This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A Practitioner’s Portfolio
Forensic Psychology Practice Ltd The Willows Clinic 98 Sheffield Road Boldmere Sutton Coldfield B73 5HW 0121 377 6276
© FPP Ltd 1999
1 of 50
What is domestic Violence?
How common is Domestic Violence?
The effects on victims in a repeatedly violent relationship
The stages of victimisation
Other emotional effects
Behavioural consequences to the victim
Assessment of victims of Domestic Violence
Interventions with victims of Domestic Violence
Staying in the relationship and not wanting intervention
© FPP Ltd 1999
2 of 50
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence (DV) refers to any type of violence within the home. For the purpose of this document, the term domestic violence is used to refer to violence between sexual or intimate adult partners. “Spouse maltreatment may be said to have occurred in the breakdown of an intimate relationship where there is evidence of physical or psychological injury, material deprivation, emotional and sexual abuse, marital rape, pornography or forced relation that has been inflicted on the victim by the partner”, London, (1978).
The importance of the above definition lies in its acknowledgement of components of domestic violence other than the physical aspect. In terms of risk to the victim, physical abuse usually invites the most concern, but it is important to acknowledge that psychological abuse always accompanies physical abuse and sexual abuse commonly occurs also within intimate relationships where physical violence occurs. Below are some common examples of different types of abuse. These categories are not mutually exclusive. Physical Abuse Grabbing Twisting arms Forcing to sit/stand Punching Kicking Slapping Pushing Head butting Throwing Hitting with an object Smashing into an object Use of weapon Dragging by hair Scratching/biting Shaking Choking/strangulation Murder Sexual Abuse Demanding sex Forcing sexual intercourse Using intimidation to prevent victim saying no. Forcing oral sex Forcing anal sex Forcing to take part in /view pornography Forcibly inserting objects Forcing to have sex with animals Forcing to have sex with children Forcing to have sex with other parties Forcing paraphilic activity Psychological Abuse All the preceding Constant insults Put downs Public humiliation Insulting appearance Threats to leave Threats to children Harm of pets Destruction of property Demanding obedience Blaming the victim Jealousy/obsession Stalking/surveillance Preventing working Isolating Threatening infidelity Implying mental illness Controlling money
© FPP Ltd 1999
3 of 50
It is important that the above are regarded as examples only, as although there are commonalities to violent relationships, each one has different aspects of abuse.
How Common is Domestic Violence? Who is at Risk? • Domestic violence occurs across socio-economic groups. • Cultural variances in attitudes to women/violence and attitudes to patriarchy and family structure are significant predictors. • Domestic violence occurs across genders and in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. • Individual personality characteristics of the perpetrator are most likely to be the most important factor in determining the risk of domestic violence occurring.
Incidence Assessment of the prevalence and incidence rates of domestic violence is fraught with difficulty. The true rate with which this type of violence occurs, is unlikely to be known as research is hindered by the following constraints, (Dobash and Dobash, 1979, Star, 1980, Finkelhor and Yllo, 1985, Yllo, 1993): • Lack of awareness of the problem • Normalisation of family violence. • Refusal to accept there is a problem.
The problem is further compounded by the following: • DV is grossly under-reported. • Prosecution is unlikely. • Conviction more difficult.
This means that formal detection of incidents and therefore the true incidence is unlikely. Also, it is worth noting that most of the research conducted has measured violence towards women by men. The area of male victimisation has been largely neglected to date, though this is beginning to change.
© FPP Ltd 1999
4 of 50
Also, many studies of domestic violence focus on physical violence alone and tend not to measure the psychological components of the violence that are present on a more frequent basis than the physical violence. Also, in many studies, sexual violence within relationships is not measured at all, and this is the component most likely to be under-reported.
