Domestic Violence: An Overview


The effects of domestic violence on our society are obviously enormous, but are impossible to measure.  Our entire nation suffers.  You can see the effects at bus stations, fast-food restaurants, and schools.  You can see it on television and in jails.  You can see it in people’s faces on the street – hopelessness, pessimism, hard-headedness, meanness.  A person’s spirit is priceless, and a broken spirit costs more than can be measured in dollars.

Still, think about the cost of domestic violence in terms of just dollars and cents, and it’s devastating.  Abuse victims need medical care.  Up to 54% of women seeking emergency services, up to 66% of women seeking general medical care, and up to 20% of women seeking prenatal care report experiencing domestic violence. 17  Victims of abuse also require mental health care.  There is enormous cost to the state in the form of time spent by law enforcement officers, courts, lawyers, public health workers and more.  There is cost to social welfare organizations in the form of money and donated time to staff and run shelters, counseling services, hotlines, and more.  There is cost to the productivity of our workhouse in the form of absenteeism, worker re-training (when a victim is killed), and decreased productivity.  The educational system is required to provide specialized services to children suffering from attentional and behavioral problems resulting from domestic violence.

Now think about the fact that children growing up in a house with domestic violence will grow up and require medical care for stress-related illnesses, mental health care for anxiety, depression, panic, and shock.  They will likely end up costing the state money in the legal system, will earn less than their peers because of their academic difficulties as children and because they may have lost the optimistic and risk-taking qualities necessary to become successful, and finally, they will likely raise children who will in turn continue the cycle.

What is Emotional Abuse?
What is Physical Abuse?
What is Sexual Abuse?
Domestic Violence Statistics: Prevalence and Trends
It’s Hard to Stop because it’s Hard to Report
Effects of Domestic Violence
Effects of Domestic Violence on Children and Teenagers
Help is Available!
Domestic Violence Shelters: What They Do
Nationwide Crisis and Hotline Directory
Domestic Violence References

Referring to this article:
“Domestic Violence: An Overview” was written by C. J. Newton, MA, Learning Specialist and published in the Find (formerly Mental Health Journal in February, 2001.

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