destiny and responsibility.

Certainly individual leaders and activists continue to utilize the non-violent approach to attain important results in their areas of influence. Modern technology can also help individual activists to promote change by spreading honest information regarding the repercussions of violence and the militarization of political issues. One recent example is when “a 1991 massacre in the East Timorese capital Dill was recorded on videotape and subsequently broadcast worldwide, this generated enormous support for the resistance” (Martin 625); such applications of technology by individuals represent one small but important aspect of the many avenues of potential non-violent methods of change.

Other methods include educational strategies based in the ideas forwarded by Gandhi, King, and Mandela. The recognition of the historical impact of the immensely influential strategies of non-violent change and civil disobedience will also help to inform and empower individuals who, in turn, may adopt some of the strategies and ideas reflected upon in the above discussion to help bring about social and political change through non-violent means.


The examination of three important world-leaders who based their activism in non-violent philosophy reveals certain universal traits among the different incarnations of non-violent activism. Among these universal traits is a belief in the breaking of “unjust” laws for the purpose of bringing about social and political change. This belief is often, if not always, accompanied by an ambiguous but firmly articulated that such a braking of laws is based in Divine Will. Another core belief seems to be that non-violence rather than violence is, in fact, more in keeping with humanity’s organic nature. This idea often results in a corresponding belief that the violence evident in human society is the result of a kind of perversion of humanity’s natural attributes into an unnatural and unhealthy state.

Against this backdrop, it is very difficult if not impossible to envision the philosophies of non-violent activism as we know them today as anything short of a religious and spiritual philosophy with extremely pragmatic roots in social and political activism. Not only is the spiritual aspect of non-violent philosophy seemingly universal in the three historical figures studied in this short discussion, but the attributes of spirituality embraced by non-violent activists are, in themselves, of great and abiding interest to any observer. A discussion of this aspect alone would probably reveal that the philosophy of non-violence has existed as a spiritual conviction at various times in various cultures throughout the entire history of humanity.

Works Cited

Barker, Martin and Julian Petley, eds. 2001. Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate. New York:          Routledge.

Bok, Sissela. 1999. Mayhem Violence as Public Entertainment. Reading, MA: Perseus Books.

Gandhi, M. K. Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagraha). New York: Schocken Books, 1961.

Gandhi, Mahatma, and Thomas Merton. Gandhi on Non-Violence. New York: New Directions             Pub, 1965.

Kent, Bruce. “Non-Violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea.” History Today Feb. 2007: 62+.

Mandela, Tambo, and the African National Congress The Struggle against Apartheid, 1948-      1990. Ed. Sheridan Johns and R. Hunt Davis. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Martin, Brian. “Nonviolent Futures.” Futures 33.7 (2001): 625.

Pierce, Victoria. “A Tribute to Dr. King Civil Rights Leader’s Legacy of Non- Violence Is Alive           around the World.” Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) 29 Sept. 2006: 1.

Wolf, Charles, and Brian Rosen. “Public Diplomacy: Lessons from King and Mandela.” Policy Review (2005): 63+.

Free Essays

Examine the Reasons for Domestic Violence in Society

Examine the patterns of and reasons for domestic violence in society (24 marks) Domestic violence is defined as physical, sexual or financial violence taking place within an intimate or family type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. There are many patterns and reasons for domestic violence which each sociologist has a different view upon. Domestic violence affects certain people more than others as they are more vulnerable or stress is caused.

These people include children, people living in rented accommodation, lower social classes or people with a family member who has a problem with drinking or illegal drugs. Richard Williamson sees domestic violence as a result of stress caused by these factors. Homes with overcrowding or worries about money tend to be more affected from domestic violence because it causes stress and arguments between family members and also reduces the social support a family needs.

Dobash & Dobash’s research in Scotland based on police and court records and interviews with women reveal many patterns of domestic violence in society. They found that nearly 1 in 4 women have been assaulted but a partner and 1 in 5 it was repeatedly; they also found that most victims are women and 99% of the incidents are committed by men. These patterns are not biased as the research was carried out by a member of each sex; however this data is not accurate as it is found from Scottish police and court records and not all domestic violence cases are reported to the police.

