Domestic Violence Prevention
Domestic violence is the intimidation or physical assault that may be viewed as willful. It may range from battering, abusive characters and even sexual assault among others. In many cases, it exists as part of a systematic pattern that is conducted by one intimate partner against the other. The violence has got consequential outcomes, thereby creating a need for its prevention. It can negatively affect an individual within a community with no regards to the individual’s age or even economic status. It has equally been taken into consideration that, its prevention is not easy due to the problems and challenges that exist in crime and criminology (Cullen & Agnew, 2003). It is the role of the criminal justice department to ensure that cases of domestic violence are handled and mitigated. The above has not been realized due to the problems and challenges which are associated with it. Therefore, this paper is premised on the research on preventing domestic violence.
Some of these challenges include; poor experience level within the criminology department in dealing with domestic violence. The experience range amongst law enforcement officers in dealing with incidents of domestic violence has been noted to differ irrespective of their rank or year of experience. In most cases, female law enforcement officers have been credited to offer better attendance to domestic violence complainants as opposed to their male counterparts. It is a challenge to crime and criminology department since law enforcement officers operates on either shifts or certainly developed framework (Cullen & Agnew, 2003). The advanced framework may not stipulate or specify the complaints that are supposed to be attended to by either female or male officers. It may, therefore, have a long term effect on the complainant especially when handled by an officer who is not good at addressing matters of domestic violations.
Another challenge that exists in crime and criminology is the definition of the topic in discussion. Crime and criminology department argue that domestic violence is based on physical assaults, yet it is a multi- dimensional phenomenon that is accompanied by various types of abuses to the victim (Fund, 2004). Some of the abuse may not be physical but also count. For example, during and after the act, one may suffer from emotional stress, mental torture, and low self-esteem situations among others. Therefore, there is a need for a further broadening of the Domestic Violence Act, No. 116 of 1998, to include more than the abusive conduct that is reported to ascertain protection in domestic relationships where the safety of the complainant, health and well- being continues to be in a jeopardized state.
The third problem that exists in crime and criminology is the response of the police to cases of domestic violence. Police are the people who are supposed to be on the first line of defense to victims. In many occasions, the perpetration of cases of domestic violence is usually conducted behind closed doors with no one to act as a witness (Fund, 2004). In case there are family members who by chance happen to witness the violence, they may shy away from being witnesses. The police are, therefore, the persons who the victim will depend upon for rescue. Research has shown that their response time frame is usually poor and may not help much. The rights of the victims may end up violated due to scanty witnesses as well.
The final problem or challenge is that of evaluation mandate or presumed arrest policies within the crime and criminology department. It has been noted that even as the law dictates matters of arrest, the police exercises discretion in finding the occurrence of a crime, and in most instances, do not consider arrest as a response to domestic violence (LaFree & Dugan, 2015). The above is because; the police officers are equally bounded by the ideological beliefs regarding the violence. The justification to this point is based on the statistical information about matters of arrest, where those arrested with cases of domestic violence are few, yet the act is on the rise.
The problems or challenges explained in the above paragraphs are due to certain historical issues. The historical roots of these problems and challenges are based on the powers that were bestowed upon the man by the tradition over the woman. He was regarded as the head of the family and could ‘discipline’ the woman. On matters of crime and criminology, the historical issues are mainly addressed from the view of the existence of poor mechanisms within the crime and criminology department to curb the topic in the discussion (McCulloch & True, 2014). Historically, the department viewed domestic violence from a shallow point of view until 1998 when there were inputs that were made to the Domestic Violence Act, No. 116. It is this act that incorporated most of the issues associated with the violence and even provided recommendations on possible solutions that can be adopted to curb it.
Other than the aspect of historical issues that contributed to the problems and challenges discussed in the previous paragraphs, there was also the role that was played by internal and external stakeholders. Their role covered both the problems and the solution in crime and criminology. Internal stakeholders are the law enforcement officers working within the crime and criminology department. Their contributions to the problems were based on poor response to domestic violence. Additionally, the police adopting the ideological norm and not conducting arrest perpetuate domestic violence while law enforcement officers’ lack of a deeper insight on the definition of domestic violence and their poor experience level constituting a contributive factor (Osofsky, 2003). On the other hand, External stakeholders are the perpetrators who contribute to the problem in discussion. Both the internal and external stakeholders can also assist in achieving the solutions to the problem when the internal stakeholders perform their duties as required and their external counterparts obeying the law.
Victims of Domestic Violence
There was also the data that was collected about challenges on crime and criminology. The people who were involved were mainly victims of domestic violence. From the information, it was clear that most of them were not being attended to as required by law during data collection. The response time was also poor, and their concerns were poorly handled to the extent that most arrests were not conducted on those they accused of assaulting them (Osofsky, 2003). This data, therefore, related to a greater extent to the problems and challenges already addressed. Due to these problems and challenges, as evidenced in the data collected, there was a need to develop solutions in crime and criminology to curb them.
The first solution was for the crime and criminology department to hire expertise that was qualified in solving matters of domestic violence. This was going to solve complaints from victims who were not well handled by the officers with poor experience. The next solution was for the crime and criminology department to have a clear and detailed definition of domestic violence. This was going to help in taking into consideration some of the consequences that are associated with assaults. These consequences may either be emotional suffering, depression or even deprivation of self-esteem. The third solution was on the crime and criminology department to develop an elaborate framework (World Health Organization, 2005), that was going to allow them to respond appropriately and in time to cases of domestic violence. Finally, the last solution was for the police to act by the law when dealing with matters of domestic violence rather than basing their operations on ideation. They should arrest the perpetrators and take them before the court of law.
In summary, attempts of preventing domestic violence are still on the course due to the existence of the problems and challenges of crime and criminology. The cause of these problems originates from the historical context and is also related in several ways to the internal and external stakeholders as explained in the previous paragraphs. Nevertheless, the problems mentioned are also justified by the data collected, and an elaborate relationship is given as well. Solutions are also developed to prevent future reoccurrence of the problems and challenges. If the solutions developed are exploited, cases of domestic violence will reduce at a higher rate and the crime, and criminology department will have ease in conducting their duties without public criticism.
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