Topic of the essay
Domestic violence is a global issue that negatively impacts mental health and wellbeing.
Examine how socioeconomic and psychological factors influence the incidence of
Your essay should address the following:
� domestic violence & socioeconomic factors – a discussion that includes reference to
international and Australian sources;
� domestic violence & psychological factors � a discussion that includes factors affecting
psychological development in infancy and childhood, psychological trauma and
stress, fear and control.
� your discussion may include evaluation of these factors for the perpetrator or victims of
Social, economic and psychological factors contribute to the prevalence and determine
the forms and effects of domestic violence in overseas countries and Australia. Domestic
violence refers to acts that cause physical, sexual, emotional or social harm or intimidation
involving people who have been or are in an intimate relationship within a family setting.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ASB) and the National Council to Reduce
Violence against Women and Children (NCRVWC), 2% and 1% of all Australian women and
men respectively aged above 15 years have experienced some form of violence in the last 12
months. According to ABS and NCRVWC, physical violence and sexual abuse are the most
common forms of domestic violence in Australia (Mulayim, Jackson, & Lai, 2016). This paper
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discusses the role played by social, economic and psychological factors in the perpetuation and
experience of domestic violence by the perpetrator and the victim, respectively.
Domestic Violence and Socioeconomic Factors
Co-existence of populations from diverse cultural backgrounds has revealed the role
played by cultural diversity in the experience and occurrence of domestic violence. In the United
States of America, studies have concluded that African American Women experience domestic
violence more than women for other races. According to the National Black Women’s Health
Project, 17 % of all women experience domestic violence, which is the most common health
revealed health issues among African- American women in the USA (Perry, 2017). Some of the
American Africans do not perceive domestic violence as a form of violence. African American
women are less likely to report a case of domestic violence due to the perceived social injustices
against African Americans. Generally, studies have reported that African American men are
highly likely to be convicted of crimes such as violence and drug trafficking and although
statistics show that African American men commit fewer crimes than other races. Therefore,
women who are victims of domestic violence in the African American population fail to report
the perpetrators for fear of exposing African American men too because of the historically and
culturally biased unjust legal system (Nisbett, 2018; Pittaway, Bartolomei, Pittaway, & Doney,
The above findings on the influence culture on domestic violence are similar to Australia.
Australian society is composed of both indigenous and migrant populations. Approximately
more than 50% of the Australian population is made up of immigrants or children born from
immigrant families. The cultural diversity in Australia raises the question of the role played by
culture on domestic violence. Generally, women experience domestic violence at higher rates
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than men. The culture determines the attitude and responsiveness to domestic violence. The
perpetrators of domestic violence execute violence partners as a method of solving family and
domestic issues (Owen & Carrington, 2015).
On the other hand, the victims of domestic violence fail to report on incidences of
domestic violence for fear of exposing family and domestic issues and therefore, which could
lead to family and relationship break ups. According to the same study, study participants from
culturally and linguistically minority backgrounds indicated that there are reasons for domestic
violence are deemed excusable in some cultures. Different cultures accept instances where the
perpetrators were emotionally upset beyond control as circumstances where domestic violence
was excusable. Immigrants from English speaking countries were found to report domestic
violence to the police more frequently than migrants from non-English speaking societies. In
Australia, English is the national and official language of communication (Satyen, Piedra,
Ranganathan, & Golluccio, 2018). Therefore, the survey concluded that the ability to
communicate to the police to report cases of domestic violence is a factor that determines the
prevalence and effects of domestic violence.
The level of education, employment status, and economic income influence the
prevalence of domestic violence. Unemployed partners and persons with low educational status
and low income are likely to experience domestic violence. According to data by the ASB, on
the safety of women, women who are not in the labor force are likely to experience domestic
violence from their current or previous partner in marriage. Families whose income is less than
7,500, USA dollars and dependent on government financial support are more likely to experience
a case of domestic violence as compared to families with income above 50,000 USD and not
enrolled in the government scheme of pensions for dependent children. Low economic status
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limits the victim’s access to health care services and facilitation to report the case of domestic
violence. Victims of domestic violence fail to reports domestic abuse due to fear of losing
financial support from their partners. Low educational status is associated with limited access to
awareness about domestic violence, the procedure of reporting cases of domestic violence and
form of domestic violence and the existing legal framework to prevent and protect victims of
domestic violence (Anderberg, Rainer, Wadsworth, & Wilson, 2016).
