Good Example Of Research Paper On Partner Violence
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Violence between partners is a significant cause for medical treatment and injuries. Often these injuries are seen in the emergency room or they may be hidden from a medical profession. Nurses need to be aware of such injuries, not only in identifying them but having understanding of why they occur. Partner violence occurs between partners who are married, living together or intimately involved. The violence knows no gender or sexual orientation boundaries. The violence can take any form: of man on man; man on woman; woman on woman and woman on man. Stereotypes must be ignored and sensitivity needs to be exhibited by the nursing professional.
Introduction and Incidence
Partner violence is at epidemic proportions in the United States. Abuse between intimate partners, regardless of gender, has been subject of serious concern for communities. The effects of abuse are far reaching across the community: hospitals; law enforcement; schools and social services. In the field of nursing, it is critical to recognize the signs of potential abuse in the patients seen without prejudice or judgement. The purpose of this paper is to research and examine the causes, attitudes and strategies for professionals in relation to domestic abuse.
Partner violence, or domestic violence is when one partner in an intimate relationship uses physical aggression and force against the other partner. The partners may be of opposite sexes or the same. The perpetrator may be male or female. In today’s society, no assumptions can be made in the situation of domestic abuse.
According to the American Bar Association 25% of women and 7.6% of men were raped and/or physically assaulted during their lifetimes by a spouse, intimate partner or a date. 20% of all nonfatal crime against women was a domestic violence incident as was 3% against men. Men are the perpetrator in the vast majority of domestic crimes against women and men. They were responsible for 92% of physical abuse on females and 86% of physical abuse on men. When considering race and/or ethnicity, Native American women are twice as likely as other women to experience domestic violence. African American women are murderer at considerably higher percentages. Domestic violence occurs at lower rates in the Gay and Lesbian communities: 11% of lesbians reported domestic violence from their partner and 15% of gay men reported domestic abuse (American Bar Association 2015). It must be noted that these statistics represent reported cases of abuse.
The causes for domestic violence are varied. The act of violence against a partner is a form of control or domination. This control can take the form of physical, emotional or psychological abuse. Drugs and alcohol greatly increase the incidence for domestic violence. Studies have shown that children who grow up in a home witnessing domestic violence or victims of abuse themselves are more likely to continue the cycle of abuse.
Carney (2014) reports in her article that the majority of women who are incarcerated were victims of abuse, either as children or as adults. Many women who are in prison for murder are there because they had acted in self-defense of continuing violence at the hands of their partner. Coupled with abuse, sexual and physical, are psychological disorders and substance abuse. Carney reports that the reasons women stay in abusive relationships include low self-esteem, lack of financial resources, small children at home and fear of embarrassment if the report the abuse to authorities.
In the last decade, incidents of violence against women has slightly decreased, whereas aggression towards male partners by their female partner has increased. These acts lead to increased violence between both parties. In order to compensate for the balance of physical ability, women will resort to the use of a knife or gun more often than men. The requirement of law enforcement officials to arrest and press charges in the case of domestic violence has led to the increase of arrests made on women in such situations (Carney 2014).
Carney presents to cases of women who were jailed for violence perpetrated against their husbands. One woman, Betty Broderick killed her ex-husband and his new wife. She had threatened and stalked them for several years. Her children also reported that their mother was emotionally abusive towards them and their custody was awarded to their father. Betty was found guilty and has been denied parole. She has never expressed remorse for her crime. The other case presented is that of Barbara Sheehan, the battered wife of a New York City policeman. After years of abuse, she tried to save some money to escape with her children. When he discovered her intentions he pulled a gun on her. She was able to get the gun away from him and shot him. She was found not guilty of murder but is serving time for the use of the gun.
Carney (2014) presents excellent information about abuse and how women are beginning to fight back. The case of Broderick that she presents demonstrates emotional and psychological abuse that has been committed by a wife which ultimately resulted in murder. She does not mention if the ex-husband had ever pressed charges or made a complaint against her before he was murdered. Sheehan case was very typical of a frightened abused woman who was terrified to reach out for help, especially since her husband was Law enforcement. It is important not to make assumptions about situations in which abuse is taking place. Professionals need to ask questions and listen carefully to truly understand what may be going in in a domestic situation.
