Domestic violence is a key concern across the globe and much attention has been given to curb the prevalence of it. Research indicates that domestic violence can be the cause of ripple effect on the psychological and emotional wellbeing of the victim which is highly adverse. Issues surrounding mental health of domestic violence victims have often gone unaddressed by the society. Some of the notable mental health concerns related to domestic violence are psychiatric disorders, learning difficulties for children, low self-esteem, and aggressive behavior. The factors that contribute to domestic violence are highly complex and multi-faceted. The present essay aims to examine how socioeconomic and psychological factors influence the incidence of domestic violence. The paper discusses the relation of socioeconomic factors with domestic violence with reference to international and Australian sources. Further, a discussion is put forward regarding the factors affecting psychological development in childhood and infancy, stress and psychological trauma and fear and control that have an association with domestic violence.
Domestic violence has gained immense attention in the recent past as a major public health issue. It is also worth mentioning that domestic violence is a serious mental health concern surpassing regional, social and cultural boundaries (Morgan & Jasinski, 2017). As per the data mentioned in the paper of Vameghi et al., (2018) the World Health Organization has mentioned that the prevalence of domestic violence across countries is variable, ranging from 15% in Japan to 71% in Ethiopia. In Australia, the statistics give a clear indication that domestic violence is of much concern. As per the reports published, one out of three women had experienced physical or sexual abuse perpetrated by a known person. Domestic violence is the main cause of homelessness for children and women in Australia. One out of four children is exposed to domestic violence in the country.
A key link between socioeconomic status and domestic violence emerges from the literature that has aimed to analyze who low economic status increases the risk of being subjected to domestic violence. Though domestic violence occurs across different income brackets, those from the lower income bracket are responsible for contributing to the major proportion of domestic violence across societies (Elder et al., 2011). According to Ribeiro et al., (2017) those coming from a low socioeconomic status group and have a history of exposure to limited financial resources are more prone to suffer domestic violence. Further, a higher degree of education and employment status minimizes the risk of being exposed to domestic violence. The harms and adverse effects of domestic violence are found to be more prevalent in societies known to impose social limitations on women and pave the way for unfavourable socioeconomic conditions for them. The rationale is that such societies are not known to provide power and authority to the individuals to have control over the elimination of risk of domestic violence.
Costa et al., (2015) in this regard stated that domestic violence is not commonly highlighted in families where there is moderate to high socioeconomic status. Lower level of education is in fact as a key causal factor for domestic violence. A higher level of education in one of the spouse makes the individual more favourable towards the other spouse, as a result of which the tendency to engage in domestic violence is less. The rationale is that a person with higher level of education has an increased awareness of the familial and social duties of an individual living in a society (Vyas & Heise, 2016).
As per the reports of Domestic Violence Resource Centre, Australia, domestic violence is common in Australia and takes different form such as family violence, child abuse or relationship abuse. Domestic violence leads to long-term harm and significant impairment in mental health status. The relevant factors are drug and alcohol abuse, dispossessed of traditional culture, child removal policy and entrenched poverty. Though domestic violence is found to be evident across different social groups, a significant link has been found to be prevailing between socioeconomic inequalities and experiences of violence. Economic policies have a major impact on the way in which people live under circumstances that relate to violent incidents. Domestic violence can be explained through referring to theories of social power (.whiteribbon.org.au, 2018). Goodman et al., (2016) pinpointed that violence is common in social classes who are less privileged and do not have the environment to express individual choices regarding lifestyles. Past experiences of domestic violence also act a key driving factor for domestic violence. It has been understood that those coming from a background of domestic violence are more at risk of being the perpetrator of domestic violence. Individuals might develop the notion that domestic violence is the resolution to social problems, as witnessed from previous experiences. The emotional profiles of such individuals are directed towards domestic violence as the end result of differences in opinion and argumentative discussions (Haselschwerdt et al., 2018).
From the paper of Oliveira et al., (2017) it is understood that economic and social factors have the power to influence the ability of individuals to escape from situations wherein the risk of domestic violence is foreseen. Perpetrators of abuse are known to utilize this factor to their advantage. For instance, a women suffering from a certain form of disability might be dependent on the abuser for accessing care, making it difficult for the victim to come out of the situation. In the Australian context, members of the aboriginal population and other non-English speaking communities might be reluctant to report determining factors of domestic violence due to the risk of being discriminated on the basis of their race or culture. Such social issues of marginalization and discrimination are to be addressed for preventing domestic violence (aihw.gov.au, 2018).
While it is understood that socioeconomic factors largely contribute to the concern of domestic violence, it further involves psychological issues that are to be dealt with. As commented by Pain (2014) there are two distinct emotional dynamics that lead to domestic violence. The first one involves a thought process that is highly destructive in nature, experienced by abusers towards themselves as well as the victims. This is known as the critical inner voice. The second factor is related to a negative illusion of association between two individuals. This dynamic incorporates into the sense that the other person is the cause of negative life outcomes. The two belief systems, as a whole or separately, set up the environment supporting domestic violence.
When faced with a relationship that is distressing, individuals are likely to experience feelings of anger and fear. For instance, when an individual experiences a perceived threat, an insult or a provocation, the person is compelled to act on their critical inner voice. It is to be remembered that this inner voice is highly destructive in nature, leading to domestic violence (Copp et al., 2015). Further to the influence of critical inner voice, those involved in domestic violence have been found to be forging a destructive connection. A sense of merged identity between individuals, most commonly couples leads to an illusion of an unhealthy relationship. It is therefore easier for one of the two individuals to cause domestic violence as the perpetrator does not perceive the other person as separate. Though multiple advances have been attempted to create equality in the society, the present social establishment is still highly patriarchal. Expectations are such that men are to be presented as stronger as and in more power than women. This can trigger a trait of psychology in men that they have the power to exercise control over women (Roberts et al., 2015).
The psychological effects of domestic violence on children and individuals are multi-faceted. Children experiencing domestic violence are expected to develop emotional, developmental, behavioral and academic problems. As development occurs, children are more likely to suffer from depression, restlessness and agitation. The chances are high that these individuals commit suicide in later stages of life or resort to abuse of drugs. Children experiencing domestic violence also are to use violence as the means of enhancement of their self-esteem and reputation (Thornton, 2014). Birkley and Eckhardt (2015) reported that experiences of domestic violence leads to stress, trauma and fear. However, stress and fear might also be perceived as contributory factors for domestic violence. Individuals who are not in a position to control themselves under unfavorable conditions are reported to cause violence in public or in private. Domestic violence is therefore as a result of systematic pattern of uncontrolled behavior. Poor mental health status as a result of drug abuse and alcohol abuse can also be considered as contributory factors to domestic violence (Jordan & Bhandari, 2016). A considerable proportion of perpetrators have been known to have a history of substance abuse. Stress might also be considered as a factor in increasing the likelihood of domestic violence. Individuals highly stressed due to a number of reasons might showcase an increased chance of taking part in violent activities (Foster et al., 2015).
In conclusion, domestic violence is a major contributor to mental illnesses and physical harm that are related to unfavorable health outcomes. In a society where there is limited economic resources and stratification in social class, domestic violence is more to be experienced. Domestic violence is linked with lower socio-economic background and a wide range of psychological factors, each one with its own relevancy to violence. While domestic violence is on the rise in the contemporary era less has been done to eradicate inequalities prevailing in the society. Multiple socioeconomic factors and psychological factors in association to each other set the stage for domestic violence across nations, including Australia. There is an urgent need of political actions and social changes for promoting societies free of domestic violence. Actions for such changes are to be informed by the perceptions and victims of domestic violence.
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