Domestic Abuse

A Case Study about Domestic Abuse & Protection Laws in UK

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Introduction to Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse or violence is a form or pattern of behaviour that involves physical, mental, emotional or social abuse by one person against another person. Domestic violence involves physical abuse such as acid throwing, marital rape, sexual assaults, bride burning, honour killing, and dowry deaths. The chance of domestic violence increases when abuser thinks that abuse is acceptable and justified in all sense and it will not be reported to any member of the family. Awareness, reporting of domestic abuse, documentation and perceptions related to violence is different for all the countries.

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As a result of physical, mental and emotional abuse, the victim is likely to experience physical trauma, acute and chronic health issues, mental instability, financial crises and low ability to maintain healthy relationships. If children reside in house where domestic violence happens, then they are likely to suffer from physiological problems at the initial stages of life such as aggressive and arrogant behaviour and indecency. Domestic violence is very common in child marriage and forced marriages.This essay will focus on different theories which results in domestic abuse at early and later stages of life. It also includes historical developments and variables concerning domestic violence.

Exploring theories to explain the cause of domestic violence

Several theories such as rational choice theories and biological theories have emerged in recent times which specifies a bidirectional link between domestic violence and criminal behaviour exerted in families related to domestic violence have emerged in the recent times. All the theories are based on individual perception and psychology, family dysfunction as well as behavioural changes in family members. Biological theory suggest that the behaviour which caused domestic violence by Paul is due to his biology because he has been living alone due to his parents separation. He do not like if Debbie visits her parents home.

Rights theories

Historically, all the theories related to domestic violence are based on the fact that physical, mental, emotional, economic or social abuse is private and family concern, hence legal authorities and legislations should not be imposed to control domestic violence.

Violence against Men and Women Explanations

Although, cases of domestic violence against women in UK is reported less than compared to violence against men, still cases of female abuse are treated very harshly by legal judiciary systems of UK. Physical, sexual and emotional harassment against women is not only considered as a domestic violence but it is also regarded as discrimination against women in the society. In this case, Paul has been violating Debbie both verbally and physically but she cannot complain to police due to the fear of increased violence on her. Police assumes that violence by women on her male partner is not very dangerous and do not require any criminal or law assistance. However, the criminal behaviour shown by female has been ignored in criminology. In Paul and Debbie's case if she commits domestic violence against Paul it will considered as insignificant due to gender inequality

Gender Inequality and Gender norms

The case of Debbie and Paul is gender biased because Debbie do not have any appropriate qualification and she works in a super market. On other hand Paul is employed in a chip chop shop so he considers himself superior to Debbie in all aspects which leads to gender inequality A hierarchy of powerful masculinity and weak femininity has been established by the society that supports sexual violence. Dixon and Robb, 2015 has suggested that Debbie should be provided with security against her partner as she is physically mentally and emotionally abused. However sociological theories and studies suggest that there is domestic abuse has a link with poverty and financial insufficiency in any family. Earlier Paul readily paid all the house bills and expenses but soon after sometime his behaviour changed and he stopped paying al the bills. Gender inequality norms should be changed to contribute towards prevention of different types of abuse against women at social, cultural and economic levels.

Power and Control Explanations

Paul also wants to control every activity going in and out of Debbie's life. He do not allow Debbie to meet her parents because he thinks her parents will be influential and against him. He only want Debbie to stay at home and take care of their three children. Eshelman and Levendosky, 2012 has suggested that power and control is broadly explained through gender role theory in case of Debbie and Paul. Women are always expected to be submissive to their partners and males always want to be aggressors who can control their wives in any way they want. This leads to dominance and dictatorship in a relationship which is also one of the reasons for increasing domestic violence.

Paul's Behavioural Pattern in an Abusive Relationship

Domestic abuse by an abuser is usually caused to gain power and control over other partner in a marriage or in a relationship. These are discussed below.


