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3. What is domestic violence?
4. Police response to domestic violence
5. ‘Secondary victimization’ in court
6. Support from outside the criminal justice system
9. Appendix A
Intimate violence experienced since the age of 16, 2010/11 BCS
10. Appendix B 50
Proportion of victims who were victimised more than once in the past year by offence, 2010/11 BCS
Domestic violence is a subject area of great sensitivity. Due to the sensitivity of the research topic area, it can be difficult in securing accurate and reliable sources of information. In many cases, the definition of the term ‘domestic violence’ can seem daunting and vague. This study brings forward an in-depth understanding into the definition of domestic violence. For numerous years, domestic violence has been regarded as a private matter, and not of public concern. However, it can affect families and deprive a society from aspiration, hope and wellbeing.
This piece of work looks at the treatment and process of domestic violence. It provides an overview on how women feel about the process, legitimacy and handling by the public services such as police and civil and crown courts. There is a reoccurring theme in understanding ‘secondary victimization’ throughout this dissertation on various levels of domestic violence. This paper provides understanding on the reasons why women fear to report abuse to the police and how effective the police are in dealing with domestic violence. This study overlooks on the availability of support on domestic violence victims, how prevalent they are and do they actually work.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my supervisor, Dr Maria Kaspersson, who has throughout my dissertation, provided me with her patience and knowledge but also allowing me to work on my own. She has reassured me on countless occasions, without her, this dissertation would not have been completed.
I appreciate all my lecturers, the Department of Law & Criminology who has provided me with guidance and knowledge throughout my time at University of Greenwich.
I would also like to thank Mozafor Ali for proof reading the entire dissertation and Halima Uddin for the front cover artwork.
I dedicate this dissertation to all those people who have fallen victim to domestic violence.
Finally, I thank my parents for supporting me throughout all my studies and painstakingly raising me as a child.
Domestic violence is most commonly in the public shadow, however it in some cases it is brought forward to the public spotlight. This research will hope to reveal hidden data that is yet not been exposed, due to the sensitivity of the subject area. The broader purpose of the research may help other academics to understand the elements involved in domestic violence. The aim of this piece of work is to understand the treatment and process of domestic violence within a victim’s perspective. There will be a reoccurring theme of the idea of ‘secondary victimization’ throughout the piece. We will develop an understanding why such abuse occurs within a relationship, exploring the victim’s experiences and views. This may offer us the ability to help others within the same situation and possibly prevent serious injuries or even death. This piece of study will bring together the experiences felt through the intervention of the police and social services, all from a victim’s point of view. Taking an overview on how the civil and criminal process is with dealing with domestic violence. Do the victims find this process beneficial or harmful and would they recommend others to come forward? In some cases, women fear to report intimate partner abuse to the authorities, we will explore the reasons behind this and provide possible solutions. We will discuss some elements of the history of domestic violence and its terming, can domestic violence be any different from everyday ‘common assault’ and ‘grievous bodily harm’, if so, what are the reason behind this? Violence against women is increasingly recognized as a significant public health and human rights concern (Heise et al, 1999). This piece of work will consist of four chapters; each individual chapter will explore various topics about domestic violence. These chapters can make it easier to understand the subject area of domestic violence, which is very broad in nature. This will explore the treatment and process of domestic violence victims from their point of view. This may help us better understand the reasons behind this abuse and if the authorities are doing enough to solve the problems.
Chapter 3: what is domestic violence?
The meaning of ‘domestic violence’ can be of a vague and unclear nature. We will explore the roots of domestic violence and establish how this isolated matter has become a major concern in society? The objective of this chapter is to understand the legislation and how similar or different it is to other such assaults or abuse? This will provide us with the basic understanding of domestic violence and how it can lead to other topics. How did domestic violence establish its routes in society? What made domestic violence to be at the top of the public agenda? How do we define domestic violence?
Chapter 4: Police response to domestic violence
This chapter will look the treatment and process in police intervention. Why do these victims resort to call the police, whether or not these interventions actually help the victims? We will explore the different factors the victims face in considering outside help, such as the police or social services. These victims are left traumatized after the whole process and understanding how the process can cause secondary victimization? (Adler, 1987). How effective are the police in dealing with domestic violence ordeals? Is police an intervention a positive or negative element for the victim?
Chapter 5: ‘Secondary victimization’ in court
This chapter will examine how the ‘secondary victimization’ affects domestic violence victims within the criminal justice? There will be an understanding on how the staffs treat these victims, whether the victims feel this is a positive or a negative process? The civil and criminal courts will often focus on the offender rather than the victims ordeal, why is this? This chapter will help us understand how beneficial the process can be with regards to the victim. Do victims suffer from ‘secondary victimization’ throughout the court process? Does the criminal justice system deal with the treatment and process of domestic violence victims? Do victims receive impartiality in the process?
Chapter 6: Support from outside the criminal justice system
This chapter will give us an in-depth understanding on the various kinds of support available to the victims outside the criminal justice system. We will explore how numerous organisations such as Women’s Aid and Refuge can impact policies, practices and laws; raise public awareness on the subject of domestic violence and can provide essential services to both women and their offspring? This will help us understand on what measures are in place and how much support is actually being delivered? This could possibly reduce the risk of further abuse and prevent in some cases death. What kind of support is available for domestic violence victims? Are these services readily available for the victims?