Additional social factors that predispose to domestic violence are health statistics and ago
and drug addiction. Alcohol use precipitates domestic violence. The ASB has established that
most of the cases of assault within home setting reported to the police are related to alcohol use.
Victims of domestic violence have reported that the perpetrators were under the influence of
alcohol at the time of the incidence. Alcohol use increases aggressiveness and controlling
behavior over partners in a domestic setting. Persons with disability are vulnerable to domestic
violence (Douglas & Harpur, 2016). Globally, more than 30% of domestic violence victims are
diagnosed with some form of capability restriction. Disabled persons are less defensive and are
economically, socially and intellectually disadvantaged. Therefore, psychiatric and mental health
patients may not be aware that the forms of domestic violence and ways of seeking help in the
occurrence of domestic violence. The disabled are vulnerable to various forms of domestic abuse
perpetrated by the caregivers. Fear of losing support from caregivers and the rate of further harm
or institutionalization have been found as reasons behind the increased vulnerability of the
disabled to domestic violence. Pregnancy is associated with domestic violence. Approximately
36% of victims of domestic violence experience violence, the first time during pregnancy
(Breiding & Armour, 2015).
Domestic Violence and Psychological Factors
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Domestic violence causes mental and psychological trauma to children. One of the forms
of child abuse within the domestic setting is a direct and indirect experience of domestic
violence. Age is one of the risk factors for domestic violence. Research studies in Australia and
overseas indicates that vulnerability to domestic violence increases with reduction in age.
Approximately 50 % of domestic violence happens when the parents involved have at least one
child under their care in Australia. Out of these, 30% of the children reported having witnessed
the violence at home. 23 % of victims of violence worldwide are aged between 12 years and 20
years of age. Generally, children do not understand the complex forms of violence, such as
verbal and psychological abuse (Kalmakis & Chandler, 2015). Besides, children have been found
to be more likely to agree to a misconception about various forms of domestic violence, such as
rape. Children do not have the knowledge and education about the definitions of acts that
constitute domestic violence, ways of preventing domestic violence and how to report abuse.
Further, children are economically dependent on parents or caretakers. Therefore, some
children fail to report cases of domestic violence for fear of loss of financial support from the
perpetrators of child abuse, especially in cases where perpetrators are caregivers. Witnessing
and growing up in a domestic environment where domestic violence exists as abuse to children
(Herman, 2015). Victims of domestic violence experience social, cognitive and behavioral
deficits. Specific impairments include; mood episodes of depression and drug abuse. Children
born and brought up in great domestic settings have been found to develop poor stressing coping
mechanisms. Children from families where domestic violence is experienced receive little or no
emotional support from the parent. Such children are overexposed to emotional and
psychological stressor at a time during growth and development before the development of
necessary cognitive and behavioral skills (Campbell, Walker, & Egede, 2016). Therefore, later in
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life, such children are susceptible to the effects of stressors which manifest as depressive mood
episodes. Drug and substance use is prevalent among affected adolescents as an alternative
means for emotional relief. Victims of rape and physical abuse experience recollection of
memories of the events of domestic violence and experience constant fear. Social incompetence,
peer conflicts, increased temperament and poor conflict resolution skills are the effects of
childhood victimization through domestic violence (McKibbin, 2017). Behavioral, cognitive and
emotional effects of domestic violence on children negatively impact on academic capabilities of
children in school. Children who have experienced a form of domestic violence develop the
thinking pattern that violence and aggression are ways of finding resolutions to domestic issues.