Under-reporting The factors described below indicate that it is unlikely that domestic violence incidents will be reported either by the victim or concerned others. • Domestic violence usually occurs when the perpetrator is alone with the victim and therefore others are unlikely to report the offending. • Stigma and shame associated with being a victim of domestic violence makes its occurrence unlikely to be made public by the victim. • The dynamics of the relationship make it unlikely that crimes committed within that relationship will be reported to the police. • The victim is likely to be fearful of increasing the risk of violence to themselves by reporting the offence. • The perpetrator denies some or all of the offending and often does so by trying to reduce the credibility of the victim’s account. The victim therefore fears that if they report the offence they will not be believed.
The above factors therefore indicate that estimates of the prevalence of domestic violence may represent only the ‘tip of the iceberg’, as offences are unlikely to be reported. Most information on the prevalence of domestic violence is drawn form crime surveys. This approach has major limitations in that the information drawn concerns reported crimes only. For this reason, the most accurate information is drawn form the following: • Victim surveys • Anonymised samples drawn from the general population. • Divorce proceedings.
Crime Surveys. 56% of assaults on women are domestic (British Crime Survey – Mayhew et al., 1993).
© FPP Ltd 1999
5 of 50
5% 22.1%). ‘wife beating’ represented 76.7% 5.1% 2.0% 8. the female victim is seriously injured four times a year. Jones..Dobash and Dobash (1979 & 1987) reported that in Scotland.9% 4.8% 2.700 approx. 1988. • 52% said they had used violence against their female partner.099 lesbians and found: • 52% claimed to have been a victim of violence by their female partners.0% 12. Of 1051 recorded incidents of violence in the home. Lie and Gentlewarrior (1991) surveyed 1. In quantitative terms.0% 3. Pease et al.last year Repeat severe violence .5% 28.7% 3. Victim Surveys/Anonymised Surveys. 1986).0% In investigating lesbian relationships a higher incidence of abuse has been found than in heterosexual and gay relationships. Incidence rates found in US populations. (37. MacLean and Young.0% 2.last year 21. © FPP Ltd 1999 6 of 50 Domestic Violence .2%.2%). Mooney (1993) reports that one third of women in violent relationships are attacked more than six times a year and on average. Female victims of male partner (N = 1.1% 8. the 2nd largest category of interpersonal violence is assault on wives (25.) Schulman (1979) Straus et al (1980) Straus et al (1985) Any violence ever Severe violence ever Repeat severe violence ever Severe violence . Victim surveys indicate that only 14-27% of assaults are reported to the police (Dutton.8% and husband beating 1. • 30% said they had used violence against a non-female partner. (1991) reports that domestic incidents accounted for only 12% of calls to the police in Liverpool and Smith (1989) argues that domestic violence is the most under-reported and underrecorded crime.3% 7. the most common being assaults between unrelated males.0% 11.
8% of the wives and 4. they do not experience the same physical or social consequences from violence as women do. little research is available to inform us. Divorce/Separation data In the USA.Pease et al (1991) outlined from victim studies the probability of repeat attacks in the home as follows: • 35% of first time victims suffer a 2nd attack within 5 weeks of first.g. © FPP Ltd 1999 7 of 50 Domestic Violence . Recently. • After a 2nd attack. property and prestige. the USA Harris poll found that 66% of divorced or separated women reported violence in their previous relationship. Although it is slowly becoming accepted that males are also victims of domestic violence. choke. 1997). by Strauss et al (1980. • Women are more likely to be injured during attacks by male partners than men are during attacks by female partners. • Men are more likely to perpetrate multiple aggressive actions during a single incident. punch. 45% suffer an third assault within 5 weeks of the second. The largest study. beat up. a quarter had a female offender and half the families reported violence by both parties.” Hampton et al further analysed two USA national samples that showed the following: • Men perpetrate more aggressive actions against their female partners than women do against their male partners.6% of the husbands were battered in the first 12 months of the study. • Men perpetrate more severe actions at least by the name of the action (e. a quarter had a male offender. kick. demonstrated that ‘marital violence’ occurs once a year or more in 16% of families. 1988). Within the families surveyed. In terms of ‘abusive’ violence. With regard to male victims of domestic violence. the same families reported that 3. either as a pre-emptive strike or in retaliation for previous wife abuse. A considerable proportion of wife-to-husband violence occurs in the context of domestic conflict. (Browne. Hampton et al (1999) assert that “because men are typically larger than their wives and usually have greater access to power. many authors argue that the nature of the violence directed towards males by females is less severe. Hart (1990) found that 32% of middle class and 40% of working class women mentioned physical abuse in divorce proceedings. threaten with or use a knife/gun).
