Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, family violence and intimate partner violence(IPV), can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting,shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation. Alcohol consumption and mental illness can be co-morbid with abuse, and present additional challenges when present alongside patterns of abuse.
Awareness, perception, definition anddocumentation of domestic violence differs widely from country to country, and from era to era. Estimates are that only about a third of cases of domestic violence are actually reported in the United States and the United Kingdom. According to the Centers for Disease Control, domestic violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans,or over 10% of the U.S. population.
The term "intimate partner violence" (IPV) is often used synonymously with domestic abuse/domestic violence. Family violence is a broader definition, often used to include child abuse, elder abuse, and other violent acts between family members. Wife abuse, wife beating, and battering are descriptive terms that have lost popularityrecently for at least two reasons:
* Acknowledgment that many victims are not actually married to the abuser, but rather cohabiting or other arrangement.
* Abuse can take other forms than physical abuse and males are often victims of violence as well. Other forms of abuse may be constantly occurring, while physical abuse happens occasionally.
These other forms of abuse have the potential tolead to mental illness, self-harm, and even attempts at suicide.
Amartya Sen calculated that between 60 million and 107 million women are missing worldwide.
The U. S. Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines domestic violence as a "pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner". The definitionadds that domestic violence "can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender", and that it can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in the United Kingdom in its "Domestic Violence Policy" uses domestic violence to refer to a range ofviolent and abusive behaviours, defining it as:
Patterns of behaviour characterised by the misuse of power and control by one person over another who are or have been in an intimate relationship. It can occur in mixed gender relationships and same gender relationships and has profound consequences for the lives of children, individuals, families and communities. It may be physical, sexual,emotional and/or psychological. The latter may include intimidation, harassment, damage to property, threats and financial abuse.
In Spain, the 2004 Measures of Integral Protection Measures against Gender Violence defined gender violence as a violence that is directed at women for the very fact of being women. The law acknowledges that aggressions against women have a particular incidence in thereality of Spain and that gender violence stands as the most brutal symbol of the inequality persisting in Spain. According to the law, women are considered by their attackers as lacking the basic rights of freedom, respect, and power of decision.
All forms of domestic abuse have one purpose: to gain and maintain control over the victim. Abusers use many tactics to exert power over...