What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that one intimate partner or spouse exerts over another as a means of control. Domestic violence may include physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, and emotional, sexual or economic abuse. Frequently, perpetrators use the children to manipulate victims: by harming or abducting the children; by threatening to harm or abduct the children; by forcing the children to participate in abuse of the victim; by using visitation as an occasion to harass or monitor victims; or by fighting protracted custody battles (See, e.g., Kim v. Kim, 1989) to punish victims. Perpetrators often invent complex rules about what victims or the children can or cannot do, and force victims to abide by these frequently changing rules.
Domestic violence is not defined solely by specific physical acts, but by a combination of psychological, social and familial factors. In some families, perpetrators of domestic violence may routinely beat their spouses until they require medical attention. In other families, the physical violence may have occurred in the past; perpetrators may currently exert power and control over their partners simply by looking at them a certain way or reminding them of prior episodes. In still other families, the violence may be sporadic, but may have the effect of controlling the abused partner. Dr. Mary Ann Dutton, a leading clinical psychologist, defines domestic violence as a pattern of interaction in which one intimate partner is forced to change his or her behavior in response to the threats or abuse of the other partner. (Dutton, 1994)
Cause of Domestic Violence
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