Domestic violence, meaning a violent act committed against a person in a domestic relationship such as a spouse, a relative, or a dating or sexual partner, has been a problem for centuries. Although society, especially Western, is formally developing in the way of spreading the ideas of tolerance, large mindedness, and mutual respect of all human beings, the world still cannot deal with such mundane issues. Domestic violence is a complex issue that affects different spheres of public life, and dealing with it requires extensive measures, including the performance improvement of police, law, and public organizations.
General Statistics on Domestic Violence in America
Intimate partner violence does not seem widespread, as this is not a popular topic to discuss in society, though it is more severe than generally assumed. The statistics reveal surprising and frightening numbers of people suffering from this problem. For instance, more than 10 million adults a year experience domestic violence, and the number of intimate partner violence victimizations increased by 42% from 2016 through 2018 (NCADV, 2020). Moreover, in 2003-2012 domestic violence accounted for 21% of all violent crime (Truman & Morgan, 2014), meaning it is a huge component of crimes in general. Thus, an adult in the US experiences domestic violence at least once in 3 seconds.
in as little as 3 hours
Connection with Homicide Statistics
Domestic violence is usually considered relatively harmless compared with other types of crime. However, the statistics show that 12.8% of homicides are committed by family members, implying consanguineous relatives and relatives by marriage (FBI, 2018). Furthermore, U.S. crime reports suggest that about 1 in 5 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner (CDCP, 2020). Though a minor domestic violence case can have no large-scale consequences, there are still risks that it will lead to a homicide in the future. Therefore, to avoid spreading the phenomenon, more attention should be paid to domestic violence and its victims, including their relationship with the violator and other family members. Based on the statistics above, domestic violence can be called an “epidemic.” However, in my opinion, it would not be true because an epidemic is something that evolves and spreads rapidly, and the domestic violence issue has been existing for centuries.
COVID-19 Pandemic Effect
Limitations connected with the pandemic have contributed to the explosion of the problem. The number of domestic violence incidents in the US increased by 8.1% after lockdown orders, according to an analysis by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice (Rodriguez, 2021). The potential of the development of this issue is vast and probably even more prominent than expected. Coronavirus-related changes in society’s life are not the cause of domestic violence cases’ growth; they have only disillusioned the situation and its actual extent. These numbers have shown the importance and rareness of home being a safe space for people.
Concealment of Assaults
The worst thing about domestic violence – and the main factor, which provides its existence and does not let governmental structures deal with it entirely – is that a large part of assaults stays unreported. For example, the National Violence Against Women Survey reveals that only “25% of physical assaults perpetrated against women are reported to the police annually” (O’Neil, 2016). The reasons for it are that people may fear triggering an attacker’s anger, facing a complicated financial situation, or becoming homeless. Consequently, all the assessment attempts are in any circumstances nonobjective and do not reflect the actual numbers of intimate partners violence cases.
The Image of Domestic Violence via the Media
As well as almost any occurrence reflected in the media, the picture of domestic violence is often angled and cannot be considered objective. For instance, NFL players are thought to be more disposed to behave violently than other people. This happens, no doubt, due to the way the media translates news about NFL players. In fact, NFL players have much lower arrest rates than average: arrest rates in the NFL are only 13 percent those for the general public among men aged 25 to 30 (Picht, 2014). However, people continue believing that NFL layers are especially dangerous. This example portrays how media can affect the perception of information by the public.
Physical and Mental Effects
Domestic violence is correlated with a wide range of social problems, making people’s lives more complicated. For example, only 34% of people injured by intimate partners receive medical care (NCADV, 2020, para. 7). Consequently, they may get serious diseases and feel uncomfortable in social interactions. This leads to the complexity of assessing the number of assaults and worsening the victims’ psychological condition as they remain silent about their problems.
Concerning the mental state of people, who have experienced domestic violence, it may have more substantial effects on public peace and safety than it initially seems. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV, 2020), domestic victimization is strongly connected with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior. This may result in an increase in crime in general, as psychologically unstable people are potentially more dangerous and tend to behave violently.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
The appropriateness of the penalty varies depending on the state. Considering all the above mentioned, the penalty should be harsh. For instance, community service or fines are not enough to discipline and redeem the convict, while termination of parental rights may be too strict in some cases. That is why the penalty should be strongly connected with the exact kind of a domestic violence case; only this way can punishment be proper.
To conclude, domestic violence is a worldwide issue, which affects social interactions, impacting the physical and psychological state of its victims and their behavior. It is tough to deal with this problem because many cases stay unreported, and victims often do not feel protected enough to leave. It can be solved only by combining the effort of civil and governmental structures.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Preventing intimate partner violence.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2018). Expanded homicide.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (2020). Domestic violence.
O’Neil, Jennifer. (2016). Domestic violence statistics: the horrific reality. Good Housekeeping.
Picht, J. (2014). Domestic violence: NFL less violent than real life. Communities Digital News. Web.
Rodriguez, L. (2021). Domestic violence increased in the US by 8.1% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Global Citizen.
Truman, J. L. & Morgan, R. E. (2014). Nonfatal domestic violence, 2003-2012. U.S. Department of Justice.