This piece of work is a literature review on the subject of domestic violence. In a literature review a writer ‘ extracts and synthesises the main points, issues, findings and research methods which emerge from a critical review of the readings ’ (Nunan, 1992: 217). This approach will provide us with a better and succinct insight into domestic violence. Domestic violence is an area of great sensitivity and it is often difficult to gain ethical approval. One the most ethical elements of this particular study would be the access of the research subjects. Ethical is defined as ‘ connected with beliefs and principles about what is right and wrong’ or ‘ morally correct or acceptable: Is it ethical to promote cigarettes through advertising?’ (Wehmeier et al, 2005: 520). In the context of the study, is the research conducted morally good or in a correct manner? Due to the sensitivity of the research topic area, it can be difficult to secure accurate and reliable sources of information. Its complexity means that it is not that clear-cut to gain answers from the questions asked at respondents. Empirical research demands a lot a time and considerable experience, due to the lack of time a literature review approach seemed adequate. This piece of work will aim to answer various questions on the topic of domestic violence using previous research/literature. This study will aim to provide us with a better understanding on the treatment of domestic violence victims. This piece of paper brings together information from various sources such as newspapers, journal articles, text books and internet sources, along with official government statistics and reports. However, domestic violence is deemed a sensitive area; therefore information gathered by statistics could be biased and may not fully represent the greater population of victims. British Crime Survey is a source which can be beneficial in understanding domestic violence; as the British Crime Survey approximated just around 10 million crimes against adults living in private households, compared to police recorded just fewer than 5 million crimes (Home Office, 2008). This illustrates that government statistics are inconsistent, inaccurate and domestic violence figures could be distorted. These statistics are often based on small incidents gathered by interviewing which probably misrepresented. A study showed that on ‘only some 15 sexual offences’ were accounted for by “nearly 5,500 women” interviewed in 1987 (Mayhew et al, 1989: 8). This shows that this area of research is sensitive and women may not disclose their experiences. The general assumption is that violence against intimate partners involves mostly female victims. In many cases, violent or abusive incidents go unreported due to fear; it is commonly distinguished that women have greater fear of crime than men. It is observed that women find it harder to leave their abusive partners. This could be due the long term attachment to the partner, although they could ‘lack educational and occupational skills needed to support themselves and their children’ (Dobbs, 2002: 1727). The British Crime Survey can be useful in comparing domestic violence to other crimes. Findings from the British Crime Survey (2010/2011) on the ‘Trends in respondent-initiated contact with the police’ have fallen considerably over the years and possibly due to the underreporting of incidents (Home Office, 2011b). Statistics show that there is a rise of incidents reported to the police, this could be due to the confidence in the police to intervene. There are vast amounts of data available from the Home Office but they are often complicated to interpret and examine, this could lead to areas being misrepresented.
This piece of work will use existing research on the topic of domestic violence. However, secondary research collected for other such objectives may not be relevant to the research question at hand. The accuracy of the information can questioned; whether the data collected is from a primary or secondary source? The quality of their methodology and approach in gathering the data is open for question. Therefore, previous literature collected needs to be thoroughly examined for their reliability and relevance. However there are advantages in using secondary sources, these are associated with time and cost. It is stated that secondary research would offer higher quality information than obtained from a new research project (Stewart et al, 1993: 5). When carrying out research the reliability and accuracy of the information will be based on the methodological approach used when compiling the data. The information needs to be thoroughly examined for their validity and authenticity. In many occasions, finding and gathering relevant information on the topic in question can be daunting, the quality and accuracy of the information was analysed. This dissertation experienced some disadvantages when examining the statistics of domestic violence victims, as some figures can be categorised into other crimes or without difficulty misinterpreted. This piece of work examines previous studies on the topic of domestic violence, analysing past research provides a better understanding in tackling the aims and objectives of this dissertation. However, difficulties in finding relevant information on the views and experiences of victims were tiresome. Due to the sensitivity of the research topic area, it can be difficult in securing accurate and reliable sources of information. Its complexity means that it is not that clear-cut to gain answers from the questions asked at victims.
What is Domestic Violence?
This section will engage with the historical elements of domestic violence and explore the emergence of the feminist movement. This chapter will explore the meaning of ‘domestic violence’ providing a better understanding on the subject. We will explore the origins of domestic violence and establish how this isolated matter has become a major concern in society. The objective of this chapter is to understand the legislation and how similar or different it is to other such assaults or abuse. Domestic abuse was a concern of the home and not of anyone else, but now it is a concern of the state. This chapter will find out why domestic violence is a punishable crime in England and Wales. This will provide us with the basic understanding of domestic violence and enable us to explore the various chapters in this study. Domestic violence (DV), spousal abuse, wife beater, domestic incident, and intimate partner violence (IPV) – these groups of terms that are used almost on all occasions, to indicate the same idea. The term ‘domestic’ is something that is warm, relaxing and intimate, it can be understood as ‘a safe haven in a heartless world’ (Lash, 1977). The United Nations (UN) defines ‘violence against women’ as ‘violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman, or violence that affects women disproportionately. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty’ (United Nations, 2006: 15). Domestic violence is a term that should be associated with both male and female - men and women can be both victims and perpetrators. However, in various studies women are seen as the victims of domestic violence. There are various studies that show women are more prone to being abused and seriously injured in domestic violence (Straus et al, 1980; Dobash and Dobash, 1979). The term ‘battered women’ encourages the concern of the victim in question; there is greater empathy towards them. However, if the term ‘violent husband’ were used then there would be more emphasis on the perpetrator. This causes confusion as to who to give due care and where the problem lies (Phal, 1985). Domestic violence is a phenomenon which has long existed in society; however its recognition as a social dilemma is patchy. It is stated, that wife beating could go right back to the dawn of history; when women had less rights than men. The idea that when a man and a committed their vows at church, women seemed to be more devoted and submissive towards their husbands (Martin, 1978). ‘But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve’ (New American Bible, 1995, para 2). Although, the recognition of domestic violence is associated with an era vigorous feminist movements, which has been vital in ‘raising public consciousness about sex role conditioning and how such conditioning can lead to belief systems that justify sexism, male privileges and gender socializing’ (Healey et al, 1998, cited in Hanser 2007: 326). The idea of domestic violence a phenomenon of the home, which is to be kept within the household; an issue that should not be made aware to outsiders. This is extremely prevalent in ethnic minority groups, where by telling others about the abuse may bring shame upon their family – the notion of ‘family honour’ (Shipway, 2004: 47). In the 15th century, it was widely noted in the English common laws that husband has rights over their wife. The husband’s had complete control over their wives daily interactions; giving them the right to punish them if they did anything wrong or disobeyed their husbands. The laws gave the husband’s the right to ‘give his wife a severe beating with whips and clubs’ for disobeying them (Hecker, 2004: 68). Moreover, the wives had no right to hit their husbands. In the eyes of the law, the married couple were seen as ‘one person’; therefore the wife’s legal reality did not come to question (Blackstone, 1966). However, the law which permitted the husband to restrain a wife of her liberty was abolished in 1891 (Hecker, 2007: 71).
