Examine the patterns of, and reasons for, domestic violence in society (24 marks)
Domestic violence is physical, psychological, sexual or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. It may involve partners, ex-partners or household members of other relatives.
A common view of domestic violence is that it is the work of a few disturbed individuals, causes are psychological rather than social. However, some sociologists challenge this view, such as Mirrlees-Black. Her survey in 1999 of 16,000 people estimates that’s there are 6.6 million domestic violence assaults every year, half of which ...view middle of the document...
Yearnshire (1997) found on average a woman suffers 35 assaults before making a report to the police. The woman may feel uncomfortable reporting abuse as she fears triggering further abuse, resulting in them being passive to the assaults.
Secondly, police and prosecutors may be reluctant to record, investigate or prosecute those cases that are reported to them. According to Cheal (1991), this reluctance is due to the fact that police and other state agencies are not prepared to become involved in the issues surrounding the family. They believe that the family is a private institute, and agencies access to this should be limited; family is a good thing and so agencies tend to neglect the ‘darker side’ of family life and that the individuals are free agents.
Radical feminists see the family and marriage as the key institutions in patriarchal society and the main source of women’s oppression, men dominate society through domestic violence or the threat of it. Widespread domestic violence is an inevitable feature of a patriarchal society and serves to preserve the power that all men have over women.
In addition, male domination of state institutions helps to explain the reluctance of the police and courts dealing effectively with cases of domestic violence.
However, sociologist Elliot (1996), rejects this radical feminist claim that all men benefit from violence against women. Not all men are aggressive and most are opposed to domestic violence. Radical feminists ignore this.
Radical feminists also fail to explain female violence, including violence against male partners and child abuse by women. Mirrlees-Black found that around one in seven men has been assaulted by a woman, and one in twenty repeatedly...