Thursday, 29 May 2014

Why Do Victims Of Domestic Violence Keep This Hidden?

For most domestic abuse victims, it is believed that they will be involved in at least thirty-five more assaults over a period of approximately seven years before they make the break and report the crime. What is even worse is that domestic violence reportedly claims the life of two women in any given week and one in four women will be exposed to domestic abuse in their life.

It is estimated that about 23 percent of domestic violence cases are ever reported. Many victims of domestic violence choose not to report the violence because they fear that the police will not respond. Research found that some police stations would screen their calls for emergencies and that domestic violence was not considered an emergency. This apparently happens on weekends and at night, when most domestic violence incidents occur. Apparently the safety of someone in a violent relationship is not important enough for the police to attend.

Some of the studies show that only one quarter of domestic violence reports conclude with the offender being arrested. It would seem as though law enforcement and the justice system do not have any understanding of how serious domestic violence is. They may not realize that domestic abuse is a serious crime and the offenders should be arrested and brought to justice.

Domestic violence is often unreported because people are not sure just what constitutes domestic violence. It just might be the case that some victims do not realize that being hit or verbally abused is domestic violence. They probably also do not understand that they should be asking for help. There are cases where victims exist that have no idea and need to be educated. Their abusive partner has likely convinced them that what is happening is either their fault or not a crime at all.

Some victims of domestic violence are too scared to report this insidious crime as they are afraid of any consequences reporting the abuse might bring. They might be scared for their own life or it could be that their abuser has threatened to hurt their children or animals or extended family, so they give in and do not file a report. They keep hiding the abuse and hope that it will not happen again. Most victims are aware that what’s happening to them is a crime, as there is so much awareness about domestic violence these days. There are TV advertisements and campaigns that operate all the time trying to get the message out to victims of abuse to report the offender.

Many victims of abuse will suffer in silence because they often believe that what is happening to them is their fault. Owning up to the fact that your partner beats you can be demoralizing to the victim. Many sufferers are ashamed and often very embarrassed. Their failure to report the abuse to law enforcement is often because their self-esteem has been destroyed and they actually believe that they cause their partner to be violent.

There are also misconceptions about what domestic violence is. Some people think that domestic violence and abuse is only about a partner using physical violence, however this is not the case. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, psychological, or sexual. A partner could withhold money and not allow his partner access to any finances. This behavior is abuse.
Yelling at someone and calling them names is abuse and is also classed as violence.

Another reason for sufferers to not report abuse is the rate of prosecutions that are successful. Despite a prosecutors best efforts; not many abusers receive a jail sentence. If the offender is not going be sent to jail for his or her crime, which essentially helps the victim feel safe and vindicated, it is likely that even more cases of domestic violence will be unreported.

The criminal justice system is failing the victims of violence and abuse. It is also clear that the abuser may come after the victim in retaliation against the victim for reporting the crime and their subsequent arrest. It also looks as though the victims are choosing the sensible option for themselves and their families, as self preservation seems to be one of most important reasons why victims do not report the abuse. When reporting the abuse could lead to more violence and drama for the victim, it is likely that the victim will choose the path that is easier to deal with.

If justice is not going to be served when it comes to these acts of violence against the victim, then cases will not get reported and probably even more deaths will occur due to violence in a relationship or marriage. Both men and women can be victims of domestic violence and the criminal processes need to change to make it easier for these people to overcome their fear and report the offender. It is clear that the one of the biggest reasons domestic violence is under reported is because the victims are not getting justice or possibly any protection.

If it is likely that the court will not send an offender to jail, then there needs to be more support out there for domestic violence victims. Guidelines need to be put into place to protect people who are being abused in the home. There needs to be more avenues of help and assistance, such as better guidelines and laws to have court orders in place as a protection measure. These changes do not just apply to the justice system. The medical profession can get involved and look closely for signs of abuse when they treat suspicious injuries and these people could try to intervene if possible. Or hospitals could employ staff with training in dealing with victims of abuse and put programs in place to get these people out of the situation. More shelters could be opened, so there are places for these victims to run to. There is so much more that can be done.


This article is also published at Full of Knowledge

Copyright © 2014 Janelle Coulton

This article may not be republished or reprinted without the express, written permission from the author. A short summary is permitted with a link back to this source.