1991). ‘yes’. 1992. In contrast. and found the following amongst those who were married: © FPP Ltd 1999 8 of 50 Domestic Violence . From 1983 to 1990 in the UK.1990). this had occurred. This represented between 42 and 49% of all female homicide victims. Browne (1997) reports a greater difference in the proportionate number of male and female victims. Sexual Offences. approximately 1/5 of all homicide victims were women killed by their current or former male partner. (1987). 1985). also in the USA. the authors asked a randomised sample of 322 women living in Boston. In approximately one third of domestic homicides. ¾ of incidents reported to the police occurred after separation. the couple were no longer living together when the homicide occurred (Edwards. 1989). (1997) and Ewing. sexual abuse takes place where no other physical abuse occurs. 1974). Psychological abuse is an inevitable component of sexual abuse. Interestingly. interviewed 930 women. As previously outlined. Russel (1982. Domestic homicide in the USA has been reported to constitute 40% of all homicides (Curtis. Browne. In studies by Finkelhor and Yllo (1982. In the UK. in a study by Hart et al. Occasionally. (1990). USA. 1982. Painter.In the UK 56-59% of divorced women reported being hit by their previous partner (Evason. where 45% of domestic homicide victims were men and 55% were women. “Has your partner ever used physical force or threat to try to have sex with you?” 10% of the sample replied. ‘Marital rape’ generally refers to rape within an intimate relationship and therefore does not imply that the couple are actually married in all studies. they found that in 82% of the cases the rape had occurred after the partners had separated. 1994). sexual abuse within relationships where domestic violence is taking place is common. Domestic Homicide Domestic homicide is generally regarded as the end result of escalating violence that results in the male partner killing the female victim or the female victim finally taking ‘revenge’ or ‘defending herself’ after years of suffering. only 7-11% of male homicide victims were killed by their female spouse (Home Office. In their analysis of ‘marital rape’. 644 of whom were married. Morley and Mullender.
3. In four out of five of the cases. (1992) reports similar rates of sexual abuse in homosexual and lesbian relationships. the more disadvantageous these factors. to the exclusion of other sexual activity. The degree to which a victim is traumatised by a violent assault is related to a number of variables. The element of obsession with a particular sexual act was marked and the victim would often be forced into this act. resorted to sexual violence”. strength. Renzetti. Finkelhor and Yllo (1985) categorised forced sex in marriage into three types. commonly referred to as pre-assault. He reports that “These men hit their wives. • 12% had been battered only. In the UK. Hall (1985) surveyed 1236 women living in London and found that 9% of the sample had at some time been forced to have sex by their partner. control and authority. These are detailed more fully below. ‘Battering rapists’. based primarily on the Groth Typologies (1979). ‘Obsessive’ rapists. sometimes while the act was being filmed for later use as pornography. Often the victim would be bound and objects were inserted into the victim’s vagina or anus. belittled them. as another way of humiliating and degrading them. took their money and. the more severe the effects of the violence. In 50% of cases the victim was forced into sex as part of the battering experience. 2. the perpetrator stripped the victim after a physical attack and then sexually assaulted them. Only 10% of marital rapists fell into this category and those that did were found to have bizarre and perverse sexual interests. mastery. 1. THE EFFECTS ON VICTIMS IN A REPEATEDLY VIOLENT RELATIONSHIP Factors Influencing Victim’s Response to Assault. ‘Force only’ rapists. assault and post-assault factors. As a rule of thumb. Violence outside of this interaction was unusual and it was primarily a way of expressing power. sometimes with an object. In 40% of the cases the perpetrator used only as much force as was necessary to obtain sex.• 4% had experienced forced sex but no other physical violence • 14% had been raped and battered. © FPP Ltd 1999 9 of 50 Domestic Violence .