The Feminist view of domestic violence is that families shouldn’t be patriarchal where the male is dominant because it leads to wives being abused. Kate Millett and Shulamith Firestone argue that all societies have been founded on patriarchy and see the division between men and women in society as a division where men are the exploiters of women. Although they see marriage and family as key institutions they say that they are the main source of women’s oppression and that married men dominate their wives through domestic violence. However, Faith Robertson Elliot opposes this by aying not all men are aggressive and oppose domestic violence; it is also proved from Mirrlees Black that 1 in 7 men have been assaulted and 1 in 20 repeatedly. Feminists ignore the abuse and violence from women as they believe that the reason for domestic violence in families is due to the husband wanting to maintain his dominant status. The New Rights view is the total opposite of the Feminists and believes that the ‘Nanny state’ is too much and the government should let families get on with their own lives instead of paying them money when they don’t have enough.

When people don’t adopt the ‘Nanny state’ it can lead to domestic violence as it causes stress through money problems in the family and doesn’t let the wife get away from domestic violence as she’ll have no financial support. However the New Right like this as the nuclear family can’t be separated due to the lack of money the wife would have if they did therefore maintaining the male dominance. The Marxist view on domestic violence is very similar to the New Right as they believe that wives rely on their husbands being a unit of consumption.

Marxists believe that domestic violence is acceptable as husbands need to take out their frustration on their wives when they get home from work. They feel that husbands need to do this so that they are relaxed for the next day to perform their role of the ‘bread winner’. Therefore, although domestic violence is bad Marxists believe that both sexes rely on each other for either financial support or a stress reliever so domestic violence is essential in a Marxist society.

Free Essays

Domestic Violence in Russia

Why is domestic abuse so widespread in Russia – and are its causes culturally specific? Slide 1 Domestic violence is one of the main causes of women’s suffering and even death. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this topic has often been passed over in silence all over the world. However, in the past 10 years, things have changed: women have begun to make their voices heard, and have finally started seeking help. But is this true for women in Russia?

Slide 2 First we need to define what constitutes domestic violence. The Department of Health defines domestic violence as “a continuum of behavior ranging from verbal abuse, physical, sexual assault, to rape, and even homicide. ” This definition includes such violence as violence in dating, animal abuse, child abuse, violence in same-sex families, violence between intimate partners, as well as violence between neighbors and friends. This paper focuses on domestic violence between intimate partners, both married and unmarried.

Slide 3According to the Ukrainian TV channel “Inter,” “every third woman in the world at least once in her life has been physically abused. ” In the Ukraine, as well as in Russia, this figure is much higher; every second woman at least once becomes the victim of domestic violence. For example, according to the Acting Head of the Department of Public Order of Russia, General-Lieutenant Michael Artamoshkina, every fourth family in Russia experiences some type of domestic violence and two-thirds of homicides are due to family and domestic reasons.

To give a sense of the scale and severity of the disaster, which in Russia is simply called “family problems,” about 14 thousand women die at the hands of their husbands or other relatives and 40 percent of all serious violent crimes annually are committed within families. Just to compare the scale, it should be noted that within 10 years of war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, 14 thousand people were killed. The incidents of domestic violence in Russian families are increasing year after year.

In addition to this, we should take in consideration all the children that are witnessing domestic violence in their families who experience severe trauma, which they may then transfer to their future families. As a result, every year 50 thousand children leave their homes and 2 thousand children commit suicide. Slide 4 This reminds me of the popular English phrase, “My home – my castle,” which is translated to Russian as “??? ??? – ??? ????????,” meaning the security, reliability, and peace of mind hat are being obtained not just through the walls of the house but mostly through family, mainly the spouse. At the same time there is a Russian saying: “???? – ?????? ?????,” which means, “Beating is a sign of loving,” which possibly serves as another reinforcer or an excuse for domestic violence in Russia. Slide 5 Video Slide 6 Domestic violence doesn’t necessarily cause physical damage.

There are several types of domestic violence between two intimate partners: * emotional abuse, such as humiliation, which damages self-esteem, verbal abuse, rudeness, instilling the idea that a woman plays the role of a bad wife and mother; * economic violence where the partner doesn’t allow the woman to work, forcing her to ask for money, and, therefore, lowering her self-esteem; * sexual abuse, which is forcing the partner to have a physical relationship; * physical violence, which is the most common and includes beating, slapping, using weapons, etc. * threats such as threats to take the children or commit suicide; * bullying, which can be presented in the forms of intimidation through gestures, actions, destroying household items; * manipulation of children such as instilling a sense of guilt in front of children, using children to manipulate; and finally * isolation which is a continuous monitoring of what a woman does, whom she can be friends with, with whom she associates and communicates and prohibition of communication with people that are close to her.

