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Family Violence - Essay Example

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The incidence of family violence has risen to epidemic proportions in America over the past several decades. The scope of this paper is to identify some of the patterns associated with the issue and offer ideas regarding strategies that would help mitigate the rate at which innocent victims suffer violence from a member of their own household…
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Family Violence
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Download file to see previous pages As the causes of family violence are understood, there are effective methods that society can employ to reduce the frequency of this horrific behavior.
Patterns. There are many patterns relevant to family violence which have been identified by health and law enforcement officials. The first of these is the patterns associated with cause. It should be stressed that seeking a simple, single identifying cause is not the correct approach. In fact, "one-dimensional accounts of cause and effect are manifestly inadequate" (Shipway 4). One of the many causes for family violence is the fact that it can be a learned behavior. It is common knowledge that children who grow up in abusive environments have a much higher likelihood of becoming abusers themselves when compared to those children who have been raised in non-violent homes. There is also the matter of individual deviant behavior. Sometimes, regardless of an individual's history, they turn violent and are unable to control their impulses.
There are also behavioral patterns associated with family violence. One major pattern in this category is that of substance abuse. Whether they are over-consuming alcohol or using street drugs, individuals who abuse these substances tend to be involved in family violence incidents more frequently. Another behavioral pattern is that of rage, or "acting out." For whatever reason, when these people are under stress, they tend to strike out violently. The most frequent recipient of this violence is a family member.
There are two victim response patterns that are particularly noteworthy. The first is the tendency to react to violence with violence. In many cases, an abuser will initiate an act of violence against a family member, only to have that person turn violent themselves. Many a drunken husband has found that a wife with a frying pan can be a formidable opponent. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the victim response of total passivity. In this pattern, the victim never stands up for themselves and just takes whatever abuse the violent party wants to subject them to.
Strategies. Once the patterns are identified, there are some strategies that can be implemented which will address and help resolve the problem. In terms of social policy, there is the need to address the issues of negative learned behavior, provide behavioral modification tools for the individual actors, and ensure the protection of the victims. It is important that there be a multi-agency approach to these solutions. For example, instead of simply relying on law enforcement to battle the criminal aspect of family violence, social services should respond by "setting up treatment centers for the violators, offering them aggression management therapy, and at the same time supporting the women through assertiveness training and therapy" (Shipway 15). As education is provided so that the pattern of learned violence is addressed, therapy could be included so that effective behavior modification could supplement that education. These two strategic efforts, combined with law enforcement's protection of the victims or removal of the abuser from the family environment, present a combination of methods that, when taken together, are more effective than each one standing alone.
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