People who have been accused of, or victimized by, domestic violence often turn to the internet for information. Many websites that discuss domestic violence are passionate and opinionated, but not all of them are useful. Here are some of the best posts on the internet discussing domestic violence from a variety of perspectives.
Domestic violence overview
A good overview of domestic violence is presented in the article Domestic Violence and Abuse: Types, Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects on the website of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. The article defines domestic violence, breaks it down into types, identifies warning signs, and covers such related topics as stalking, cyberstalking, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, and child abuse.
Causes of domestic violence
There is no single factor that explains why some individuals behave violently with a spouse or domestic partner. Many abusers model behavior they saw during their childhood. Children of those abusers may perpetuate the cycle of violence by growing up to be abusive adults. Some abusers are violent only when they drink or use drugs. Other abusers have psychological problems. In some places, cultural acceptance of violence as a sign of masculinity or as a mechanism of control is seen as an excuse for domestic violence. Informative posts that will help you understand the various causes of domestic violence are Causes and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence on the National Institute for Justice website and Emerging Strategies in the Prevention of Domestic Violence on The Future of Children, a collaborative project of Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.
Resources for victims
Every state has resources available to help women (and, to a lesser extent, men) who have been victimized by domestic violence. The Office of Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has compiled a list of organizations in each state that provide services and advocacy for domestic abuse victims.
What kind of help is best depends upon the needs of the particular victim. Some may be able to stay in a relationship if measures can be taken to protect their safety. Others need advice about how to leave the relationship. Those who leave need to know how to protect their privacy. All of that ground is covered in an article entitled Help for Abused and Battered Women on the Leaving Abuse website.
Whether restraining orders provide effective protection for domestic abuse victims is subject to debate. In some cases, restraining orders are used to prevent wrongly accused individuals from gaining access to their property or children. When the victim of family violence has a legitimate need for a restraining order, however, it is important to understand how to obtain the order and what to do if the order is violated.
Each state has its own procedure for applying for domestic violence restraining orders. State court websites often provide instructions, and sometimes forms, for making the application. A link to the laws of each state, as well as an informative article about the uses and limitations of restraining orders, is available on the website of WomensLaw.org, a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Resources for abusers
Learning to control anger is the key component in most treatment programs that help abusers who want to break the cycle of domestic violence. Different approaches to anger management and abuse prevention include behavioral therapy, improving communication or problem-solving skills, and learning to avoid situations that trigger anger. An article about Anger Management Treatment Program Options on PsychGuides.com explains those treatment alternatives and discusses the kinds of treatment facilities that help abusers control their anger.
Advocates for victims of domestic violence have a strong presence on the web. Advocates for the victims of false accusations of domestic violence have a smaller presence. An organization is known as Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) has a number of special reports that are critical of restraining order abuse, arrest policies, and state laws that fail to respect the presumption of innocence.
One of the most interesting reports on the SAVE website explores the incentive to make false allegations of domestic abuse. Among those incentives are the tactical advantages that domestic violence accusations confer in divorce and custody proceedings. An appendix to the report includes a state-by-state summary of domestic abuse laws that have an impact on family law cases. Unlike many rants posted to the web by disgruntled individuals accused of domestic abuse, the SAVE report is well-documented.