What are the causes of such violence by men, and why don’t women fight for their right for a peaceful and happy life? The first problem is the lack of an adequate system to deal with this problem in Russia. Since the legislation has not embraced a definition of domestic violence as a crime, men feel a sense of impunity. The second reason is that this behavior is inherent in every person as a cause of reproducible patterns. The ones, who witnessed their father beat their mother during their childhood, have a higher probability of becoming a family tyrant.

Some other problems that are common causes of violence in Russia are male alcoholism, low material security, and unemployment among men. But violence occurs not only in the families of alcoholics, but also in the families of professors, and managers. A couple of years ago in Russia, this problem was not discussed at all; the topic was practically banned. On the basis of information provided by the above-mentioned channel, “most of women find it to be a taboo topic. And do not talk about their problems for fear of a repetition and confidence in the impunity of the offender.   Slide 7In Russia, as well as in Ukraine, domestic violence is considered to be “hooliganism,” and for the most severe abuser the punishment is confinement for a period of up to 360 hours, which equals to the period of two weeks, after which the offender gets released back into the family. It is not surprising that women do not even turn to the police to report allegations of domestic violence since imprisonment for a period of two weeks would only worsen an already complicated relationship. There is one more feature, the victim is usually very ashamed to admit that she has been beaten, so she remains silent for years.

In addition, many husbands beat their partners in such a way that no one can see scars and bruises. Therefore most of the physical trauma is being caused to the heads of the victims, which ends with more fetal outcomes. The reasons why the victims do not leave their spouses are the same all over the world, starting from banal economic barriers, especially when they have children. There are not enough crisis centers and shelters for victims of domestic violence in Russia. There are about 18 state and 40 public shelters for women, there are over 500 of them in Great Britain.

In addition, social services do not have the authority to help women with children. Sociologists say that domestic violence is a consequence of the treatment of women as the second grade citizens. Surprisingly, the victim often agrees with the offender. For example, if she was slapped for not cooking well enough, then she must really not know how to cook. The longer victims stay with the offender, the lower their self-esteem becomes. They start “putting” themselves into their husband’s or lover’s, developing Stockholm Syndrome.

Therefore, one of the tasks of the psychologist in crisis centers is to explain to the victim that she is not guilty, no matter how poorly she cleaned the apartment or how short her skirt was. The victims must first understand that there can be no reasons to be physically abused, and that it is against the law. But the law allows a lot of other things, like sexual coercion, since in Russia there is no concept of “marital rape,” as well as isolation and control, not allowing to dress a certain way, and preventing access to education.

Hopefully, at least on paper, the situation will change with the passage of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Law,” so the government won’t wait until people die before they do something about this worldwide problem. However, the development of this law has begun in 1994, but it was long ignored. At the same time, in the early ‘90s legislatives in many other countries advanced amendments, which were approved and worked very well in preventing fetal outcomes of domestic violence.

For example, in Israel as well as American courts, a restraining order is given to victims prohibiting the offender to approach the victim or her resistance. The basis for such a restraining order is not just “actual acts of violence” but also threats, insults, and scandals. We should consider some real-life examples of domestic violence, and the extent to which it can reach. One of the most sensational cases of domestic violence, which shocked the whole world, was the matter of Bibi Aisha. Slide 8 This girl’s parents made her to marry militant Taliban at the age of 14, who was severely abusive.

Having lived four years through endless humiliations, in 2009 Bibi decided to escape, but her father returned her to her in-laws and as punishment, her husband took her to the mountains, cut off her ears and nose and left her there to die. The girl was only 18 years old. Fortunately, she was lucky, and was saved by American doctors, who a year later were able to make a new nose for her. The history of Bibi Aisha affected the whole world, but unfortunately it is far from unique. One day in 2010 a Russian girl named Tatyana Polskaya was returning from work.

Approaching the entrance of her building, she saw a young man standing by the entrance with a bottle in his hand. He was not alone; Tatyana said that she noticed someone observing not far from the entrance. When she turned to the young man, he splashed in her face something of the bottle. She ran to a snowdrift and began to wash her face with the snow. As it turned out later, the bottle was full of sulfuric acid. The investigation of her case has hit a dead end; there are no suspects or defendants. Tanya has already had eight operations, but her vision hasn’t been restored.

