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It is not necessary that a crime can only take place outside the protection of the home. In fact a large number of crimes take place in the home also. There is a wide variety of crimes that take place in the home. These include domestic violence, spousal abuse, family violence, intimate partner violence and battering. It is a pattern of behavior which violence or other type of abuse is involved against another person in domestic context. For example, intimate partner violence is the domestic violence that is connected by a spouse or a partner in intimate relationship. At the same time, domestic violence can also be presenting case of a heterosexual relationship for a same sex relationship. At the same time, domestic violence can be present in several different forms like physical, verbal, emotional, sexual or economic abuse. Similarly, domestic violence can be subtle or coercive in nature and it can go up to violent physical abuse that causes disfigurement or death (Macdonald, 2007).
At the same time, domestic violence is also a violation of the human rights of individuals. In this way, it causes fear or physical or psychological harm to the victim. Generally it includes violent, abusive and intimidating behavior of a man against a woman. However, this type of violence in the home has significant impact on the children and the young people and as a result, it may constitute child abuse (Boyd, 2011).
A crime in the home may take place in several different forms. For example it may include physical assault, sexual assault, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, social abuse, damaging property and financial abuse. In this regard it needs to be noted that physical and sexual abuse is a crime regardless of the fact that it has taken place in the street or in the home. It has been seen throughout the world are generally the wife or the female partner is the victim of the violence in the home, although the victim of such a crime can also be the male partner. In some cases, it has also been seen that both the partners in a relationship have engaged in abusive or violent behavior. Sometimes, the victim of such a crime may also act in retaliation or self-defense. While the woman who have to face domestic violence are encouraged to report such violence to the authorities throughout the developed world, it has been seen that most of the cases including domestic violence against men are not reported due to the social pressure that is present against such reporting. There is a social stigma attached with the reporting of domestic violence by men.
Generally the domestic violence takes place because it is believed by the abuser that such an abuse is justified and acceptable. At the same time, the awareness, definition and perception regarding domestic violence is also different in various countries (Kay and Jeffries, 2010).
At the same time, due to the private nature of the relationships within which such violence takes place and also due to the fact that most of the cases involving domestic violence are not reported, it is very difficult to measure the extent of the problem. However, it cannot be denied that the problem of domestic violence is widespread in Australia. In this regard it also needs to be noted that women are more likely to be killed in their home by their male partner than anywhere else or by someone else. It is also a fact that most of the incidents of domestic violence are not reported to the police. In the same way, the incidents of domestic violence are much less reported to the police when the perpetrator of such a crime is the present partner. Whatever information is present in this regard has been provided by the surveys that include the Personal Safety Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and also the survey conducted by the Australian component of International Violence against Women Survey (ABS, 2011). In this regard, the ABS Personal Safety Survey gave vital information regarding the safety of the people at home and also in the community and particularly regarding the nature and extent of the violence against people in their homes. In this regard, information was collected with the help of personal interviews. This survey updated information regarding the experiences of the women related with violence in the home as well as such experiences of the men (ABS, 2011).
Although, there is no single cause that can be attributed to domestic violence, there are several risk factors that are related with the perpetrators and victims of domestic violence. An example in this regard can be given of the alcohol and drug use by the perpetrators as well as the victim's experience of child abuse. Such factors increase the risk of violence at home. In the same way, factors like personal stress, financial stress and the lack of social support are also related with the violence against women in the home. However, further research needs to be conducted in order to determine how these factors act as the primary causes of the consequences of violence against women. Alcohol has been cited as a major risk factor for domestic violence, particularly in case of the indigenous communities. At the most serious end, there are the cases involving intimate partner homicides that are related with alcohol (Kay and Jeffries, 2010).
It is also been suggested by studies that the women who have faced abuse in childhood were at a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence as compared to the woman who have not faced child abuse. There are other kinds of vulnerability like separation and pregnancy during which women are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence. A large number of women have reported incidents of domestic violence particularly during their pregnancy (Nancarrow, Lockie and Sharma, 2009).
At the same time, attitudes and beliefs also play an important role in domestic violence. They have an impact on the prevalence of domestic violence and also shape the response of the community as well as the health seeking behavior of the victims. There are only a few people who understand why women continue to live in violent relationships. At the same time, it is believed by some people that domestic violence can be excused if the perpetrator of such violence became so angry that he temporarily lost control. At the same time, it has also been seen that there are many people who believe that the incidence of domestic violence should be excused if the perpetrator is ready to regret what was done by him. In this regard, it has also been seen that being male and having low level of support for gender equality were among the strongest predictors for having violence supporting attitude (Powell and Murray, 2008).
Guidelines have been produced by researchers in Australia regarding best practices involved in sexual assault prevention with the help of education and stressing upon the significance of coherent, conceptual framework, effective evaluation, culturally sensitive practice and comprehensive development. A relatively new model in this regard is the safe at home programs that have emerged as a part of integrated, multiagency approach. It is assumed by this model that the perpetrators of violence need to be held accountable for their actions and should be removed from the family home so that the women and children can stay in the family home. Therefore, there are laws present in all jurisdictions of Australia under which, exclusion orders as a condition of domestic violence others which allow the person seeking protection from domestic violence to remain in family home to be made and the perpetrator of such violence has to seek other accommodation. It is considered that when women are supported to remain in their homes and communities, they are in a better position to maintain social support networks, educational and employment opportunities and stability of care for their children and all these factors help the woman in their recovery (Powell and Murray, 2008).
However, it needs to be noted in this regard that the safe at home programs are not suitable for women and children who are at an extreme risk of violence from their family members or partners. However, the victims who are able to remain in their homes, the risk management options are required to use integrated, multiagency response. In the same way, it has also been seen that enhanced police response also serves as a deterrent in case of some perpetrators of violence at home and it also increases the chances of detection and prosecution of such cases of violence. As a result of these measures, women and children may experience an increased feelings of safety as well as the additional level of support allows them to remain in their home and within their community. Therefore, domestic violence is a long-standing and complex should so the issue. However there has been significant transformation in public awareness related with this problem.
A Powell and S Murray, 2008, ‘Children and domestic violence: constructing a policy problem in Australia and New Zealand’, Social & Legal Studies, vol. 17, no. 4
ABS, 2011, Gender indicators, Australia, July 2011, cat. no. 4125.0, ABS, Canberra
Boyd, 2011, The impacts of sexual assault on women, Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA) resource sheet, April 2011, AIFS, Melbourne
H Nancarrow, S Lockie and S Sharma, 2009 'Intimate partner abuse of women in a central Queensland mining region', Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 378
M Kay and S Jeffries, 2010 ‘Homophobia, heteronormativism and hegemonic masculinity: male same-sex intimate violence from the perspective of Brisbane service providers’, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, vol. 17 no. 3
Macdonald A 2007, Women and children experiencing family violence are the face of homelessness. Parity 20(5)
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