In 19th century, domestic violence was a big issue for the women of the time. There was a rise of pressure groups from various women such as Frances Power Cobbe. She gathered numerous data regarding domestic violence in the area of Liverpool; places where high number of abuse and violence towards women. She brought together an article Wife Torture in England 1878, securing Matrimonial Causes Act 1878, ‘the act that let magistrates grant an immediate separation order to a woman whose husband has assaulted her’ (Mitchell, 2004: 2). However, domestic violence was a regular occurrence in the family home; some commentators agreed that it was practised by most men in spite of their social class. It was a phenomenon which was widely accepted socially and legally; still women had little or no support or legal protection from domestic violence (Fletcher, 1999: 196). The issue of domestic violence slowly started to fade away from public attention between 1920 and 1970. The strong vocal feminist movement lost its momentum – possibly due to the Second World War and global and economic turmoil. Although, the domestic violence issue regained interest and was in the public spotlight in 1970. There was a publicity stunt by Erin Pizzey, who set up a women’s refuge and gave shelter and advice to abused women in Chiswick (Nicolson, 2010: 20). By 1974, public attitudes had changed considerably and domestic violence was seen as a major social problem. This was an era which saw the beginnings of women’s refuges and women slowly began to utilise its services and support methods. It was the beginning of the Women’s Aid Federation, who gave awareness to domestic violence as a social problem and supported women’s rights. The idea of domestic violence was influenced by various pressure groups, politicians and even some men. However, in 1974 the Houses of Commons Select Committee on Violence in Marriage was formed creating considerable influence on domestic violence on a governmental scale. Pizzey commented ‘I feel that the remedies lie in the hands of the medical profession and not in the court of law, because the men act instinctively, not rationally’ (Freeman, 1979 cited in Mooney 2000). Pizzey was concerned about the root causes of domestic violence, whereas the government was trying to define and set legislation regarding it. The Women’s National Commission, who was advisory board to the government, provided various notions regarding violence against women. They suggested that more police training should be around domestic violence situations and greater inter-agency liaison; especially with women’s refuges (Women’s National Commission, 1985). Pressure groups on the issue of domestic violence were influencing the government, issuing a Home Office circular 69/1986 which suggested aspects of good practices (Home Office, 1986). This was a major step in reducing domestic violence incidents; giving certain measures to reduce risk to the victims. It was directed at the Chief Officers of Police in England and Wales. Domestic violence happens in society regardless of religion, age, race, gender or social class. We understand there is no certain legislative offence regarding domestic violence situations. The matter of domestic violence is major social problem; in some cases definitions can help us understand what is involved. The government defines domestic violence as "Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality." (Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004). This legislation helps keep consistency, so other government departments and organisation can work towards a common theme. However, the government recently commenced a consultation to expand the definition of domestic violence (BBC News, 2011). This consultation is directed at affected parties in domestic violence such as police, victims or organisation with direct interests in domestic violence. The government wants views on whether the current definition should remain the same or should it be changed. Moreover, there are questions on regarding the definition should include younger victims; those below the age of 18. The legislation on domestic violence is ever-changing; it can be difficult to exemplify. There are various organisations that help in the protection and support of victims of domestic violence. Women’s Aid is a charity that helps more than 250,000 women and children affected by domestic violence situations. Women’s Aid defines domestic violence as ‘ physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. This can include forced marriage and so-called 'honour crimes'. Domestic violence may include a range of abusive behaviours, not all of which are in themselves inherently 'violent’ ’ (Women’s Aid, 2007, para. 1). Domestic violence is a subject area which can be confusing to many people. When it comes to the definition it can often overlap with other offences. Domestic violence occurs within the home by a family member, although it can be presumed that it is the same as assaults against strangers, which can be found in the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861. It is often difficult in determining the stage, at which the domestic incident is at from police records. The police need to be called on numerous occasions for the incident to be taken seriously by the authorities. Therefore, the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 will have little or no effect in resolving domestic situations.
The legislations help in prosecuting those perpetrators who found guilty of various offences. This ensures some protection to women, but only if they come forward and contact the authorities. However, there is no specific criminal offence for domestic violence; it requires numerous actions and behaviours that are deemed inappropriate in the eyes of the law to convict the perpetrator. Domestic violence in England and Wales can involve criminal damage, harassment or even rape – offences which can fall into other legislations. Although, it is important to note that there are some behaviours which may not be illegal – such as emotional abuse. It can be difficult in ascertaining the correct facts and it is not enough evidence to persecute (Shelter, 2011). The issue of domestic violence is a common occurrence. It is estimated that seven per cent of women, which is equivalent to 1.2 million women have experienced domestic abuse in 2010-11 in England and Wales (Home Office, 2012). Other research suggests that ‘three million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, stalking, sexual exploitation and trafficking, female genital mutilation (FGM) or crimes in the name of honour each year ’ (Coy et al, 2008: 4). Over the past years, women have experienced domestic abuse more than men. Overall, 30 per cent of women and 17 per cent of men had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 (Appendix A). Domestic violence is something that is costing the society on average £23 billion per anum. The government costs are about £3.1 billion also £1.3 billion as the cost to employers and human suffering cost of £17 billion (Walby, 2004). However, recent studies suggest domestic violence is costing society ‘over £40 billion a year in England and Wales alone’ (Coy et al, 2008: 4). Domestic violence is a major problem for the government and an even greater threat to society. Domestic violence has found a place in the public agenda, due to its very nature, that it a ‘domestic’ and women are abused behind closed doors. This lack of awareness can make official statistics of domestic violence ambiguous and victims can be misrepresented - ‘dark figure’ of crime. Domestic violence is such a topic; it needs to be understood from various perspectives. Victims of domestic violence were more likely to experience repeat victimisation than victims of other types of crime. Repeat victimisation consists of three quarters (73%) all incidents of domestic violence as measured by the 2010/11 BCS (Appendix B). Domestic violence victims are seen to be vulnerable and they do not go forward to the authorities or seek help form the police. Other crimes such as theft have a low repeat victimisation rate with eight per (8%) cent being victimised (ibid).