The same year Oksana Serdyuk, who has recently broken up with her former lover, was going home with a new partner. They accidentally met her former partner at the park and talked. He asked permission to escort them to the porch and when they got there, he hit Oksana with a knife directly in her stomach. Her boyfriend rushed to defend his girlfriend, but was stabbed in the lung. Then the former partner calmly walked over to Oksana, raised her head by pulling her hair and began to slash her neck. A passing car, which flashed its headlights, saved them and the attacker fled.

As it turned out later in the hospital Oksana was saved by a miracle, since the stabbing took place at 2 mm from her carotid artery. According to Oksana, her ex-boyfriend was insanely jealous, and when she tried to leave, he threatened her by telling that he would commit a suicide. She could not even think that this man could bring harm to others. He was sentenced to 12 years. Perhaps, this is one in thousands of cases when an offender of domestic violence actually received a substantial sentence. Why is there such a difference between the statistics and actual numbers of domestic violence in Russia?

The main problem in the procedure of registering domestic violence is in law enforcement, since this kind of violence doesn’t have a separate category in the constitution of the Russian Federation. As long as the legislation does not adopt a definition of domestic violence, the situation will not change. Also the low number of women actually going to the police should be noted, since many women believe that the police won’t be able to help them, and therefore they rarely file a petition. It is important that the Criminal Code and Administrative Code include the concept of domestic violence.

Domestic abuse must incur liability not only in severe cases, such as personal injury and murder, but also in the “mild” forms of violence, like threats and emotional damage. Also, it is important to transfer domestic violence from the sphere of private charges to the sphere of public accusations, so that it is impossible to take back an application, since while the process is going on – a lot of men convince their women to take back the application, promising them that things will change, and once the application is taken back – the case is dropped, and the cycle of abuse continues.

If the case were kept open, the offender would get at least some sort of punishment. And it is definitely necessary to add protection orders; but when this was discussed in the legislature, unfortunately this immediately raised the question of a possible violation of men’s rights. Slide 9 However, it is true that victims of violence are not only women but also men. Unfortunately, there is no exact statistics of the real number of victims. Men as well as women have their own reasons not to report domestic violence. Women are often leaders in their families, but, as psychologists report, are rarely tyrants.

According to psychotherapist Alexander Polev, “If a wife and mother become tyrants – it’s not normal. ” “As a rule, these women are from dysfunctional families, which copy their parents. Tyrants can be oppressed mothers and children – they repeat the situation in exactly same way. ” Victims of woman rarely seek psychological help, despite the frequency of the beatings. Experts say that in Russia, of the total number of reported cases of domestic violence – 5% are feature male victims. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of victims of female aggression.

For men it is really difficult to accept that they have been beaten by a female: it is considered to be shameful and men often prefer to deal with their trauma alone. But even taking into account the psychological barriers to the recognition by men that they have been domestically violated, domestic violence hotlines a few times still receive calls from men suffering violence in their homes. Psychologists are convinced that for men, fallen under the heel of a strong woman, there is only one solution – a divorce. Separation with their wife-tyrant doesn’t always bring satisfaction and resolution to all their problems.

Without psychological help and adaptation, a man who has been with a women-tyrant tends to fall for women of the same type. Slide 10 Domestic violence is a worldwide problem, but unfortunately, in Russia, in comparison with other big countries, the government hasn’t yet found a way to deal with this problem effectively. The problem is often ignored, and its scale is underestimated. But personal, not just governmental action is needed: no one deserves to be abused, and victims of domestic violence -must seek immediate help, break their silence, protect themselves as well as their children, and serve as an example to others.

Free Essays

Does Violence in Cartoons Desensitize Young Children?

Does Violence in Cartoons Desensitize Young Children? A Critical View Donald Duck, Elmer Fud, Wiley Coyote, Tom/Jerry, Fred Flintstone, and Batman; are all loveable cartoon characters that exist in the cartoons children watch every day. Another thing these characters have in common is their general everyday violent behaviors. These behaviors send a subliminal message to children suppressing their moral restraint on basic assault toward each other. Violence in youth has been a rising topic, and continues to grow with more studies and research each year.

