Domestic violence victims suffer long-term health problems

Family|June 13th 2017

Victims of domestic violence develop long-term physical and mental health problems, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, analysed data from 16,761 women who took part in a study called Women’s Health Australia over the course of 16 years. The participants were from three different age groups: those born between 1921 and 1926, 1946-51 and 1973-78. Each woman was surveyed throughout their lives about their health and relationships.

They were asked if they had experienced violence at the hands of their romantic partners. At the start of the study eight per cent of the youngest age group said they had, as had 12 per cent of those born between 1946 and 1951. At the end of the 16-year study, these numbers had grown to 26 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. The eldest age group was only asked this question at the beginning of the survey as researchers believed they would be unlikely to find new relationships in that time. Five per cent of those women reported experiencing domestic violence.

When these figures were compared to the women’s overall health, the results were “striking”. Those who had experienced violence within their relationships “recorded significantly poorer health than women who never experienced intimate partner violence, across generations and along the life course” the researchers found. This was true on aspects of wellbeing such as emotional and mental health, bodily pain, physical functioning and general health.

Lead author Professor Deborah Loxton said one particularly interesting finding was that “women in their 20s with poor mental health were more prone to experience domestic violence at a later date”. She said those who had higher levels of mental health at the beginning of the study “didn’t enter into a violent relationship as commonly as other women”. This led Loxton’s team to conclude that “poor mental health was a risk factor for entering a violent relationship”.

The study only focused on violence between partners. Other kinds of domestic violence, such as when family members abuse each other, were not included.

The full results were published in the academic journal PLoS ONE earlier this week.

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  1. Jim Franklin says:

    Interesting read, and whilst not wishing to play down the insidious spectre of domestic violence/abuse, how many of the claimed violent instances were supported by third party evidence, such as physical marks, medical evidence, prosecutions or witness testimony?

    Also, why is this focusing, yet again, on women. Women also commit domestic abuse and violence. My ex attacked me on 3 occasions in 9 years, but most women use psychological games to cause upset and distress. My ex is playing these games now by stopping me from seeing or speaking to my children, although as I told her, she has sowed the seeds, now she is about to reap the legal whirlwind of a two pronged legal response. If one line is successful then it will open the floodgates because it will set a precident.

    You will certainly read about it on these pages because it will result in plenty of legal wrangling and I would suggest a change to the law.

    We need to move away from a focus on gender based comments about domestic abuse, none is acceptable, but with a growing number of same sex couples there is going to be a growing number of female on female and male on male prosecutions in the news, it is time to simply speak of domestic abuse and not focus on gender or the type of abuse in question, most does not involve physical harm, but psychological abuse, hence s76 of the SCA 2015 specifically dealing with domestic abuse within an intimate relationship.

  2. Paul says:

    Every sympathy with GENUINE DV victims. Regratably information on DV is grossly distorted and does not represent the real situation. DV allegations are been made purely to get legal aid to enforce completely unnessisary seperation from a partner. Its extremely difficult to prove what has transpired between a couple between closed doors with no witnesses so unfortunatly the police have developed a new ‘domestic abuse agenda’ called victim oriented policing. This means that any allegations made by a woman are treated as genuine. The mans pressumption of innocence is completly disreguarded. In effect he must come to court and prove he is innocent. This is resulting in men coming to court. Angry with the way they are been treated and then coming accross as angry men. Judges are making ’emotional’ decissions based on NO EVIDENCE.
    It is an ideotic system which is destroying familys and killing fathers. You just need to look at the number a false rape allegations which are made to know that this system can never be fair.
    Worth mentioning men falsely accused of DV or improper conduct towards women experience depression and poor mental health. It has been a contributing factor in an ever increasing male suicide rate.
    Any studies done on these effects on men ? – no ??? Thought not. Generation of dispossible daddys.

  3. Dr Grumpy says:

    Where is the study on male victims of DV? Once again discriminations against male victims! That’s why we don’t report it as on one would believe us if we did!

  4. Jim Franklin says:

    Dr Grumpy and Paul, I commented on the disparity in my post, I don’t think there is so much overt discrimination as there is a general ignorance of the problem. The majority of actual violence, by statistics, is male on female, that is a simple fact we cannot ignore. This is not to say female to male violence is ignored but perhaps more an indicator that historically it has not been reported by victims, except in extreme cases.

    Most men would be embarrassed to report being beaten or assaulted by thier female partner, just as straight men raped by homosexuals is known to be under reported.

    The system is not opposed to the reporting of violence or other forms of abuse by females, but if it is not reported it cannot be recorded and it is then hard for researchers to garner funding to complete effective reporting of the prevailing incidents.

  5. Stitchedup says:

    Jim. I’m of the opinion that the issue of domestic abuse is now greatly exaggerated. As Paul states, many allegations of domestic abuse and claims to be in fear of possible domestic abuse are made to secure non mols which in turn secure legal aid, which in turn I used to secure occupation of the family home, custody of the children and better financial settlements. You say “The majority of actual violence, by statistics, is male on female, that is a simple fact we cannot ignore.” That doesn’t mean the majority of domestic violence is male on female, just that reported statistics indicate that. These statistics are meaningless when you take into account the fact that breaches of non mols are recorded as domestic violence even when there’s been no evidence of domestic violence. Also domestic violence against men is,recorded as violence against women and girls because dv is classed as a violence against women and girls offence. It’s ludicrous!!!
    The whole issue of domestic abuse is incredibly subjective, who’s to say that a person claiming to be a victim of emotional abuse isn’t just oversensitive or feisty??? The courts should never get involved in such subjectivity and get back to basics. Domestic violence should mean what most reasonable everyday people consider to be violence, and for most that means actual physical violence which can be proven not he said, she said nonsense. If you’re not happy in a relationship leave… Take responsibility for your own happiness, plain and simple.

  6. Jim Franklin says:

    Did you read all of my comment? Clearly not from the way you went with the post.

    You state that emotional abuse should not be dealt with by tbe courts, have you any idea of the devastating effects psychological abuse has on a person, regardless of thier gender. For you to flippantly suggest people are oversensitive is frankly offensive.

    Recently, The Samaritans, estimated that up to 40% of male suicides for the 30-50 age group are connected to being prevented from seeing thier children by women. This means up to 3500 fathers take thier own life each year due to emotional abuse. This is a sobering statistic.

    Both men and women engage in psychological games to get thier own way, especially those who are very narcissistic. It is damaging, and it must be stopped.

    Do people lie about Domestic Abuse, absolutely, but the quantity and quality of evidence required fir the CPS to charge and then secure a s76 SCA 2015 prosecution is high, the bar was set high for a reason. However I do agree that there are instances where Lawyers threaten Non-Mols to scare ex partners. My ex’s Barrister made such threats in nearly every letter for 4 months, but he bargained without me.

    I wrote him a letter detailing the PHA 1997 and CPS charging requirements and explained why I did not meet the standard. However, I pointed out he did, one more unreasonable threat would result in a formal Police complaint of Harassment under s2 PHA 1997, my ex would get charged under s4 PHA 1997 plus I would apply for a Judge to recuse him as her lawyer and complain to the Bar Standards Council…. he has gone deafeningly quiet…

    Although as I said in my opening post at the top, I am about to use the law in a way that falls within scope but it was never envisaged to be used this way. I have an appointment Monday, then the brown stuff hits the rotating electromechanical device in the wall…

    Watch this space, you will read about it here.

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