Police response to domestic violence
This chapter will explore the treatment and process of police intervention. They are the first point of contact and notably access into the criminal justice. Not only do they provide access but also act as a referral service to other agencies such as refuge, legal, medical and social work. The objective of this chapter is to examine the steps that victims take in order for the police to intervene. This chapter will find out if police intervention has long lasting benefits or is it only for the short haul. These victims are left traumatized after the whole process and understanding how the process can cause ‘secondary victimization’ (Adler, 1987). Secondary victimization is additional victimization after the initial victimization. This could be in the form of blaming the victim, or negative experiences from police officers. This passage will find out the effectiveness of the police in dealing with domestic violence situations. This will provide us incite on whether the police intervention is a positive or negative aspect of the process. ‘One incident is reported to the police every minute and two women around a week are killed by a partner or former partner’ in the UK (House of Commons, 2008). The police can be seen as the first point of contact and in a sense the gatekeeper to the criminal justice system. The police are there to enforce the law and protect individuals and the public collectively. Research conducted by Phal (1985) examined how women tended to go to friends and relatives first, before considering contacting the police. To some victims, the police can be seen as a last resort to any on-going domestic abuse. Women are very cautious about whom they tell; trust is an issue in domestic situations. Therefore, women only contact the police when the violence and abuse is at its severest. A study noted that 55 per cent of the participants contacted the police because they were afraid of their own lives (Bowker, 1982). Domestic violence is a phenomenon which exists within the home. Women experience on-going abuse but in some occasions the violence can get ruthless. At this point, they resort to the police for short-term protection. Research shows, women tend to look for protection from the police for a short-term and long-term prevention from the courts (Lewis et al, 2000). The police often refer to domestic violence situations as ‘domestic disputes’ or ‘domestic disturbances’. A study conducted in Hampshire showed that ‘domestic disputes’ included estimated one tenth of all incidents attended by police officers (Policy Studies Institute, 1987). It can be observed the police are in the spotlight, and may sometimes be criticised thoroughly for their actions. Statistics on domestic violence can be misleading and ambiguous. However, there would be some expectation on the police to have very high standards of record keeping. Domestic violence situations are not often fully recorded; sometimes in cases of injunctions against the perpetrator are not followed up by the police (Metropolitan Police Working Party, 1986). When police officers go on a call, they do not have the full information always, and sometimes they are delayed on an incident by a few minutes. Edwards (1986) found that domestic advice was given to women over the telephone and no record of the call was made in the station message book. Therefore, there may be inconsistency when women contact the police to report a domestic abuse; especially when it comes to the retrieval of that information. The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) Domestic and Sexual Violence Board were set up to monitor, scrutinise and support the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in its performance and response to domestic and sexual violence. On 2008, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, publicised the London Violence Against Women Strategy. This initiative was developed to prevent violence against women in the capital; it also included sexual violence against women on their remit. Domestic Violence Board has become the Domestic and Sexual Violence Board (DVSB). They ensure the MPS work with partnership with agencies dealing with domestic and sexual violence victims, sharing of information and learning each other’s experience to reduce the crime (Metropolitan Police Authority, 2012). However, this has now been recently replaced by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC); this makes the Mayor of London directly accountable to the public for policing performance in the Capital. On 8 March 2010, the MOPC initiated The Way Forward strategy, it work towards putting an end to domestic and sexual violence towards women and support those women and girls out of the violence. Its initial aims are to ‘prevent violence happening in the first place by changing attitudes and beliefs; intervene at an early stage when violence does occur to stop it continuing’ (Greater London Authority, 2010: 10). The government recently introduced the Call to end violence against women and girls: action plan, ‘to ensure that national, regional and local governments in the UK take all steps necessary to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls’ (End Violence Against Women, para. 3). On 8 March 2012, the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May) stated that the new strategy sets out to end the violence with 88 specific actions, ‘including the provision of almost £40 million of earmarked funding for specialist support services’ (Home Office, 2012, para. 6). The effectiveness of the police in dealing with domestic violence ordeals can relate to the response time of the officers. The response time can affect how the domestic situation unfolds and develops; quicker response times allows for a swift prevention of any violence and protection for the victim. Edward (1986) suggested that on most of the ‘domestic disputes’, cars would be sent within five to ten minutes. However, other studies have shown that response take up to an hour (Strategic Policy Unit, 1986). The response time is a criticism for the police in dealing with domestic disputes; however, individual officers believe that the extra delay could allow the problem to be resolved before they attend on the scene. Oppenlander (1982) found that domestic violence incidents took longer response times than non-domestic violence incidents. Officers and radio dispatchers both shared the views that domestic disputes should be seen as less serious and less urgent. In the UK, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was formed in April 2007 to provide unique support to policing. On 2008, the NPIA published a unique Guidance On Investigating Domestic Abuse to ensure police forces are effective in dealing domestic incidents. Its notes the importance taking full details of the domestic incident; police officers call takers, communications room staff and front desk staff need to follow a checklist (National Policing Improvement Agency, 2008: 22). The priority for the call takers is ‘to protect the victims and any other persons at risk, including children and police officers’ (ibid); deploying officer as soon as possible without any delay. Call takers have a set of routine checklist to follow in the case of a domestic incident (National Policing Improvement Agency, 2008: 23). Police intervention could include the arrest of the violent partner and in all cases require quick and good decision-making on behalf of the officers. Although, it is the arrest of the violent partner that could make things worse for the married couple. In a study of 251 domestic violence incidents, ‘just over half the couples in the sample were separated, and separation provided the context in which a number of the incidents occurred’ (Stanley et al, 2009: 3). There should be efforts into bringing the couple together and not separating it. However, if an offence is committed in a domestic incident, arrest would be ‘necessary’ according to Code G of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). This would be under s.24(5) to protect a child or vulnerable person, prevent the suspect causing injury and/or allow for the prompt and effective investigation of the offence. The policy for non-intervention is followed in the United States, where little police intervention is emphasised. Normally, arrests would not be made due to victim’s reluctance to press charges on the perpetrators (Finigan, 2010). These threatened women find it problematic in reporting domestic abuse; as ‘in 2005, 1181 women were murdered by an intimate partner . . . an average of three women every day’ (National Organization for Women, para. 2). Research showed that in 85 per cent of spousal homicides, police had intervened at least once in the previous two years (United States Police Foundation, 1976). In an article, a female police officer was interviewed about her experiences of dealing with domestic violence. She states ‘It’s not possible to completely emotionally disconnect myself when investigating domestic-related allegations that involve a great deal of stress and anxiety which is often endured by victims’ (Neelanjona, 2010, para. 17). The very nature of domestic violence makes it difficult for police officers to deal with. She then speaks “I’m a human being as well at the end of the day but I also have a job to do’ (ibid, para. 18). The police officers have a difficult task in dealing with the situation and victims satisfactions rates could vary. Domestic violence issues could be resolved by other agencies upon referral by the officers, but this happens on the odd occasions. Edwards (1986) notes that police officers lack the knowledge when it comes to referrals to other agencies. The liaison between the police and other agencies such as Women’s Aid was found to be poor. It is widely accepted that, police officers are often under a lot pressure and often mistakes are made due to their diminished health and poor moral (Johnson, 2004). Many police officers may hold that historical view of domestic violence as a private matter and should not be tampered with by outside parties. However, over time society’s views have changed regarding this matter, similarly this goes for the police. When officers intervene or arrest the violent partner they may be criticised for the use of force, but, when they do not intervene they can be accused of encouraging the domestic violence. Although, Garner (2005) stated police officers attitudes are open to change on the basis of the training provided and domestic violence training is essential for all police officers (Logan et al, 2006). Many ethnic minority groups’ women will be reluctant in seeking help from police because the police may carry negative connotations. They may have had previous negative experiences in situations where the police were involved. Study noted that the first step was to build a foundation of trust; ‘building bridges for battered women is an essential part of advocacy, and police can provide battered women with protections we cannot.’ (Huisman et al, 2005)