Although people may blame many things, I believe the violence depicted as humor or the “super hero effect” in cartoons has a direct relation to the desensitization of violence in the American youth. Research has exposed that young children will imitate aggressive acts they see on television, and recreate those acts when playing with their friends. ” Before age 4, children are unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy and may view violence as an ordinary occurrence. (Berensin) Through critical analysis I plan to examine the effects of violence in cartoons as well as the comedic perception and the super hero effect in order to determine if they relate partly or completely too violent behaviors of young children. Every argument has more than one perception, so I will also be examining some research suggesting that cartoon violence in fact does not affect developing children. Watch an old Looney Toon, if you have a choice, watch an episode of Elmer Fud chasing Bugs Bunny.

To any viewer you see the humor in it; a bunny is jumping all over dodging this slow hunter, his terrible aim, and his shotgun that never needs to be reloaded. But the reality is this hunter is ferociously chasing this bunny literally just trying to kill it. Use the same reality comparison with the Roadrunner cartoons, the coyote is a predator chasing after his dinner and using every possible resource to complete it; yea he never catches his prey, but you can try and imagine the violent episode that would entail if he did.

How about all the explosions and incredible distances the coyote deals with and never seems to die, that doesn’t send the right image. I’m not saying they should show death but not showing it can give children the idea that these acts won’t affect them and that they would also be able to walk away. Violence in cartoons has been around for a lot longer then we think, in fact there is more violence depicted in a cartoon, than in live action dramas or comedies (Potter and Warren 1998). In a sense, children see more violence during a Saturday morning than a Friday night.

Although this is a pretty strong convincing argument there is always another perspective. For example, the violence in cartoons yes is more frequent, but it isn’t as strong as it is on prime time TV. Bam Bam hitting someone on the head with his mallet compared to a short rape scene in Law and order, pretty big difference. Many cartoons show characters dying but the way it is perceived it’s considered funny. Prime time television shows murder depicted in a pretty real state with no joke or laughing afterwards. In 2007, Kremar and Hight found that preschoolers who watched an action cartoon or super-hero image, as opposed to young children who watched neutral video clips or animated characters, were more likely to create aggressive story endings”(An Opposing View). These conclusions brought about the idea that aggression may be related to aggressive behavior. How does the outcome television violence usually end in destructive behavior? That brings us to another form of cartoon violence, the super hero effect. By super hero I mean super hero cartoons; Batman, Superman, Spiderman, transformers etc.

All these cartoons depict violence without the comedic effect but instead with a real life scenario. “Heroes are violent, and, as such, are rewarded for their behavior. They become role models for youth. It is “cool” to carry an automatic weapon and use it to knock off the “bad guys. ” The typical scenario of using violence for a righteous cause may translate in daily life into a justification for using violence to retaliate against perceived victimizers” (Berensin) Everyone sees Batman beating up the Joker and instead of being worried or concerned, they’re cheering.

They’re hoping that the hero will win the fight. Batman is showing how he solves his conflicts with violence rather than reason and debate. The good guys against the villains, and just because it’s usually the good buy beating up the bad guy, it’s still a form of violence that can be subconsciously affecting them. Kids could be going to school and argue who stepped into line first; next thing you know they’re pushing and shoving over it, then throwing punches, imitating their favorite super heroes.

In an extreme example; a ten year old boy from Everett, Washington died in 2008 imitating a stunt him and their friends saw on a popular cartoon, Naruto. Naruto has this ability to dig himself into sand and breathe through a straw. The children thinking they could execute this like Naruto came to an unexpected and very sad conclusion. Those children lost a close friend that could have possibly been avoided had they been educated on the diversity of animation and reality.

This brings us to another problem with super heroes on television, which is the characters, no matter how much damage or violence they receive, continue to remain unharmed and alive. When in reality if any human being actually received any pain like they are, they obviously would not be alive. Superman surviving a hailstorm of bullets is the best example that comes to mind. Yvette Middleton and Sandra Vanterpool wrote an essay; TV Cartoons: Do Children Think They Are Real? , regarding whether children can differentiate between what is real and what is fantasy in cartoons, as well as how they respond to them.

On page five of their essay they go on to say; “When our young children watch cartoons with these types of violence, they start to visualize themselves as their favorite cartoon character and decide that if they are that character, they won’t be harmed if they get shot of run over by the bad guy” It’s when the child imitates these characters that they could be seriously hurt or hurt someone else. A parent’s duty comes into play when they sit down with the child and explain what happens scene by scene. Something a child sees on television isn’t necessarily bad seeing it once or twice.

