Domestic Violence – Global Issue

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Domestic violence is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. This problem is not only widely dispersed geographically, but its incidence is also extensive, making it a typical and accepted behaviour. Domestic violence is widespread, deeply ingrained and has serious impacts on women’s health and well-being. Its continued existence is morally indefensible. Its cost to individuals, to health systems and society is enormous. Yet no other major problem of public health has been so widely ignored and so little understood. Global estimates suggest that 35% of women across the world have experienced some form of domestic violence, the majority of which is intimate partner violence (World Health Organization 2017).

Men experience domestic violence and it occurs within same‐sex relationships but the most prevalent form as regards relationship configuration is characterised by a male perpetrator and female victim. Domestic violence is a scourge on society and there is now clear evidence of the negative and long‐term impacts of domestic violence on health for the people who experience it directly and for any children living in a home where domestic violence is a problem. In many cases, domestic violence is lethal: of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, 58% were killed by intimate partners or family members, this equates to 137 women killed every day across the world (UN Women 2019). Such is the extent of its health impacts, that domestic violence is considered a significant public health issue, of which the human, social and economic costs outstrip those of smoking. There is no doubt then that domestic violence is an issue that commands serious attention and because of its complexity and broad manifestations, it requires joined‐up multi‐sector responses.

In the document dated June 16th 2017, the United States Department of Justice stated that Domestic Violence has a significant impact not only on those abused, but also on family members, friends, and on the people within the social networks of both the abuser and the victim. In this sense, children who witness domestic violence while growing up can be severely emotionally damaged. The European Commission (DG Justice) remarked in the Daphne III Program that 1 in 4 women in EU member states has been impacted by domestic violence and that the impact of domestic violence on victims includes many critical consequences: lack of self-esteem, feeling shame and guilt, difficulties in expressing negative feelings, hopelessness and helplessness, which, in turn, lead to difficulties in using good coping strategies, self-management, and mutual support networks. In 2015 the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights affirmed that violence against women can be considered as a violation of human rights and dignity. Violence against women exists in each society and it can be related to any social, economic and cultural status and impact at the economic level. It includes physical, sexual, economic, religious, and psychological abuse.

Although men experience domestic violence by women, the rate of DV among women is much higher than that of men, especially in the category of being killed due to domestic violence. Recent studies have shown that between 13 and 61% of women (15–49 years old) report to have been physically abused at least once by an intimate partner. Domestic Violence takes place across different age groups, genders, sexual orientations, economic, or cultural statuses. However, domestic violence remains largely under-reported due to fear of reprisal by the perpetrator, hope that it will stop, shame, loss of social prestige due to negative media coverage, and the sense of being trapped with nowhere to go. Hence, it is estimated that 90% of cases of violence continue to be identified as non-denounced violence.

In the run-up to the announcement of nationwide lockdown starting 00:00 hours of 25 March 2020, there were several areas where the government failed to craft a strategy to address the possible fallouts. One such aspect that was completely out of their purview was the way out to deal with incidents of domestic violence in the country. The question on the checks and balances that needed to be in a place that the victim of domestic violence could resort to, was unheeded. Fueled by mandatory stay-at-home rules, social distancing, economic uncertainties and anxieties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence has increased globally. For instance, countries like China, Unites States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Tunisia, France and Australia and many others have reported cases of increased domestic violence and IPV or intimate partner violence. India is also showing symmetrical trends, especially when it is infamous for being the fourth worst country (after the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) for gender equality.

According to the Crime in India report 2018, published by the National Crimes Research Bureau (NCRB), every 1.7 minutes a crime was recorded against women in India, every 16 minutes a rape was committed and every 4.4 minutes a girl is subjected to domestic violence. The number of cases reported might not be proportional to the actual rise in the number of cases. This is because the woman locked down with the abuser does not get the access to a mobile phone or space and time, with limited access to financial resources and social networks or even the courage when she could call up for help. While the chairperson of NCW has urged women to contact police or reach out to state women commissions if they face domestic violence, it must be noted that there might be chances where the police are delayed in such rescues.

Many researchers believe the best way to deter abuse is to stop people from becoming abusers in the first place. And several approaches have shown promise. Broad, cultural messages appear to make a difference—not just what young children see and hear, from their families and neighbours but also from their role models on television and in sports arenas, may have an impact. Also, many researchers think it’s possible to reach kids more directly, through schools or their parents. According to these researchers, themes should include how men treat women—and how they express their own emotions. Also divorces frequently involve allegations of domestic violence. But, historically, the judicial system would handle the issues separately—with one judge presiding over the divorce, another hearing the criminal domestic violence case. This was tough on the victims, who had to deal with multiple sets of legal proceedings, each with a different process (and, sometimes, each in a different courthouse). It also meant that family court judges, hearing the divorce cases, might not have full information about the domestic violence allegations.

In the critical situation of trying to combat a pandemic, increased number of women are faced with the plague of DV within their households. It must not come as a surprise because domestic violence topped in the category of violence against women in 2018. As per the data, a total of 89,097 cases related to crimes against women was registered across India in 2018. The figures indicate not much has improved when compared to the figure of 86,001 cases registered under this head in 2017. The crime rate per lakh women population was 58.8 in 2018 in comparison to 57.9 in 2017. In addition to the direct health threat posed by the coronavirus, the pandemic and restrictions aimed at checking its spread have heightened anxieties, from apprehensions on catching the coronavirus, financial worries to social concerns. There is also a concern that violence would further increase with job losses and other economic pressures. An added challenge has been the importance of intertwined negative psychosocial impact on the mental health of women.

In an attempt to flatten the COVID19 curve, women’s equality and physical and mental health seem to have suffered collateral damage. From the discussion above, the government overlooked the need to formally integrate domestic violence and mental health repercussions into the public health preparedness and emergency response plans against coronavirus. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that seeks to “eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women in the public and private spheres, and to undertake reforms to give them the same rights to economic resources and access to the property by 2030,” is being enormously compromised.


Cite this paper

Domestic Violence – Global Issue. (2020, Sep 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/domestic-violence-global-issue/



What factors influence domestic violence?
Domestic violence can be influenced by a variety of factors, including societal norms and attitudes towards gender roles, substance abuse, mental health issues, and a history of experiencing or witnessing violence. Additionally, power imbalances within relationships and a lack of access to resources and support can also contribute to domestic violence.
What is global violence?
Global violence is a term used to describe the physical, psychological, and economic violence that occurs on a global scale. This violence can take many forms, including war, terrorism, and crime.
What is the percentage of domestic violence in the world?
The percentage of domestic violence in the world is alarmingly high. Every year, millions of women and children are victims of domestic violence.
Where is domestic violence most common in the world?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 9.4 percent of the US population aged 12 and older struggles with a drug use disorder.
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