Domestic violence is abusive behaviors conducted by either one or both partners involved in an intimate relationship. The abuse can be targeted at one of the partners or at the offspring. This includes wife or husband battering, child abuse and other abuse perpetrated to harm family members. On the other hand, stalking is a repeated behavior or an act of harassment, which involves the creation of an unwanted attention or making of unnecessary contact with a specific person or individual with an aim of creating fear or causing harm. These threats can be perpetrated directly or indirectly. Many cases of domestic violence have been directed to women and children. Because of the eminent challenges, effects and societal problems relating to domestic violence and stalking pose it is important that measures be put in place to address them objectively (Douglas, 2002). It is however critical that the perpetrators of the domestic violence (batterers) be made to account for any violent behavior (Whitcomb, 2002).
1.1 Statement of the problem
Domestic violence is a multifaceted problem that requires proactive mitigation strategies by the society, government, families and individuals. The significance of the problem emanates from the fact that its escalation and devastating effects not only lower quality of life but also leads to physical harm, emotional and psychological torture and even death. Negatively, domestic valence is in the rise, a crime committed in the very areas where one should feel safest. According to the UNICEF (2000), the issue of domestic violence is a major problem in the society given that the main victims, women and children suffer from it "in places where they should be safest: within their families... at the hands of somebody close to them - somebody they should be able to trust" (p.1). Domestic violence is thus a real problem that can be likened to "a regime of terror and violence" and has far reaching consequences in family and social relationships (UNICEF, 2000, p.1).
1.2 Significance of the study
The results of this study will significantly contribute to understanding of the various issues relating to domestic violence. Specifically, it will be possible to analytical understand and appreciate, with an aim of reducing, the various causes and effects of domestic violence. Further, the study would be critical for the victims of domestic violence, therapist, physicians, care givers, the policy makers and the society u general, in attempts to help curb the crime, based on the espoused effects to groups and individuals. In effect, the various stakeholders and special interest groups would be able to develop mitigation and intervention strategies that would assist the victims, punish crime and promote harmonious living in families.
1.3 Research Objectives
The objectives of this study are:
- To explore the effects of domestic violence and mitigation as well as intervention strategies that can be applied by the authorities and other stakeholders to fight domestic violence
- To establish the role of public education in reducing causes and effects of domestic violence
- To determine the role physicians and therapists can play is giving psychological support to victims of domestic violence
1.4 Research Hypotheses
In this study, it is hypothesized that:
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- Domestic violence is a wide spared global problem that inflicts psychological , physical and emotional pain to the victims, if not addressed effectively
- There have been efforts to eliminate domestic valence and the associated effects, though some initiatives have been less productive
- Awareness on the issues relating to domestic violence can help the victims know their rights and also reduce the level rate of the problem
2. 0 Literature Review
This chapter will explore past studies relating to the topic, investigate the nature of the problem, and establish how the existing laws, practices, institutions, and theories can be applied in promotion of good and effective domestic life devoid of violence. Lastly, the chapter will relate the hypothesis to the literatures reviewed. Preliminary Literatures reviewed underscore the fundamental issues behind domestic violence.
The issue is very complex and is mainly exhibited by historical injustices that have left many crimes go unpunished. It is thus a "global epidemic that kills, tortures, and maims-physically, psychologically and economically" (UNICED, 2000, p.2). These clearly outline the fundamental effects of Domestic Violence
There are various strategies that have been put in place and proposed as alternative strategies to reduce the rates of domestic violence and its effects. To eliminate or reduce cases of domestic violence and stalking in any society, various laws have to be legislated. For instance, the provision of protection Act which require that upon reporting of any case of domestic violence or stalking, faster action be taken to apprehend the perpetrator of the crime and bring justice to the victim. The protection law or Act should take care of the victim's protection, to avoid cases of prejudice (Baldry & Winkel, 2008). With the understanding of the sentence or punishment accorded to execution of such crime most people will shy away from doing them. However, in most instances, the laws which have been adopted have been rarely implemented because of the laxity of the enforcers and loopholes in the laws. As such, there have been instances where the authorities have behaved as though they condone the practice. This relates to the implicit silence as well as "the passivity [that is commonly] displayed by the state and the law enforcing machinery" (UNICEF, 2000, p.2). This calls for more agitation by the civil society and community organizations as well as development of new and more effective laws.
Education of the masses, as a tool of creating awareness on the available protection laws and on the factors that define a crime of stalking or domestic violence holds key to unravel the crime. This, coupled with community based therapies, will aid in avoiding false accusations on basis of misunderstood advances by one person or another. This will also help in fostering the understanding of the importance of evidence in the punishment of the crime offenders. Special treatment and access of medication by the victims of domestic violence or abuse and stalkers should be put in place to allow the collection of information and to allow the reporting of various cases of abuse. This will work in the reduction of the crime as factors leading to the crime execution can be controlled (Douglas, 2002 (. However, in most places a good form of community based support system are both inadequate and less resource endowed to ably deal with the cases of domestic violence (Whitcomb, 2002).
While instituting laws on crime prevention and persecution of the offenders, the challenge of collecting enough evidence, which is required to pass a sentence on domestic violence and stalking, becomes a setback. This result from lack of willingness by the victims to give the information following fear of victimization and withdrawal of support from the offenders who might be the bread-winners of the families involved. Some states like Michigan however have local domestic violence programs to address such issues and offer the victims reliable advice (Logic, 2002). The provision of medical facilities for the victims is important. However, the provision of abuse recording services at these facilities makes a number of the victims to shy from accessing medication. These individuals may regard domestic violence as matters that are to be solved within the family (Hewitt et al, 2002). This slows the fight against these vices
Family physicians are of paramount importance on matters related to domestic violence. The role played here is to instill a sense of confidence in every other member of a family on their rights and on the importance of information on abuses inflicted on them. They offer advice, moral support and empower individuals, through education, and thus help in reducing cases of abuses or stalking (Robert, 2002). The government should foster rights awareness to every other citizen. It is however the duty of any government to institute laws calling for harsh punishment of the offenders and inculcate prevention measures through education of the masses.