After those first two a parent could explain what scenes send a bad message. Instead the child watches time and time again, each time desensitizing their moral defense, eventually leading to frequent violent behavior. For example; every time a child sees a violent act they first see it as bad. As time progresses and they see more and more, the child begins to simply absorb the message as if it were an everyday occurrence. They may come to see violence as a fact of life and, over time, lose their ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. It’s at that point that it becomes a problem.

Eugene V Beresin, the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, wrote an article for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. “Today 99% of homes have televisions. In fact, more families have televisions than telephones. Over half of all children have a television set in their bedrooms…children watch approximately 28 hours of television a week, more time than they spend in school. ” That’s four hours an average day, that’s a sixth of their lives. That’s plenty of time for the children to withhold the messages they get from violent cartoons.

Children can recognize and recall these events because they laugh afterwards and think of it as a tolerable way to respond to someone’s actions. Televised violence and the inhabitance of televisions in American households have increased steadily over the years. Beresin continues on to say “The typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18. Television programs display 812 violent acts per hour; children’s programming, particularly cartoons, displays up to 20 violent acts hourly. Now hopefully a young child is only watching cartoons and not a police or crime show. But four hours a day with twenty violent acts hourly, that’s eighty violent acts scene daily. That can put a toll on a developing child’s moral psych. With every argument there are two sides. As I mentioned previously there are other perceptions and different cultural views on cartoon violence. I came across an article by Fran Blumberg, Kristen Bierwirth, and Allison Schwartz, titled; Does Cartoon Violence Beget Aggressive Behavior in Real Life?

An Opposing View. The ladies explain; “Despite increased realism in animation over time, most preschoolers still recognize cartoon programs as “make-believe”, and can differentiate cartoon characters engaged in life-like activities from those engaged in pretend activities. ” Basically what they’re getting at is that children have the ability to realize that cartoons are not real, know that the violence is only animated, and understand that it is wrong. To prove anything is wrong people always rely on the science of it.

V Mathews was one of the authors who composed the article, Media violence liked to concentration, published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography. Mathews confirms “Neurological evidence of a link between exposure to violence on television and brain functioning. Speci? cally, non-aggressive children who had been exposed to high levels of media violence showed less activity in the frontal cortex, that area of the brain linked to attention and self-control. ” Non-aggressive children who already had a grip on what was morally right and wrong I would assume were the ones used. So they weren’t children who were brand new to violence.

Also there is a slight hole in the study. It was measured directly after the children watched the violent cartoons, and not over a long period of time, which is what we’re dealing with. A study taken by Yvette Middleton and Sandra Vanterpool surveyed twenty-three third graders from the Fordham section of the Bronx. “We asked them fourteen questions based on the amount of time they spent watching cartoons, the types of cartoons they watch and their opinions on whether cartoons are real or not. ” (Middleton and Vanterpool) 87% of the students surveyed said they watch cartoons before school, after school, and while doing their homework.

If that wasn’t enough, 86% of the students watch cartoons before bed. With twenty-five to thirty violent acts an hour (Middleton and Vanterpool) that is a lot of negative information that child is absorbing. The ladies continue their results; “78% of the students said they watch cartoons with a sibling or fiend. 17% of the students said that they watch cartoons by themselves, but only 4% said that they watch cartoons with a parent” (Middleton and Vanterpool) Only four percent of third graders watch cartoons with their parents.

Now that is just not high enough. With cartoon violence becoming a rising problem parents need to stop using the television as a babysitter and know what their children are watching. On the subject of the students’ favorite cartoon, Rugrats was chosen as the top favorite, a quite non-violent Nickelodeon Cartoon. Second was Pokemon, a cartoon involving people using different animals/pets and pitting them against each other to settle their differences, definitely violent.

The third was Dragon Ball Z, an extremely violent anime involving numerous characters always fighting each other for control, also chosen as the most popular action cartoon as well as the top favorite if they were limited to one cartoon a day (Middleton and Vanterpool). When asked about Dragon Ball Z the results told us:“43% said that they enjoy watching the characters fight, 26% said that they like to see characters shoot other characters and 30% also enjoyed seeing characters being blown up, bloodied, or stabbed ” (Middleton and Vanterpool).