Police officers regard domestic violence as trivial and do not think it is police work. This could be the reason why victims feel like the police intervention will not work or are reluctant in calling the police. White collar crime is committed in the private sphere just like domestic abuse However, the issue of white collar crime is taken seriously; where the ‘arrest, charge and prosecution is routine’ (Sanders, 1987). A study interviewed 40 young people, survivors and perpetrators of their experiences with professional intervention in domestic violence. Children often feel excluded or ignored by the police in a domestic incident. A young person from the focus group says ‘they listen to the adults more… they don’t want to talk to you’ (Stanley et al, 2009: 3). Although, a specialist police officer notes ‘…kids are our witnesses and our victims. It is important to explain everything to the children; they have a right to know what is happening’ (ibid). It is part of the officer’s role to explain and reassure the children in a domestic incident; normally this would be practical by a female police officer. Police officer need to have outstanding interpersonal skills to deal with such fragile incidents, where emotions and anger are out of place. The police are normally the first line of support and protection when there is violence. With the easy access to the emergency numbers such as 999 or 911, there is immediate response from police. Police officers have the legal power to remove the perpetrator and instantaneous protection for the victim is received. There are some women that a frightened to come forward to the authorities. They are influenced by further abuse by their violent partner if they report to the police. Moreover, if there is children involved then there are concerns about their wellbeing and safety. This type of behaviour is prevalent in ethnic minority groups of women, such as South Asian women. Research conducted by Gill (2004) showed that women notions of honour and shame can contribute to domestic abuse. These ideas can demoralise a woman of their rights, self-determination and independence. Those women that try to challenge these notions – domestic violence is justified. A woman in the interviewed by Gill (2004) notes that ‘It seemed like I could not do anything right. I was always doing something wrong’ (p.470). These women were on a constant cycling of abuse and could not escape from the violence, as they would bring shame on their family. Some women experienced ‘‘living in fear’, ‘getting the beats’, being told that they will ‘be killed’, being told ‘you’re mad’ and being watched’ (Gill, 2004: 471). Although, there has been attempts in changing these silent women, the construction of the Newham Asian Women's Project and Southhall Black Sisters have boosted confidence in women that are suffering in silence. Studies suggest women that have been sexually assaulted as adolescents were more likely to be as adults (Miller et al, 1978). The National Violence Against Women surveyed both men and women regarding their experiences of violent victimization. This research found 18.3 per cent of women that were raped below the age of 18 also stated of being raped as an adult; comparably 8.7 per cent women who did not state before age 18 (Tjaden et al, 2000: 39). Those women who have had experiences of domestic violence or any kind of abuse may be more vulnerable to future domestic abuse. Their assailants may have figured out their victim will not gain help from outside. These women often have flashbacks about their violent abusers and are frightened. However, some women who fail contact the authorities may be involved in some sort of criminal activity with their perpetrator (Felson et al, 2002). Victims of serious sexual violence may suffer from months to years of behavioural and psychological problems, thus delaying reporting to the authorities (Frazier, 2003). These women may suffer from ‘secondary victimization’ as soon as they contact the authorities, for example the police, medical professions or voluntary organisation. These authorities may ask for statements or a picture of what has happened, resulting in the victims left traumatized after the whole process. It is important that all information regarding domestic violence situations are shared between agencies. In order to resolve and reduce the actions of domestic violence, all parties such as police, probation, medical professions or any other organisation or body that had direct links with the domestic situation need to coordinate information accordingly. Domestic violence is often seen as a private matter; nevertheless it should be taken seriously in the public spectrum but this does not mean we use the full force of the criminal law. The police are the ones usually involved with the victims from the initial stages; therefore they would need substantial training relating to domestic violence situations. There are certain women that are terrified in coming forward to the authorities; they would bring shame and embarrassment onto the family. When the community or neighbours notice police cars and officers at their address on a regular basis can cause commotion within assailant. Secondary victimization can be a leading factor in when women request the police, fearing of the worst case scenario and threatening comments of the perpetrator. Police intervention seems to work only for the short term but the court process can be beneficial for the long-term; only when the victim is cooperating. The effectiveness of the police intervention would rely on the substantial training provide to the officers beforehand. As soon as the police are involved it can be a relief for the victim but it may have behavioural and psychological problems. Phal (1985) stated that the victims felt least satisfied with police service, around a third of individuals in the study found the police helpful compared to help from friends, solicitors, medical profession and social services.
‘Secondary victimization’ in court
This chapter will discuss about the whether the court process is often aimed at the offender, rather than the victim. The objectives of the chapter are to examine whether victims suffer from ‘secondary victimization’ from the court process. Brown (1991, cited in Hattendorf et al, 2009: 17) defined secondary victimization as potential sources, and the long-term psychological consequences that result. A recent study by Bell et al, (2011) on Battered Women’s Perceptions of Civil and Criminal Court Helpfulness: The Role of Court Outcome and Process can help shed some light on this vague area. This passage will establish whether the court process and sentencing of the offender has any benefits for the victims. It will explore the ways the criminal justice system deals with victims of domestic violence situations. It will explore the fairness of the court process and is justice actually given to the victims or are they left suffering from secondary victimization. It is believed that the court process in the area of domestic violence is lacking in consistency. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. They advise the police on cases for possible prosecution; review cases submitted by the police; determine any charges in all but minor cases; prepare cases for court and presenting cases at court (Crown Prosecution Service, 2012). Before the establishment of the CPS, decisions on whether to engage in court proceeding was made by the police. A court proceeding is brought forward against the perpetrator will depend on the seriousness of the domestic incident. In many case, victims that receive a verdict are not always fully satisfied by whole criminal justice process. Although, it is believed without the help of the authorities justice may not be served at all. Research suggests that many victims are told their cases are not serious enough to proceed to a court trial (Campbell et al, 1999). This can make the victims feel that they are not important and may suffer from various psychological and posttraumatic stresses. Domestic violence victims suffer from the primary victimization from their violent perpetrator, but secondary victimization could have serious consequences to the criminal justice system. Even if they go through the court process and receive a verdict, negative experiences could lead to deprivation of their confidence and trust for the criminal justice. Campbell (1998, cited in Patterson, 2010) suggests victims of domestic violence rape can suffer from negative experiences from the court process; they suffer from ‘secondary victimization’ and it feels like a ‘second rape’. Victims would believe that court process has not been satisfactory for them and may not resort to it again. Domestic violence victims may find it necessary in proceeding to a court trial if the offence committed is serious enough. They may fear for their security and want to prevent their perpetrator from committing any future offences. If the court verdict is a prison sentence for the perpetrator, then the victim may feel safe and secure from further violence. However, if the sentence is a too short then the victim will be fearful of their perpetrators release date. Therefore, while their perpetrator is in prison for a short term, they will be suffering from stress and trauma, which could equate to ‘secondary victimization’. By means of a court trial it is easily distinguishable who the victim is and who the accused are, if there is a guilty verdict upon the perpetrator then the victims feel like they are deserved victims. This positive experience can increase the victims trust in the legal services and their belief in justice.