The question of leaving or staying with an abuser is a difficult and confusing from those that are deep in the situation. For the observer on the outside of the situation, the decision should be an easy one, but for the victim it is a terrifying. Halket, Gormley, Mello, Rosenthal and Mirkin (2014) examined this decision in their study of young people who are trapped in an abusive relationship. Specifically they asked whether the negative attributions of a woman has prior to leaving the relationship lessen once they are out of it and whether education of abuse will prompt the decision to leave. In a survey they cited, 46% of respondents, college students, blamed the singer Rihanna for the abuse she suffered from her lover Chris Brown. This statistic is staggering. With the education and open discussions about abuse in today’s society, the stigma of a women deserving to be beaten is shocking among the younger generation. The authors also reference the terms “domestic violence” and “intimate partner violence” as suggestive that the abuse is “shifted away from the partner and into the realm of the couple” (Halket et al 2014). These attributions have very negative effects on a woman who is contemplating leaving an abusive relationship. The authors also reference the act of protecting one’s self against the abuse with coping mechanisms. The coping mechanisms could be drug and alcohol abuse, denial of the situation and becoming more subservient in an attempt to prevent anger and physical retribution.
The students surveyed in their study demonstrated a negative judgments of women who stayed in abusive relationships, however when women left the relationship judgments were more positive. The students surveyed who were exposed to education about research still judged the women who stayed negatively but they showed a little more sympathy towards them. This study demonstrates that society is still not ready to place the blame for abuse where it falls, on the perpetrator. Women in abusive relationships are still viewed negatively (Halket et al 2014).
The cost of domestic violence on the children of these families and society is tremendous. The medical and mental health costs associated with the immediate care for victims of domestic violence as well as loss productivity at work was $4.1 billion dollars. Children who are witness to domestic violence suffer from depression, anxiety, aggression and decreased social abilities. These issues often follow the child into adulthood. Despite the overwhelming judicial and social support for reporting violence, many victims are still unwilling or afraid to come forward Carrell and Hoekstra 2012).
The findings of Carrell and Hoekstra’s study (2012) found that once abuse was reported, the children of this violence began to show improvement in their behavior and emotional state. This translated directly into better behavior and achievement in school. The costs to society in medical bills and social services also drops considerably after a woman reports the violence and seeks help.
Griffith (2014) reports in his study the importance of the nursing profession to be informed of and implement government regulations as they are applied to domestic abuse cases. The study was conducted in England, but the information is universal for nurses. Many cases of abuse are brought out of the home and into the open with a visit to an emergency room or health care provider for severe injuries.
The results that Griffin emphasizes in the study are that nurses need to be current on laws that govern abuse and disclosure. Unlike the abuse of minors which is required to be reported, it is not legally required to report the abuse of adults. There are exceptions and jurisdictions have different requirements, For example, in the state of Florida, a medical professional must report a gunshot wound or life threatening injuries. This definition is still relatively subjective. Nurses and those in the medical profession should also be knowledgeable of agencies where a victim can get help and support.
In a related article, McGarry, Westbury, Kench and Furse (2014) the authors succinctly define intimate partner violence:
any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behavior, violence or abuse between those aged 16
or over who are, or have been intimate partners of family members regardless of sexuality or gender. It involves psychological, physical, sexual financial and/or emotional abuse (McGarry, Westbury, Kench and Furse 2014, pp. 47).
These victims could be seen by medical professionals in a number of settings: the emergency room, doctor’s office; dentist and/or mental health care professional’s office. The author’s suggest that all medical establishments have at least one person who is well trained in both the legal and psychological aspects of abuse and how to help and support these victims. The role of this individual is to participate in on-going professional development and knowledge of the laws associated with abuse cases (McGarry et al 2014).
Silva and Ludwick (2002) address the ethical issues that specifically face the nursing profession in the case of domestic violence. They examine the ethics of abuse from three standpoints: feminist ethics; nonmaleficence and the codes of ethics for nurses.
Nonmaleficence is the idea that one inflicts or causes no harm. Domestic abuse causes harm at all levels of the human experience. Physical harm that can result in death; emotional, psychological and financial harm caused not only to the victim but to children involved in the situation. The Code of Ethics for Nurses addresses the nurse’s role in abuse cases. Nurses have a duty to respect a human beings dignity and to treat them with compassion regardless of the patient’s lifestyle or condition. Nurses are required by this code to treat these victims with respect and appropriate care. The Code of Ethics also warrant action on the part of the nurse. Laws and patient’s rights may make it difficult for a nurse to act on an individual basis with a patient but advocating for victim’s rights in legislation and in the community is an important part of the nursing profession (Silva and Ludwick 2002).