Paul blame Debbie for everything that happens in his home. He scolds her and says she is useless mother. Earlier, when Debbie and Paul started living together, Paul used to pay all the rents and bills but soon his behaviour changed and he stopped caring about Debbie. Debbie is always blamed for everything that takes place in the house. She is responsible for all the ill behaviour which is exerted by Paul everyday. This behaviour of Paul seems to be very abusive and unusual to Debbie which creates mental stress in her life.


He does not think about the impact and result of domestic abuse against Debbie. Due to this behaviour of Paul, Debbie is worried about her children (Stanley and, 2015). This impulsive nature of Paul has created a sense of fear in Debbie and their children which can have a negative impact on mental and physical health.

Physical Abuse

Paul has also abused Debbie physically by hitting her several times. He does not abuse her in front of their children but all the three children, Mary, John and Mandy have noticed scars and bruises on their mother's body. After seeing the signs of physical abuse, John has started being more protective about his mother. Mary does not wish to stay at home and she remains out of the house very often. This unusual behaviour of Paul has created a sense of disturbance and mutual incompatibilities in their married life. Children are suffering because of this behaviour of their father. Mary do not like to stay home as she always notices their parents having arguments over small issues.

Emotional Violence

Due to abusive relationship of Paul and Debbie, She has also started feeling emotional trauma because of Paul. Emotional violence by Paul can cause mental and emotional instability in Debbie. This further develops in depression and mental trauma. Further, she has also developed the habit of drinking heavily. Because of excessive intake of alcohol, Debbie is unable to wake up early in the morning for her job. She is now growing emotionally weak and often cries very easily. Debbie also states that she misses her job because she cannot wake up early in morning due to alcohol effects.

Impact of Domestic abuse on Debbie and her Children

Painful visual images, hearing of unusual sounds and experiencing different forms of physical abuse can lead to severe impact on both parents and children. These subjects of various abuses are responsible enough to develop mental instability in a child's mind. In this section we will address the impact of domestic abuse on Debbie and her three children at emotional level. The consequences of domestic violence also affects parenting and safeguarding of children.

Impact of Domestic abuse on Debbie and her Children at Emotional Level

All the three children Mary, John and Mandy are exposed to their mother's domestic abuse to a greater extent. They often notice Debbie getting assaulted and demeaned by their father Paul which disturbs children's mind very easily has suggested that greater impact will be noticed on the academic performance of Mary. She will not be able to pay proper attention in her school which can spoil her academic report. It will also have detrimental effects on mental state of Mary. She will indulge herself in illegal activities because she is not able to pay proper attention in her studies. She may also be excluded from school due to her poor performance in examination. As both the parents have started drinking heavily, children may predict that alcohol consumption is the main reason of domestic violence against their mother.John and Mandy can feel confusion, guilt, anger, frustration and psychological disorders due to physical harm and beatings.

All the three children can develop common misunderstandings that both Paul and Debbie are involved in fight equally. They think if their mother is not crying she is not hurt or upset. They also assume that once the fight between their parent stops, everything will soon get back to normal.

Impact of Domestic abuse on Debbie and her Children in Parenting and Safeguarding

Debbie is portrayed as unfit and useless mother by Paul which makes her think that she is inadequate parent. Due to different abuses she has become impatient and frustrated to create a better and consistent image in front of her children. Gradually all the three children have stopped showing respect to her because they think their mother has weak parenting skills (Bradbury‐Jones and Broadhurst, 2015). Paul has shaped his image as good and Debbie's image as bad in front of their children which has trapped Debbie in a competition to gain loyalty towards Mary, John and Mandy.

Refuges and Independent domestic violence advocacy (IDVA) to help the victims of Domestic Abuse

The legal system and regulations for the victims of domestic violence can be very frightening and isolating. According to recent reports of domestic violence in UK, it has been reported that only 28% of domestic violence cases are reported for further judicial actions (Bradbury‐Jones and Broadhurst, 2015). Rest of the victims do not report the cases due to fear and physical abuse by their partners. The independent female and male refuges and IDVA helps ion safeguarding victims and advocating their clients so that abusers are charged against domestic abuse to their partners. An IDVA can help in following manner. Debbie can take help of IDVA so that she can be protected from all the domestic caused to her by Paul. IDVA will not carefully address her case and will take the responsibility of not disclosing her identity in front of anyone.