The victims of crime would put faith and trust into the criminal justice process, as they would assume to receive justice through the punishment of their perpetrator. Research conducted by mental health practitioners, 81 per cent of the interviewees believed contact from the legal process can be psychologically harmful for rape victims (Campbell & Raja, 1999). The issue of secondary victimization throughout the court process and even long after the trial is concerning. The legal system would want the victims to feel happy, safe and above all feel that justice has been received. But, if the victims are suffering from secondary victimization then this may contradict the main objectives of the legal system. The court process request statements and other evidence from the police investigation and possible further statements from the victim themselves. This can cause negative emotions, leading to the development of a strain and further victimization. The civil and criminal courts may seem offender oriented rather than victim oriented. If the offence committed is not as serious as first thought by the authorities, then they may have to go through civil process. This pathway is only taken when there is no sufficient evidence to file criminal proceedings. The victims may incur financial cost in taking their perpetrator to a civil trial, as they do on their own accord. However, if it is a criminal trial then the state takes the perpetrator to court on behalf of the victim. The issue of secondary victimization may depend on the way the victims are treated in the courtrooms. Research suggests many victims felt positively about their interactions with staff, stating on how “nice,” “friendly,” and “polite” they were. Particularly appreciated was that “they were sincere about it. They went beyond their jobs to be supportive” and that “they cared, they wanted to see it stopped, and they helped me.” (Bell et al, 2011: 78). Victims at a trial will hope that the judge is on their side, whether or not the judge is shows sympathy and is empathetic towards the victim. An individual says, “You think the judge is there to protect you . . . [but my judge] made it seem so unimportant.” (Bell et al, 2011: 79). Although, Blau (1986, cited in Greenberg et al, 2005: 223) stated that fairness is a social norm, which requires an appropriate process for it to work properly. It is vital that the victims feel that they are treated with respect, dignity and are given reassurance in the court proceedings. If they are not treated accordingly, they may feel unsatisfied with the legal profession and the final verdict. Many individuals feel that their violent experience was not taken seriously by the courts, they were “like the criminal” or blamed for the abuse (Bell et al, 2011: 79). This may lead them to a ‘desire to retaliate… [which] may well become an end-in-itself in the pursuit of which people ignore other considerations (ibid). A study conducted by Orth (2002) found that criminal proceedings are frequently a secondary victimization for the crime victims involved. The victims were believed to feel unsatisfied with the legal process and would not trust the criminal justice system in the future. This result suggests that the secondary victimization of criminal proceedings do not depend on these demographic and victimological variables, such as age, gender and seriousness of the offence. The court process is a lengthy and daunting task for the victim; they will possibly suffer from flashbacks of the domestic violence incident. Abused women are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosomatic systems, eating problems and sexual dysfunction. Violence may also affect their reproductive health. (World Health Organisation, 2000) A concern for the courts is that are the court proceedings a positive experience for the victims. Secondary victimization can be reduced by the insuring additional legal and psychological counselling throughout the court proceedings. A woman stated (citied in Bell et al, 2011: 79) going to court “opened my eyes to rights I had and things I could be. There is help out there.” The victims should receive the correct legal language for them to understand what is going on in the trials. Psychological counselling can ensure that they are made aware of the processes involved of the court proceedings and reduce the chances of secondary victimization (Bennett et al, 1999). Domestic violence victims are suffering from their perpetrator; they need support and appropriate direction towards justice. However, a woman who is married may have feelings for their perpetrator husband. In such cases, the woman may be reluctant in cooperating with the courts and it is difficult in proceeding with a verdict. Secondary victimization is greatly increased through the court process, compared to the police intervention part which has a short effect. The police are seen as protecting the victim from an offence in progress. The victims may suffer a short term secondary victimization, as the police officers may take a statement of the domestic incident. However, a court process is deemed to be a lengthy process, therefore the victims are exposed to increased secondary victimization. A longitudinal study, which interviewed 376 women using a single one-to-five Likert-type scale item asking whether they had gotten what they wanted from their experiences at court, 43% of women rated their experiences as a “5,” indicating they had very much gotten what they wanted (Bell et al, 2011). This would be related to whether the victims found the verdict desirable or if the court staff and process treated them with respect and dignity. The outcome of the court process would be an important factor to the victims, 55% provided a rating of 5, indicating they found the court very fair (ibid). The area of domestic violence is an important issue for the criminal justice system, although victim satisfaction is a key element of the process. It is important to note that secondary victimization has a greater impact at the court proceedings stage. The impartiality, positive experiences and the beneficial outcome of the process will depend on issue of secondary victimization.