Added together. the response of the Criminal Justice System and the reaction of their support network. when someone with a history of prior trauma is severely assaulted. experiences of life stressors. iii) Post-assault factors Post-assault factors refer to a number of different issues. these factors predict the likelihood of someone being able to extricate themselves from the relationship and how likely they are to suffer severe trauma. with the pre-assault factors and post-assault factors commonly becoming more disadvantageous with each incidence of violence. On the basis of this information. they are unlikely to be able to gather the resources to leave the abusive situation. both personal and professional. Firstly. On the other hand. I) Pre-assault factors These refer to the degree to which the victim was ‘psychologically robust’ prior to the assault/s taking place. the response of the perpetrator to the assault. it is evident when these factors are considered. The factors influencing this variable may include demographic and psychosocial aspects of the victim. previous experiences of assault and factors in their personality influencing how they attribute blame. may also follow a pattern of escalation (in terms of frequency and severity) which may further disadvantage the victim. the quality of relationships they have experienced in the past. that the effects of violence are incremental. one might hypothesise that each successive assault © FPP Ltd 1999 10 of 50 Domestic Violence . someone who is psychologically robust who experiences a moderate attack and excellent support from the police and social networks is less likely to place themselves in a position where they will be re-assaulted. if the response of those around them is ‘they must have done something to deserve it’. Added to this. For example.Responses to violent assault are primarily moderated by the following variables. they are probably less able to cope. However. such as the type of violence used. The reality of a real life situation is often a complicated combination of the above three factors. ii) Assault factors Assault factors refer to the nature and severity of the attack. Assault factors. which vary form individual to individual. the degree to which they believed their life to be threatened and the nature of their relationship with the perpetrator.
Psychological Effects of Repeated Violence A number of common consequences of domestic violence have been extensively documented over the years. The degree to which the victim is aware of these facts varies from individual to individual. The Stages of Victimisation. workers often find themselves managing clients whose behaviour they find at best worrying and frustrating and at worst angering and disabling. Victims of repeated violence can be seen to pass through a number of predictable stages in their adaptation to what has happened to them. Each victim will experience a unique reaction which may include one or. The issue that is often most perplexing for those working with victims of domestic violence. Symonds. more commonly. is that of understanding why the victim remains in the abusive relationship and exposes themselves to further violent attack. disbelief. i) Immediately following the violence the victim enters a state of shock. the degree to which the individual can act upon their appraisal of the situation also varies between individuals. For these reasons. it is possible to come some way in providing an understanding of the victim’s behaviour. In doing so. ii) When the victim perceives the reality of the situation they enter the second stage which Symonds describes as ‘terror-induced pseudo-calm’ or ‘frozen fright’. (1980) describes the acute response to victimisation as having four distinct stages. but also to consider a more global picture of how these reactions would effect the victims view of the world and other people. denial and delusion. a combination of the following syndromes. Some of the psychological effects of repeated victimisation are outlined below.reduces the psychological robustness of the victim and thus increases the likelihood of further assault. Also. It is important to not only consider the direct impact of these experiences. This stage is characterised by intense feelings of isolation and powerlessness that leads the victim to © FPP Ltd 1999 11 of 50 Domestic Violence . Often it is clear to the worker that the perpetrator cannot or will not change their behaviour and that the victim is at significant risk of harm or death while the relationship is continued.
