Family Violence in Recent Years Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The research indicates that domestic violence has a negative impact on each of these areas.

One of the prominent concerns concerning domestic violence is the megative impact that it has on children. According to Stenberg (2006)

"In the first decade of research on family violence, many researchers documented that victims of physical child abuse were frequently characterized by behavior problems and psychiatric symptoms…More recently, researchers have also emphasized the risks associated with exposure to spousal or partner violence. Children are often exposed to multiple types of family violence…because marital violence and child physical abuse frequently co-occur. Hughes (1988) found that children who were both witnesses (of spouse abuse) and victims (of child abuse) had the most externalizing behavior problems, while children who were neither victims nor witnesses had the fewest such problems, and children who were witnesses but not victims had intermediate scores."

In addition to the negative effects of domestic violence there are some positive outcomes. One of the positive outcomes is that this type of deviant behavior has been the subject of a great deal of research. This research aids Psychologists and sociologists in understanding why domestic violence occurs and what can be done to prevent it from occurring. In addition this research indicates that family violence creates a certain type ofpsychology unique to its victims. Such understanding has been responsible for such theories as battered wife syndrome. This is a syndrome associated with women who have been abused at by their husbands. This syndrome is characterized by "a symptom complex of physical and psychologic abuse of a woman by her husband. Although it may occur in up to 10% of Canadian women, it largely goes unrecognized. Such women often present with vague somatic complaints, such as headache, insomnia and abdominal pain. Thus, the diagnosis can usually only be made by asking nonthreatening open-ended questions. Most women remain with their husbands because they are afraid of them. Hence, successful treatment usually depends on the woman's leaving her husband and obtaining help in the development of a new self-concept (Swanson, 1984)."

As a result of these studies, laws have been developed that take into consideration the psychological issues that arise as a result of domestic violence. For instance, in some places in both Canada and the United States a spouse will be charged with domestic violence even if the victim does not want to press charges. It became evident many years ago that some victims would refuse to press charges because they believed that they would not be victimized again or because they believed that the violence would get worse.

Society's Response to Family Violence

One of the main ways that society has reacted to family violence is the creation of laws to protect victims and punish offenders (Huss et al., 2006). These laws are designed to deter domestic violence from occurring and ensuring that if it does occur the victims have advocates in the legal system.

For the past few decades great efforts have been made to address the issue of Domestic violence to the forefront. One of the main problems with domestic violence is the inability of people to escape the violence. For this reason communities have created safe houses that allow victims to escape abusive relationships.

Sociological Theories on Family Violence

As with theories concerning deviant behavior and domestic violence, sociological theories concerning family violence can also be difficult to define. For the purposes of this discussion we will focus on the sociological theories of Control theory and Resource theory. As it pertains to control theory, instead of explaining why some people participate in the deviant behavior of domestic violence, this theory explains why people do not engage in this activity (Loseke 2005). According to Loseke et al. (2005) theoretically it is believed that people are controlled by the bond that they have with other people, to social establishments and the fear of punishment. Since this is the case men who have strong bonds to and who fear negative sanctions from significant others are less likely to abuse their wives than are men who do not have similar bonds. In addition the threat of arrest serves as a control and prevents men with the aforementioned attachments from becoming batterers.

So then the control theory asserts that those who do not engage in family violence abstain from doing so because they have meaningful connections to their families that they do not want to compromise. In addition these individuals have connections to their communities and jobs that would left vulnerable if they engaged in any type of battery. Non-offenders also seem to understand the stigma related to domestic violence and do not want to be associated with such a situation. All of these factors help to deter certain people from becoming family violence offenders.

The Resource theory asserts that there is a relationship between income and the probability that a person will become a batterer. This theory suggests that violence is a resource that is used by the batterer to resolve problems or conflicts. This resource is used when all other resources have been exhausted. For instance parents who are economically advantaged can punish their children by taking material possessions from then. However, parents that come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds cannot punish their children in this manner because their children do not have any material possessions to give away (Loseke 2005). As a result physical punishment becomes the alternative of last resort. This can in turn lead to domestic violence being a more prominent problem amongst those with lower incomes. The author also asserts that "men with high income and social standing have a variety of resources by which to control their wives; men without such resources might more quickly turn to physical force (Loseke 2005, 43)."

Both of these theories provide logical explanation for family violence as a deviant behavior. As it pertains to the control theory people who are not attached to their families or communities seem to be more likely to become deviant in the manner of domestic violence. In addition the resource theory asserts that economically disadvantage people are more vulnerable to family violence because they have fewer resources with which to resolve conflict.


The purpose of this discussion was to explore several issues related to the subject of family violence. We explore the ways in which family violence fails to conform to societal norms. The research suggests that family violence is outside of the established norms of society because of the discord a turmoil that it causes.

The research also focused on why people or groups engage in deviant behavior, How deviants view their behavior, the Positive and Negative Impact of Family Violence deviancy on Society, Society's Response to Family Violence and Sociological Theories on Family Violence.

The investigation found that many of the people that are offenders engage in the behavior because they were victims of domestic abuse themselves. Some deviants are truly remorseful for their actions while other are narcissistic and remain violent even after jail time and interventions. The research also indicates that there are positive and negative outcomes associated with family violence. Negative outcomes are associated with the manner in which children who observe or are victimized by this abuse are often afflicted by social problems and antisocial behaviors. Society has responded to family violence with the development of laws and social programs designed to deter he behavior and provide safe havens for victims. Finally the research indicates that there are two sociological theories that can be used to define family violence. These theories are Control theory and Resource theory. Control theory identifies why people do not commit domestic violence. According to this theory, people who have strong relationships with their families and communities are less likely to be family violence offenders. The resource theory asserts that those with fewer resources are more likely to commit crime because they do not always have the resources needed to avoid or resolve conflicts. Overall the research explore some complex issues associated with family violence and the manner in which society deals with this deviant behavior.

Works cited

"Family Violence." Retrieved November 2, 2009 from;

Huss, M.T., Covell, C.N., & Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (2006). Clinical implications for the assessment and treatment of antisocial and psychopathic domestic violence perpetrators. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma, 13, 61-87.

Loseke, D.R. Gelles, R.J. Cavanaugh, M.M. (2007) Current controversies on family violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Mears, D.P., Carlson, M.J., Holden, G.W., & Harris, S.D. (2001). Reducing domestic violence revictimization: The effects of individual and contextual factors and type of legal intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, 1260?1283.

Murrell a.R., & Christoff K.A Henning, K.R. (2007) Characteristics of Domestic Violence Offenders: Associations with Childhood Exposure to Violence. Journal of Family Violence. 22, (7); 523-532

Norwood, W.D. Jouriles, E.N., McDonald, R.and Swank, P.R. (2004) Domestic Violence and Deviant Behavior. Retrieved November 2, 2009 from;

Sartin R.M., Hansen D.J., Huss M.T. (2006) Domestic violence treatment response and recidivism: A review and implications…

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