That is discouraging; this is a television show that children should not be watching. If these are the thoughts that go through their mind while watching, think about what they think of when they aren’t watching. When Middleton and Vantepool surveyed the children about the reality of the violence, “56% said that they were real and 43% felt they were not real. ” That is not a good statistic, over half of the class thought that the characters were real. These are fictional people who literally destroy each other and third grade children think they are real. 86% agreed they come back to life to start the action all over again, whereas 13% felt a character remains dead and is never seen again. ” That is a large amount of children who are uneducated on the subject of death. But from another perspective, they are just children and more than likely can’t comprehend death, and they are just going off what they see in the show. Some interesting information came up when the children were asked what they think happens to real people die. “47% said the person goes to heaven, 47% said the person goes to hell, and 4% said the person goes under the ground and comes back as a flower. (Middleton and Vantepool) So you can see how these are still children and aren’t mature enough to understand what is really happening in a cartoon. This again just brings up the parenting aspect. In the 2004 Conference on Interaction and Design and Children, an article was published about preschoolers moral judgments and their distinctions between realistic and cartoon-fantasy transgressions. M. Peters and F. C. Blumberg explained in good detail about a study they conducted using three and four year old children.

They examined how the children reacted to pictures of both factual human and animated moral transgressions including; hitting, pushing, stealing, and failing to share. (Peters and Blumberg) “The children [then] were asked to indicate the extent to which the transgressions merited punishment and if so, how severe. They also were asked to justify this assessment. We found that preschoolers negatively evaluated all moral transgressions, both realistic and cartoon (Peters and Blumberg). ” Again the problem arises with the short amount of exposure time.

Although since they were three and four years old I would assume that they had been watching cartoons for an already long time. Peters and Blumberg continue to review their findings “When perceiving the magnitude of the transgression, children viewed physical harm as more egregious than that of psychological harm. Speci? cally, hitting was seen as more harmful to others and as deserving of greater punishment than failing to share. ” This meant that children do retain some information pertaining to their morals while they’re progressing as children. They were able to realize what was more ethical and correct.

What was really interesting was how the preschoolers judged cartoon infringement as more harmful than the realistic human transgressions. “Because cartoons are characterized by exaggerated facial expressions and body actions, these characteristics may have in? uenced the children’s perceptions of the cartoon transgressions as ‘‘bad. ’’ (Peters and Blumberg)” With that information we can think about how much those characteristics actually come into play in the maturing stages of a child’s life. The message could be more of a learning experience for them instead of pro violence advice.

Children could be using these cartoons as an example for instances in the future. It’s absolutely possible that children would use these when faced with a real life issues and fix the situation without using violence. Writing this paper has been an eye opener for me. At the beginning I was on the side against cartoon violence, agreeing that it does make children more violent in nature. But after all the research I did I am now on the fence with the situation. It can desensitize the children but also help them to learn what is right and what is wrong.

Ultimately the parent comes into the play the most. I wouldn’t agree that sitting you child in front of the television is a bad idea, but what programs the children watch should be monitored. Also, using the television as a baby sitter is not a recommended idea. Children love cartoons, I know I still do, and there is no reason they have to stop watching them, but Mom and Dad should make sure what is happening in these cartoons is put into context for the child. So the child can differentiate and decide for themselves the difference between cartoon animation and reality.

Beresin, Eugene V, M. D. “The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents: Opportunities for Clinical Interventions. ” American Academy of Child ; Adolescent Psychiatry. Web. 11 May 2010. http://www. aacap. org/cs/root/developmentor Blumberg, Fran, Kristen Bierwirth, and Allison Schwartz. “Does Cartoon Violence Beget Aggressive Behavior in Real Life? An Opposing View. ” Early Childhood Education Journal Oct. 2008: 101+. Education Research Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2012. Mathews, V. P. , Kronenberger, W. G. , Wang, Y. , Lurito, J. T. , Lowe, M. J. , ; Dunn, D.

W. (2005). Media violence linked to concentration, self-control. Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography, 29, 287–292. Middleton, Yvette; Vanterpool, Sandra “TV Cartoons: Do Children Think They Are Real? ” Reports-Research. Web Published 1999 http://www. eric. ed. gov. ezproxy. lib. uwm. edu/PDFS/ED437207. pdf Peters, K. M. , ; Blumberg, F. C. (2004). Preschoolers’ moral judgments: Distinctions between realistic and cartoon-fantasy transgressions. Proceedings of the 2004 Conference on Interaction Design and Children: Building a Community (pp. 131–132). New York: ACM