Support from outside the criminal justice system
In this chapter will give us an in-depth understanding on the various kinds of support available to the victims outside the criminal justice system. We will explore how numerous organisations such as Women’s Aid and Refuge can impact policies, practices and laws; raise public awareness on the subject of domestic violence and can provide essential services to both women and their offspring. This passage will explore the various channels, such as friends, family and medical professions to determine victim’s satisfaction levels. This will help us understand on what measures are in place and how much support is actually being delivered. This could possibly reduce the risk of further abuse and avoid potential deaths. Research suggests women are reluctant to gain outside help after their violent experience (Gill, 2004; Dobash and Dobash; Phal 1985). Many women from the black minority ethnic (BME) groups are unable to call for assistance due to the idea of izzat (honour) or sharram (shame). Some women may think they will be blamed for not being a desirable wife by their family and friends. Some women experienced ‘‘living in fear’, ‘getting the beats’, being told that they will ‘be killed’, being told ‘you’re mad’ and being watched’ (Gill, 2004: 471). These women can suffer from secondary victimization through not being able to call for assistance. The threats made by their friends and family; not to go forward to the authorities as it will look bad on their family or community. Dobash et al (1985, cited in Phal, 1985) found it was prevalent for women to seek help from their families and friends; only when the violence becomes severe do they turn to the formal agencies.
Women will tend to seek help from a close member of the family that they trust; often this can be a sister or a mother (Phal, 1985). However, studies show that 93 per cent of women interviewed stated friends were more helpful than family members (ibid). Dobash and Dobash (1979) suggest there was a considerable difference between close neighbours and just neighbours. It is believed that neighbours that were not friends were reluctant to intervene when violence erupted and was unsupportive in providing statements to the police (ibid). The medical profession would be the first formal agency that women often seek help from. The reasons being could be due to the confidentially between patients and doctors. Studies by Dobash and Dobash (1979) unveiled that out of 109 women from a refuge, four fifths had contacted a doctor at any time but only for 3 per cent of their violent experience. Phal (1985) interviewed around 50 women of which two thirds had contacted their doctor about the abuse in their marriage. These women may face difficulties in disclosing their violent experience to the doctors. However, having the courage and even visiting the doctor can be a frightening experience. Some women have further threats of violence made at them if they are caught visiting the doctors. Dobash and Dobash (1979) noted that only a quarter of women consulted their doctors and discussed their violent marriage and spousal abuse. Many women would hide the truth or implied that something was wrong, hoping that their doctor would bring the matter out in the open. However, doctors may not want to interfere in martial problems, but rather focus on their traditional values of treating injuries and illnesses. Studies suggest that detection rates for victims of domestic violence by doctors in Emergency Departments were very low, ranging from 4 to 16 per cent (Stark et al. 1981; Goldberg & Tomlanovich 1984; Roberts 1994, cited in Gwenneth et al, 1994). The lack of training and education of the medical profession can contribute to further domestic violence incidents. These women can suffer from secondary victimization through lack of awareness of the medical profession about signs of domestic abuse in patients. The medical profession can be a crucial element for domestic violence victims, as stated, it is the first formal agency that women seek help from. The medical profession can keep detailed records of injuries that the women faced; this can be useful as evidence in a court trial. The social service of the local authority are not sought out by women as much due to them not having a clear role of assistance to victims (Dobash and Dobash, 1979). It is believed that only three quarters of the sample of women contacted social workers during their violent experience (ibid). A study showed that nothing was initially done to help the victims, but rather a focus was on the child welfare (Maynard, 1985). Phal (1979) found that social workers were more widespread at women’s refuges. The role of the social worker is to provide people with advice and emotional support and arrange care services to help people (Nextstep). Dobash and Dobash (1979) found that social workers were eager to help or suggested separation only when the children were in danger of violence or harm. Women tend to make assumptions that social workers can only make things worse; family cohesion maybe lost and children will be in danger. These women will assume that contacting the social workers may bring shame onto the family. This idea further links in with izzat (honour) or sharram (shame) within BME groups, this notion can cause secondary victimization. However, social workers are well equipped with interpersonal skills and are more understanding compared to the police or any other agencies.
Women’s refuge such as Women’s Aid Federation (commonly known as Women’s Aid), Shelter and Refuge seem to be successful in offering support for domestic violence victims. Women found living at the refuge a positive experience and valued the service they provided (Binney et al, 1985, cited in Phal, 1985). Women’s Aid is a charity that helps around 250,000 women and children each year. Women's Aid grew out of the women's liberation movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. They work focuses on ending violence against women and children; supporting 500 domestic and sexual services across the UK. They offer protection by influencing laws, policy and practice and working in partnership with key national and local agencies. They can help prevent domestic violence by raising public awareness and developing education programmes such as The Hide Out Campaign. These refuges offer services needed to help abused women and children such as the National Domestic Violence Helpline. (Women’s Aid, 2012). Women’s refuges are cheaper and a better form of accommodation for the battered women (Binney et al 1985, cited in Phal, 1985). These services are run on a voluntary basis and often lack in funding to work to its full potential. It is believed that women from minority groups may suffer from institutional and personal racism (Mama, 1996, cited in Hague et al, 2003). Many women from BME groups feel isolated; they are fully unaware of their options due to the cultural and language barriers. These barriers can cause elements of secondary victimization through unsatisfactory and discriminatory factors of the service. These organisations are viewed in a positive tone; a study found that 81 per cent of women surveyed in Scotland had noted Women’s Aid to be helpful, with regards to supportive attitudes of staff (Henderson, 1997, cited in Hague et al, 2003). The rise of specialist projects plays a major role in helping domestic victims from BME groups such as the Ashiana Network. The Ashiana women’s refuge is a charitable organisation located in London – also includes within its formal aims:
‘To empower South Asian, Turkish and Iranian women who are experiencing domestic violence with culturally sensitive advice, support and safe housing - enabling them to make positive and appropriate choices for themselves.’
These refuges are vital for abused women from BME groups; they may not be able to seek help from friends or family due to izzat (honour) or sharram (shame). These shelters help abused women to escape the violent home and enter a safe environment. Moreover, the Southall Black Sisters, a not-for-profit, secular and inclusive organization, was established in 1979 to meet the needs of Black (Asian and African-Caribbean) women. These kinds of organizations can tackle those women living in silence and in fear of their violent partner. These specific services can prevent and lessen the cause of secondary victimization through counseling and self-help support services in several community languages, especially South Asian languages (Southhall Black Sisters, 2012).It is really difficult for women to seek help outside the criminal justice. There are many barriers for BME groups such as bringing shame onto the family if they go seeking for help. These women fear further violence may occur after seeking help or violence on children. Many women turn to the medical profession for help, but they know little about martial abuse. Social workers have exceptional interpersonal skills and have awareness in family matters but women are reluctant in seeking assistance from them. Social workers are focused on child welfare and not concerned about the domestic abuse element. Many of the refuges are run on a voluntary basis and more government funding will enhance their scope of tacking domestic violence. Secondary victimization could be suffered by neglect by individuals of the family and by social services.