Patient Related Factors
The shame and embarrassment associated with domestic abuse in patients is overwhelming. Abuse has deep psychological and emotional effects. Men and women who are the victim of abuse are generally unwilling to report it. They try to cope on their own with the abuse through negotiation with the abusive partner or avoidance of stressful situations which may cause an incident of violence. Many victims abuse alcohol or drugs to escape the situation. There are victims too who suffer from low self-esteem and actually blame themselves for the abuse when it occurs. Imagine the attitudes and feelings of a man that is involved in an abusive relationship, the perception of an abused male at the hands of a female holds great shame and embarrassment.
Victims often do not want to report their abuse to law enforcement. There is a fear of the stigma and negative attributions associated with abuse victims. Laws and ineffective enforcement of them can lead to recurrences of abuse, stalking and harassment. Victims who do not have the financial means to leave are often referred to shelters which can be uncomfortable and lack privacy. The threat of their partner to kidnap the children or kill them if they report the abuse is often enough for any victim not to report.
Abuse is often seen first-hand when medical treatment is sought. When a victim is seriously injured in an attack, it is often necessary to seek out assistance for injuries. This is why is critical for the nursing and medical profession to be educated and aware of the signs of abuse. Being informed, aware and sensitive in these situations is critical (Silva and Ludwick 2002).
System Related Factors
Communities often have a multitude of services for victims of domestic abuse. Police departments and prosecutors have staff trained and assigned to domestic violence cases. There shelters both public and private for families that need respite from abusive perpetrators. However, due to embarrassment and fear, victims do not usually seek out assistance.
Victims are usually identified in a medical setting, the emergency room, hospital or doctor’s office, after a severe bout of abuse that requires medical attention. A medical professional can offer assistance and suggest resources in the community as well as reporting the abuse to law enforcement. However, if a victim is too afraid and not ready to that step, confidentiality will prevent the nurse from making a report. It is critical that nurses are current in laws governing confidentiality and reporting of abuse in their state or jurisdiction. In the case of children, any suspected abuse must be immediately reported, with adults, the rules are different.
The threat of retaliation by the abusive spouse is one of the overwhelming reasons why a victim will avoid getting help. Law enforcement promises protection, but this is often ineffective. Every day, women are killed by partners they thought they had escaped and were protected from. When these stories are featured on the news or widely reported in a community, there is a lack of trust in law enforcement agencies to truly protect a victim. The process of prosecution and going to court is daunting and terrifying for victims.
Gaps in the Literature
The literature reviewed left many unanswered questions. There needs to be more information on the outcomes for victims of abuse when they leave the relationship. The long lasting effects of abuse emotionally and psychologically on both the victims and children involved in domestic violence needs to be addressed. Abuse directed at men by their female partners is beginning to be addressed as well as the higher incidence of female perpetrated abuse. What is causing the rise in these statistics?
In addition to the literature, nurses need to be educated and up to date on laws and regulations governing abuse in their respective states, municipalities and organization. Training and research should be offered to nurses but it is also the nurse’s responsibility to seek out current information. Education and knowledge is one of the best ways a nurse can assist a victim of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is a very large and real problem in the United States, as well as globally. Nurses need to be educated and proactive in helping and caring for victims of abuse. Assumptions and prejudices about abuse need to be disregarded. Men and women can both be victims as well as perpetrators. Substance abuse and denial are common coping mechanisms that a professional needs to recognize and see through to fully understand the problem. Nurses need to be knowledgeable of laws and resources in their specific community in order to be effective in their assistance.
Carney, A. (2014). Incarcerated women and domestic violence. American Jails 28(1), 36-40.
Retrieved from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?vid=7&sid=21ded795-e0bd-
Carrell, S. and Hoekstra, M., (2012). Family business or social problem? The cost of unreported
domestic violence. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 31(4), 861-875. Retrieved
American Bar Association, (2015). Domestic violence statistics. Commission on Sexual
And Domestic Violence. Retrieved from:
Griffith, R. (2014). Government implementation of domestic violence protection measures
nationwide. British Journal of Community Nursing 19(6), 302-305. Retrieved from:
Halket, M., Gormley, K., Mello, N., Rosenthal, L., & Mirkin, M. (2014). Stay with or leave the
abuser? The effects of domestic violence victim's decision on attributions made by young
adults. Journal of Family Violence 29(1), 35-49. DOI: 10.1007/s10896-013-9555-4
McGarry, J., Westbury, M., Kench, S., & Furse, B. (2014). Responding to domestic violence in
acute hospital settings. Nursing Standard 28(34), 47-50. Retrieved from:
Silva, M. & Ludwick, R. (2002). Ethics: Domestic violence, nurses and ethics: What are the
links. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 7(2). Retrieved from:
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