They can help in developing safety plans in order to stop the violence in all possible ways. The advocacy department can guide and accompany the victim to court or they can also assist in arranging pre-trial visits to the clients. They can help the clients to increase security and safety at places where they live so that live safely. They should contact intermediate social workers to address issues related to child protection and abuse.

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Refuge accommodation can be arranged by IDVA to help the victims in staying there safely In case of greater exposure to domestic violence the individual can be referred to physicians and counsellors for counselling sessions and mental health services. If Debbie is not comfortable and safe at her own home then she can choose to live in refugee accommodations which is furnished by IDVA. This will help her in staying safe which can improve her physical and mental health. Many refuges such as Richmond advocacy and Community Outreach Services supports all the victims of domestic violence by providing them confidential, non-judgemental and independent assistance through the legal enquiry and procedures (Bradbury‐Jones and Broadhurst, 2015). They encourage an individual to report all the cases of domestic violence so that they can impose strict charges on every abuser who practices physical, emotional, mental, economic and social abuse.

Current Legislation such as MARACs, Police Protection orders

There are several legislations, Acts and police protection orders implemented by government of UK in order to protect and safeguard victims of domestic violence. They help by providing emergency protection so that individuals selects their own space to explore decide regarding safety issues. This legislations will provide immediate help and support to Debbie from physical and mental abuse if she reports her case to higher authorities who are responsible for enacting these legislations.

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 aims at safeguarding and protecting victims of domestic abuse and violence in an abusive relationship (Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, 2015) The Act considers different types of relationships such as formal and informal relationships, family relationships, married relationships and intimate personal relationship between opposite or same genders (Bradbury‐Jones and Broadhurst, 2015). The Act includes rigorous imprisonment of three years along with heavy penalties for breaching the orders and rules.

Protection of Women against Domestic violence Act 2005

The protection of Women against domestic violence Act was enacted in the year 2005 (Protection of Women against Domestic violence Act 2005. 2015). It was implemented in order to support and provide protection to women from domestic violence. It not only considers physical abuse, it also considers emotional, mental, social and economic humiliation. This Act is primarily meant for the purpose of protection orders and do not provide the authority to penalize the criminal or abuser in any way.

Domestic Violence and protection Orders Act 2008

Protection orders 2008 provides a quick and flexible method to obtain legal protection during domestic abuse (Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Act 2008, 2015). For example physical abuse can be handled through physical forces (Smith 2015). The protection orders not only provide protection to individuals who have experienced domestic abuse, they also provide assistance to those people who are at greater risk of getting abused. The orders also protect children if they have suffered from any kind of maltreatment or abuse.

The Crime and Security Act 2010

Thee Crime and Security Act was incorporated in the year 2010 which contained the power to take DNA samples and fingerprints who has been reported to commit a recordable offence (Crime and Security Act 2010, 2016). These samples from the abuser can be collected even if the individual is not in police custody.

Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO)

A domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) is a judicial order which is applied by police and other authorities developed by Magistrate's Court. The police provides a definite time and date to execute and appear in Magistrate's Court. The Court hears to the petition within 48 hours (What is a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO)? 2016). If, an individual do not comply with the orders of Court he/she will be penalized with a charge of more than £5000 or can be imposed with imprisonment for 2 months (Song, 2014)


The report included a study based on domestic violence in UK. It focused on different theories and explanation which leads to establish domestic abuse and violence in various relationships. Gender inequality, Gain of power and control over the other partner were some reasons which promoted abuses such as physical harassment, sexual assaults, mental torture and emotional instability. Further it also explored the change in behavioural patterns of the abuser towards children and other members of a family. Impacts of Domestic violence on children and family members at both emotional and parenting level were also studied. The study also included different legislations, Acts and laws which are implemented by the government of UK to protect and safeguard all the individuals against domestic abuse.


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