In this chapter, the research design will be outlined in a detailed manner that can be used to test the connection among the variables.
The major variables considered in the process of carrying out the study the relationship and impact that public education, proper law enforcement and support / treatment programs have on domestic violence. The chapter will therefore describe the data collection design, the data collection approach and the data analysis.
3.1 Research Philosophy, Approach and Strategy
A research philosophy can be defined as the course of developing knowledge and the nature of that knowledge from which assumptions that underpin the research strategies and methods are derived (Shanmugam, Amaratunga & Haigh, 2008). The ultimate aim of any research philosophy is therefore to assist researchers to design a research methodology that will help them to position the study and align it within the chosen philosophical gamut.
In carrying out the study, the philosophy of research is taken into account to ensure that all the necessary factors are covered while the subjective elements are critically analyzed before a conclusion is arrived at. In this case, the application of philosophy in the research strategy and study approach chosen is of great importance. According to Sheffield (2004), it is the through research philosophy that a researcher is able to "challenge and ultimately clarify" [the arguments presented, the] "constructs often taken for granted" through constructive criticisms (p.11). The study's strategies outline the concepts critically interpreted to come up with a better understanding of the data. That is, designing a research strategy requires objective application of a philosopher's tools which enables a researcher to "investigate and then mediate experience and thereby formulate solutions to problems; problems of a specific type" (Sheffield, 2004, p.4). According to Neergaard et al (2009), qualitative research is normally adopted with a view to describe the informant's perception and experience of the world and its phenomenon.
At the same time, deductive research was adopted in the study as the hypotheses will be tested with specific reference to the topic, related concepts and theories, and the study design strategy. To fully employ the deductive approach in this qualitative research method, exploratory design will be applied with more emphasis on verification of data gathered, observation and desire to produce an insightful replicable study (Neergaard et al, 2009).
Sampling can be described as the procedure of selecting a given percentage of the population as a representative of the whole population. For this study, which has a qualitative design, any of the purposeful sampling techniques will be used in a bid to obtain the relevant information about the population under review (Neergaard et al, 2009).
The principal characteristics of variables desired from the sample will be representation of the population, ability to provide the desired data, accessibility and availability. The participants in this study are victims of domestic violence, counselors, physicians and government officials. The objectively designed questionnaires will sent to the selected population sample via email.
3.3 The research instrument
The open-ended questionnaire questions will be developed so to let the respondents feel free and adequately relay the needed data. The open-ended questionnaires do not confine the respondents to a particular response but encourage them to descriptively provide data relevant for the study.
This implies that primary data collection method, through survey will be employed in the study. Since the data will be obtained from the primary sources, it is factual that the data gathered is both reliable and valid. The reliability and validity of the data gathered also lies in the effective application of structured methodology in this study, where validity problems that might have cropped in through misinterpretation of some questions by the respondents were eliminated through unbiased data pre-coding, coding, analysis and interpretation.
3.4 Data collection and Time Line
The primary data will be gathered electronically. The questionnaire will have few questions as compared to other conventional ones as there is need to ensure clarity and collection of specific data. The data collection will take one week, from August 19, 2010 to August 26, 2010. Justifiably, the electronic data collection is more flexible. However, follow up will be made with all the respondents so as to enhance the chances of feedback.
3.5 Data Analisis
The data analysis is a very important stage in any research work as it is a prerequisite to present the findings of a study. In effect, it is a process which cuts across all stages of the study and is "more than coding, sorting and sifting" (Seidel 1998, p.4). It is therefore important that the researcher understands the method of data analysis chosen, plans well, relates the analysis to the study topic and ensures that the findings arrived at are unbiased. In this study, a qualitative research approach and non probabilistic research strategy will be used. Thus the qualitative data analysis is adopted.
According to Powell and Renner (2003), the process of qualitative data analysis begins with the researcher attempting to understand the data collected. This implies reading and re-reading the data before focusing on the analysis by reviewing the goal of the assessment and thirdly categorizing the information by identifying "the ideas, concepts, behaviors, interactions incidents terminology or phrases used, after which they are organized into coherent categories that summarize and bring meaning to the text" (Powell & Renner, 2003, p.2). Next, the patterns and connections identified in the text will be adequately analyzed and described methodologically, before lastly, all the arguments are interlinked through an objective interpretation (Powell & Renner, 2003).
Furthermore, to relate data analysis to the hypothesis and itemize the variables, each assumption will be tested, based on the data collected and analyzed. Domestic violence is taken as the dependent variable, public education, legislations and therapeutic support will be taken as intervening variables while enhanced family life is independent variable.
3.6 Research Ethics
ESRC (nod) defines research ethics as "the moral principles guiding research, from its inception through to completion and publication of results and beyond - for example, the curation of data and physical samples after the research has been published" (p.7). Resnik (2007) lists the various principles of ethics like "honesty, objectivity, integrity, carefulness, openness, and respect for intellectual property, confidentiality, responsive publication, responsible mentoring, and respect for colleagues, social responsibility, non discrimination, competence, legality, and animal care" (p.1).
In this study, the respondents' privacy will be guaranteed through the invitation letter. Moreover, they will be informed of their right to cancel their participation in the study at any point.
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