This study has provided an in-depth understanding into the definition of domestic violence. For numerous years, domestic violence has been regarded as a private matter, and not of public concern. The notion of tackling domestic violence was influenced by various pressure groups, politicians and even some men. Vigorous ‘mass media brought feminism to millions of women who otherwise might never have been connected to the movement at all’ (Bradley, 2007: 4). Many women have suffered and are suffering in silence, telling others about the abuse may bring shame upon their family – the notion of ‘family honour’ (Shipway, 2004: 47). Women’s Aid Federation, who gave awareness to domestic violence as a social problem and supported women’s rights. Domestic violence happens in society regardless of religion, race, gender or social class. This piece of work explored the treatment and process of domestic violence from the victims’ point of view. It has given an overview on how women feel about the process, legitimacy and handling by the public services such as police and civil and crown courts. The police are seen to be the first point of contact and in a sense the gatekeeper to the criminal justice system. Bowker (1982) stated that 55 per cent of the participants contacted the police because they were frightened of their own lives. The response time was a major criticism for the police in dealing with domestic disputes; however, individual officers believe that the extra delay could allow the problem to be resolved before they attend on the scene. Police officers regard domestic violence as trivial and do not think it is police work. However, to the abused women the police are the first formal protection they can turn to for a short period – when there is a sudden burst of violence. Secondary victimization would be visible when victims request the police, fearing of the worst case scenario and threatening comments of the perpetrator. Police intervention seems to work only for the short term but the court process can be beneficial for the long-term; only when the victim is cooperating. The effectiveness of the police intervention would rely on the substantial training provide to the officers beforehand. As soon as the police are involved it can be a relief for the victim but it may have behavioural and psychological problems. Phal (1985) stated that the victims felt least satisfied with police service, around a third of individuals in the study found the police helpful compared to help from friends, solicitors, medical profession and social services. Victims of serious sexual violence may suffer from months to years of behavioural and psychological problems, thus delaying reporting to the authorities (Frazier, 2003). These authorities may ask for statements or a picture of what has happened, resulting in the victims left traumatized after the whole process – secondary victimization. Secondary victimization is greatly increased through the court process, compared to the police intervention part which has a short effect. The police are seen as protecting the victim from an offence in progress. The victims may suffer a short term secondary victimization, as the police officers may take a statement of the domestic incident. However, a court process is deemed to be a lengthy process, therefore the victims are exposed to increased secondary victimization. Many victims suffer from flashbacks of the domestic violence incident. Research conducted by mental health practitioners, 81 per cent of the interviewees believed contact from the legal process can be psychologically harmful for rape victims (Campbell & Raja, 1999). Even if they go through the court process and receive a verdict, negative experiences could lead to deprivation of their confidence and trust for the criminal justice. The courts require the victims to cooperate with them in the criminal proceedings. Conversely, the courts should provide sufficient legal and psychological counselling to prevent the secondary victimization. This paper established some reasons why women fear to report abuse to authorities. To some victims, the police can be seen as a last resort to any on-going domestic abuse. Women are very cautious about whom they tell; trust is an issue in domestic situations. There are many women that have been in a long-term relationship with their spouses and are reluctant in pursuing legal actions. They fear of further violence by their violent partner if they report to the police. Moreover, if there is children involved then there are concerns about their wellbeing and safety if they contact a social worker. Some women experienced ‘‘living in fear’, ‘getting the beats’, being told that they will ‘be killed’, being told ‘you’re mad’ and being watched’ (Gill, 2004: 471). Many women from ethnic minority groups are concerned with the notion of izzat (honour) or sharram (shame). These are the women that are suffering in silence; this connotation can be a sign of secondary victimization within women. This study has examined the availability of support on domestic violence victims. Firstly, Women’s Aid Federation, who gave awareness to domestic violence as a social problem and supported women’s rights, has had considerable impact. Women’s Aid is a charity that helps more than 250,000 women and children affected by domestic violence situations. They offer protection by influencing laws, policy and practice and working in partnership with key national and local agencies. They can help prevent domestic violence by raising public awareness and developing education programmes such as The Hide Out Campaign. These organisations provide a platform in which women can amplify their voices, and share their experiences with other; it is crucial in the fight to prevent domestic violence. These services do far greater than provide accommodation but can provide a stage to counteract secondary victimization. The specialist projects such as Ashiana plays a vital role in tackling domestic violence within ethnic minority groups. These services can reduce the possible implication of violence gained through the idea of izzat (honour) or sharram (shame). Southall Black Sisters is another organisation that has profound impact within the ethnic minority groups. Secondly, many women will turn to the medical profession for help when abused by their partners. However, having the courage and even visiting the doctor can be a frightening experience. Some women have further threats of violence made at them if they are caught visiting the doctors. These women can suffer from secondary victimization through lack of awareness of the medical profession about signs of domestic abuse in patients. The medical profession can be a crucial element for domestic violence victims, as stated, it is the first formal agency that women seek help from. The medical profession can keep detailed records of injuries that the women faced; this can be useful as evidence in a court trial. Thirdly, Dobash et al (1985, cited in Phal, 1985) found it was prevalent for women to seek help from their families and friends; only when the violence becomes severe do they turn to the formal agencies. Victims sought help from friends more than family members. It was often those they could trust and would not go around telling others about their issues. Moreover, social workers were least sought due to the label that they will prevent family cohesion and propose a break-up in the relationship. These women believed that social workers focused more on child welfare and not on their needs. Domestic violence is not only a criminal problem, but that is a greater social concern. The criminal justice system has to treat domestic violence as serious as other crimes and not suggest that it is a private domestic matter. This can produce greater public awareness and trigger other agencies to be concerned and work together efficiently in preventing domestic violence. Awareness can create confusion; therefore training is needed on all parties involved with domestic violence victims, especially the police and medical professionals. Secondary victimization is visible throughout all levels but it is prevalent in the court process. The victims should receive the correct legal language for them to understand what is going on in the trials. Psychological counselling can ensure that they are made aware of the processes involved of the court proceedings and reduce the chances of secondary victimization (Bennett et al, 1999).
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9. APPENDIX A
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Source: Home Office, 2012: 87 (Figure 3.1)
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Source: Home Office, 2011a: 37 (Figure 2.7)
- Quote paper
- Abul Ekram (Author), 2012, Do Victims of Domestic Violence Suffer from Secondary Victimization? An Exploration Into the Causes, Processes and Treatments, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/452318