Domestic Conflict
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Domestic Conflict
Officials of court cases in which caregivers face domestic violence charges should focus on offering behavioral treatment, rather than criminal punishment, to aid families suffering from domestic violence. When victims report violence to law enforcement, they seek help rather than the incarceration of a family member. Recent court sentences in domestic violence cases include incarceration and court fines, punishments which are often suffered by the criminal’s family. The causes and effects of domestic violence are not incredibly difficult to appropriately address. Therefore, in situations where children are involved, social service options, rather than traditional criminal punishments, most effectively treat both victims and perpetrators of physical domestic violence.

It was a five year battle, but somehow I survived my mother’s violent and abrasive influence. Her history of prescription drug abuse caused her to be selfish, hateful, and at times even delusional. When she came home after the first time I watched her get arrested, she blamed me for the arrest. “I watched you laughing maniacally as they took me away,” that is all I remember her saying to me directly. It was not her first arrest, nor would it be her last. As she was staring at me from the back of that police car with sadness and fury in her eyes, I was looking right back at her in disbelief. It had never occurred to me until that moment that the domestic violence I had endured all those years was illegal.

The destructive messages, deception, blaming, and hostility that dominated my mother’s communication made life hard to live. When I wasn’t the target of her inappropriate communication style, my father most often took the blow. I don’t believe it is possible to live with someone so abrasive, without allowing their desire for power and control to result in manipulation, fear, and damaged relationships. Trying to stand up for myself was difficult, but I made that attempt, in some ways it made things worse for me, but in others it helped me maintain self-control. My father was always contorting his plans in order to please a wife who just wasn’t making much effort to find happiness in herself. My younger sister practiced avoidance, and missed years of life experience with her head delved in a book, using it as some sort of ulterior reality. The time my family spent learning to cope with my mother can never be returned, and to say things were difficult is an understatement.

The police were heavily involved in my family life, and every time I attempted to run away, they found me. Not only was I made to feel like a criminal, but I also spent several weeks in crisis shelters where I was made to believe that my struggles at home directly resulted from my own actions. My mother’s most recent arrest comforted me for a short time, because I was taught that having her in jail would allow things to get better, but it did not. At the date of her conviction, the costs of my mothers prescription drug addictions, court fines, and attorney fees had resulted in a debt of over 40,000 dollars, none of which she herself was made to pay. Due to the arrest, my second sister had to postpone her college career and return home to assume my mother’s role as caretaker for our five younger siblings ranging from ages three to fifteen. Being one of the oldest children, I was given many household responsibilities and was not able to enjoy many of the activities of my peers. I felt like nothing was being done to aid my family. Certainly, there is room for improvement in the way violent family situations are handled by social workers and law enforcement officers.

Families need help combating domestic violence in which parental arrest is a common and growing result. The United States’ incarcerated population grows 6.5% each year, and the growth rate for adult women has nearly tripled in the past thirty years (Seymour, 1998). As family information is not collected by correction facilities, a near accurate guess of how many children are affected by these arrests would be impossible. However, it is clear that as the incarcerated population grows, the number of children affected does also. These children experience emotional, behavioral, and social distress resulting from parental incarceration. According to Seymour (1998), depression, low self-esteem, inappropriate classroom behavior, lowering academic performance, and lack of contact with the incarcerated parent, are all common issues faced by these children. Parental incarceration is traumatic for children who have suffered family violence, and the number of kids affected is quickly increasing.

Arresting violent family members does not deter domestic conflict. A 1990 experiment in which Dunford, Huizinga, and Elliot studied 304 domestic cases states “arrest…by itself, did not appear to deter subsequent domestic conflict any more than did separating or mediating those in conflict.” The study concluded that additional strategies are necessary to deter domestic violence (as cited in Hamm & Kite, 1991, p.228). There is more research suggesting that law enforcement agencies should develop an alternative response to domestic violence. According to an article in the Journal of Public Economics, victims of domestic violence in states with mandatory arrest laws are less likely to report the crime and more likely to suffer domestic homicide (Iyengar, 2007). The fact that victims of domestic violence who would otherwise enlist the support of law enforcement choose not to when given the knowledge that doing so would lead to arrest supports my statement that arresting perpetrators is not a solution. Clearly it is not the preferred course of action by those who suffer domestic conflict. The costs associated with incarcerating these family members outweigh the benefits.

Actions of violent parents often do not involve people outside of their home. Deciding how to best punish this crime is difficult because while victims should have a role in court proceedings, giving them this power could result in manipulation from the violent family member due to the authoritarian roles these abusers often possess. This form of manipulation has led many municipalities to adopt a no-drop policy, which in the Fordham Law Review is “generally defined [as denying] the victim of domestic violence the option of freely withdrawing a complaint once formal charges have been filed” (Corsilles, 1994, p.856). By denying the plaintiff power to revoke a complaint, no-drop policies protect victims against such forms of manipulation and consequently from a defendant’s retaliation further down the road. Once abusers can’t maintain their level of control of an abusive environment, outside forces gain authority. Hence, the first step in solving domestic

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Domestic Violence Charges And Law Enforcement. (April 8, 2021). Retrieved from