Family and domestic violence (including child abuse, intimate partner abuse, and elder abuse) is a common problem in the United States. Family and domestic health violence are estimated to affect 10 million people in the United States every year. It is a national public health problem, and virtually all healthcare professionals will at some point evaluate or treat a patient who is a victim of some form of domestic or family violence.
Unfortunately, each form of family violence begets interrelated forms of violence, and the “cycle of abuse” is often continued from exposed children into their adult relationships, and finally to the care of the elderly.
Domestic and family violence includes a range of abuse including economic, physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological toward children, adults, and elders.
Intimate partner violence includes stalking, sexual and physical violence, and psychological aggression by a current or former partner. In the United States, as many as one in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is thought to be underreported. Domestic violence affects the victim, families, co-workers, and community. It causes diminished psychological and physical health, decreases the quality of life, and results in decreased productivity.
The national economic cost of domestic and family violence is estimated to be over 12 billion dollars per year. The numbers of individuals affected is expected to rise over the next 20 years with the increase in the elderly population.
Domestic and family violence is difficult to identify, and many cases go unreported to health professionals or legal authorities. Due to the prevalence in our society, all healthcare professionals, including psychologists, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and physicians will at some point evaluate and possibly treat a victim or perpetrator of domestic or family violence.
Family and domestic violence are abusive behaviors in which one individual gains power over another individual.
- Intimate partner violence typically includes sexual or physical violence, psychological aggression, and stalking. This may include former or current intimate partners.
- Child abuse involves the emotional, sexual, physical, or neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, custodian, or caregiver that results in potential harm, harm, or a threat of harm.
- Elder abuse is a failure to act or an intentional act by a caregiver that causes or creates a risk of harm to an elder.
Domestic violence, spousal abuse, battering, or intimate partner violence, is typically the victimization of an individual with whom the abuser has an intimate or romantic relationship. The CDC defines domestic violence as “physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner.”
Domestic and family violence has no boundaries. This violence occurs in intimate relationships regardless of culture, race, religion, or socioeconomic status. All healthcare professionals must understand that domestic violence, whether in the form of emotional, psychological, sexual, or physical violence, is common in our society and should develop the ability to recognize it and make the appropriate referral.
Violence Abuse Types
The types of violence include stalking, economic, emotional or psychological, sexual, neglect, Munchausen by proxy, and physical. Domestic and family violence occurs in all races, ages, and sexes. It knows no cultural, socioeconomic, education, religious, or geographic limitation. It may occur in individuals with different sexual orientations.