A study to determine the effects of adverse childhood events, including domestic violence
concluded that these events generally result to poor general well-being at adult life, poor health-
seeking behavior and psychological stress (Hester, Ferrari, Jones, Williamson, Bacchus, Peters,
& Feder, 2015). Children who experience domestic violence during early years of development
hold negative views about family relationships later in their adult lives. Victims of domestic
violence exhibit social isolation and have a negative attitude towards marriage and domestic
stability. 23% of all single mothers in Australia experienced or witnessed domestic violence
during their childhood, and 10 % of all divorcees were victims of domestic violence between the
ages of ten and twenty years of age (Pearlman, Zierler, Gjelsvik, & Verhoek-Oftedahl, 2016).
In conclusion, domestic violence takes various forms including; physical, sexual, soil,
economic, psychological and spiritual abuse. Social and cultural background determines the
vulnerability to domestic violence. Historically-ethnic based social injustices hinder prevention
of domestic violence in multicultural societies such as Australia and the USA. Poor economic
status and lack of education are factors that increase victimization of domestic violence. Women
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are generally more vulnerable to domestic violence that compared with men. The disabled and
pregnant are groups of populations that are at high risk of domestic violence. Children who
experience domestic violence as victims or observers developed cognitive, behavioral and
psychological and social incompetence during later childhood adolescence and adulthood.
Programs that aim to prevent domestic violence should be culturally sensitive and address the
underlying cultural perspectives on domestic violence. Focus on the risks groups should be
increased. Children who have experienced domestic violence require psychological and
psychiatric interventions to improve their cognitive, behavioral and social skills.
Anderberg, D., Rainer, H., Wadsworth, J., & Wilson, T. (2016). Unemployment and domestic
violence: Theory and evidence. The Economic Journal, 126(597), 1947-1979.
Breiding, M. J., & Armour, B. S. (2015). The association between disability and intimate partner
violence in the United States. Annals of epidemiology, 25(6), 455-457.
Campbell, J. A., Walker, R. J., & Egede, L. E. (2016). Associations between adverse childhood
experiences, high-risk behaviors, and morbidity in adulthood. American journal of
preventive medicine, 50(3), 344-352.
Douglas, H., & Harpur, P. (2016). Intellectual disabilities, domestic violence, and proper
engagement. Disability & Society, 31(3), 305-321.
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Herman, J. L. (2015). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence–from domestic abuse to
political terror. Hachette UK.
Hester, M., Ferrari, G., Jones, S. K., Williamson, E., Bacchus, L. J., Peters, T. J., & Feder, G.
(2015). Occurrence and impact of negative behaviour, including domestic violence and
abuse, in men attending UK primary care health clinics: a cross-sectional survey. BMJ
open, 5(5), e007141.
Kalmakis, K. A., & Chandler, G. E. (2015). Health consequences of adverse childhood
experiences: a systematic review. Journal of the American Association of Nurse
Practitioners, 27(8), 457-465.
McKibbin, G. (2017). Preventing Harmful Sexual Behaviour and Child Sexual Exploitation for
children & young people living in residential care: A scoping review in the Australian
context. Children and Youth Services Review, 82, 373-382.
Mulayim, S., Jackson, M., & Lai, M. (2016). 10 Domestic violence in Australia. Domestic
Violence in International Context, 27, 165.
Nisbett, R. E. (2018). Culture of honor: The psychology of violence in the South. Routledge.
Owen, S., & Carrington, K. (2015). Domestic violence (DV) service provision and the
architecture of rural life: an Australian case study. Journal of rural studies, 39, 229-238.
Pearlman, D. N., Zierler, S., Gjelsvik, A., & Verhoek-Oftedahl, W. (2016). Neighborhood
environment, racial position, and risk of police-reported domestic violence: a contextual
analysis. Public health reports.
Perry, S. (2017). The Impact of Culture and Minority Status on the African-American Female
Domestic Violence Experience.
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Pittaway, E., Bartolomei, L. A., Pittaway, E. E., & Doney, G. (2018). Freedom from Persecution
or Continued Abuse? An Analysis of the Meaning of Rights in Refugee Communities.
Journal of Human Rights Practice, 10(2), 248-267.
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Help-Seeking Behavior among Migrant Women in Australia. Journal of Family Violence,