About Domestic Violence
Disagreeing about things is a normal part of a healthy, intimate relationship. All parties should be able to put forward their different points of view or concerns and feel comfortable discussing them together.
In a healthy relationship, parties treat each other as equals and are prepared to make compromises in order to find solutions to overcome their problems. However, in a relationship where domestic or family violence is prevalent, the situation is very different. One person in the relationship uses abuse, violence and or manipulation, to control the other through fear. The victim (the abused) feels threatened, and is usually too frightened to argue back, disagree or express their opinion. The abuser holds power over the abused.
In the majority of cases of domestic and family violence, the victims identify as female. Domestic violence, therefore, is primarily a gender issue and should be understood within the context of social structure and inequality between men and women (including gender diverse), rather than from the dynamics of individual relationships. Male violence towards women can arise from the intrinsic patriarchal norms of our society which promote male superiority over women and that it is the innate masculine right to dominate.
Although some say that “It takes two to tango”, and believe that abuse in relationships is caused by both parties, the reality is that mutual abuse is uncommon. A violent ‘fight’ in a relationship where both people share equal power is rare. Violence that involves control and domination by one party over another is significantly more common.
Women Abusing Men and Same Sex Abuse
There is a small percentage of heterosexual relationships in which women use violence to gain power or control over their male or same sex partners. For the ‘male’ and ‘same sex attracted’ victims of domestic violence, accessing support can often be inhibited by embarrassment or feeling that services are not geared towards them. This often leaves these people in situations of abuse feeling alone and unsupported. HST offers non-judgmental counselling support and referral for all clients experiencing this type of domestic violence.
Impact of Domestic Violence (DV) on Children
Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence grow up in an environment that is unpredictable, tense and fearful. This can lead to considerable emotional and psychological trauma, very similar to that experienced by children who are victims of child abuse. Instead of growing up in an emotionally and physically safe, secure, nurturing and predictable environment, these children find themselves worrying about the future: trying to predict when violence might happen next and how to protect themselves and their siblings. Often getting safely through each day is their main objective, so there is little time left for fun, relaxation or planning positively for the future.
The behavioural and emotional impact of domestic and family violence usually decreases when children and their mothers (or fathers, carers) find a safe place where violence does not occur and where they receive support and specialist counselling.
Apart from the emotional, physical, social and behavioural damage children suffer, statistics show that domestic violence can also become a learned behaviour. This means that children can grow up to think it is okay to use violence to get what they want, and as adults that it is okay for there to be violence in their relationships.
Children are not unlike adults when it comes to family breakdown; however children are often left to deal with its emotional scaring on their own.
For the healthy development of a child as well as their future relationships throughout life, it is essential that children receive the necessary support to make sense and process family breakdown. Often the parents are focused on their relationship breakdown and are going through their own personal stages of grieving, yet the child may ‘hide their emotions’ or ‘act out’. A child can sense emotions from a parent and any attempts to mask negative emotions will only teach your child to hide their emotions. A child not addressing domestic violence and other family breakdown appropriately can negatively impact on their thoughts and behaviours throughout their future life.
How Can Dave Wells Counselling Help?
Dave Wells Counselling provides support and referral for men and women (including gender diverse) who are victims or perpetrators of domestic and family violence. Clients may have been abused by, or abused, their partner, son, daughter, brother, sister, other family member, or same sex partner.
Dave Wells supports clients from a psychological perspective that explores the client’s background and current thought processes. This approach enables clients to be listened to without judgement, to explore their issues and make personal decisions, and to develop a safety plan.
Due to the complex nature of domestic violence and its associated safety issues, it is essential that a collaborative approach with specialist domestic violence services is taken to ensure the well-being of the client. Dave Wells can work in unison with these services or as a source of referral.