olfactory. the victim enters a stage referred to as ‘traumatic psychological infantilism’ that is characterised by the victim losing their ability to live as an adult and consequently regressing to behaviours first learned in early childhood. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a syndrome or cluster of symptoms. namely: • re-experiencing of the event (in the form of thoughts and feelings) • avoidance (of situations that are the same or similar) • hyper-arousal (such as anxiety. These behaviours often include compliance. tactile and affective modes of reexperiencing the event. The most common forms of re-experiencing the event are the following: • Flashbacks – including visual. fear and increased startle response). which may involve a review of one’s life and with vows to change if given another chance (Strentz. 1979). It is as if the offence is happening in the here and now. or place) and these events are completely beyond the control of the victim. as a means of coping. 1979) iv) Finally. These experiences are usually triggered by a feature of the environment that is similar to the abuse (such as a sight. The latter two features will be discussed more fully elsewhere. the victim may begin to ‘identify with the aggressor’ (see below). For this © FPP Ltd 1999 12 of 50 Domestic Violence . sound. Within the four stages of victimisation. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. smell. submission and ingratiation. i) Re-experiencing the event. auditory. This type of dissociation is reported by victims of domestic violence (Walker. which commonly occur together. There are three major areas of disturbance. The person may suddenly feel that the event is actually recurring in the present. the victim may experience any of the other effects of domestic violence described below. If this stage persists. This constitutes a significant attitude shift in the victim and has been referred to as ‘pathological transference’ by Symonds.separate his/her consciousness from his/her body. iii) The second stage gives way to a delayed coping response of rumination and ‘keeping busy’.
• Intrusive Thoughts – these are often thoughts about the event. for example avoiding being alone with the perpetrator. or feel so isolated that they believe that nobody else can understand their problems. Victims sometimes feel ‘invisible’ to others and as if they are ‘just going through the motions’ of living their life. social life. ‘forgetting’ certain aspects of the violence and so on. • Markedly diminished interest in significant activities such as work. such as going over and over the events in an attempt to make sense of them or work out what they could have done differently. • Nightmares – these may take the form of a straightforward reliving of the actual abuse or may be symbolic of a symptom such as fear. In addition. • Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others. These thoughts may take the form of excessive rumination. danger or helplessness. such as blocking out the pain involved. hobbies. • The victim may engage in avoidance of thoughts or feelings associated with the abuse. ii) Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma or numbing of general responsiveness. For example the victim may ‘block out’ the violent incident from their memory. avoiding pubs or parties. The thoughts may intrude to the extent of disturbing normal cognitive functions. Chronic sleep deprivation may follow due to avoiding sleeping (when the victim avoids relinquishing control to the nightmares) or from disrupted sleep patterns due to the constant waking and trauma. • Inability to recall an important aspect of the abuse. the thoughts are intrusive in that they are not invited or deliberate and occur whether the victim wants to think about the issue or not. may avoid other situations where they are at risk.reason it may feel to the victim as if they are being abused several times every day and they are therefore in a perpetual state of trauma. particular buildings or other situations reminiscent of the violence. Nightmares often happen several times during the night and the victim wakes feeling as if the abuse had just recurred. perpetrator or self and are commonly felt to be beyond the control of the victim. avoid situations that are frightening or anxiety provoking. Sometimes victims feel as if they are ‘on the outside looking in’ at their situation. © FPP Ltd 1999 13 of 50 Domestic Violence . nightmares can severely effect daytime functioning. children. For this reason. • Avoidance of activities or situations that arouse recollections of the abuse.
The term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ was coined following two highly publicised hostage takings in Stockholm. • • • Difficulty in falling or staying asleep. A full account of the syndrome of PTSD is provided at the back of this document. and is provided for information only and should not be used as a diagnostic tool. Stockholm Syndrome. e..g. whereby in a life-and-death situation with a powerful authority figure. where the victim comes to identify with the aggressor. enjoyment or happiness. particularly on prisoner’s of war and Jewish prisoners in Nazi prison camps. a number of studies. shaking. Strentz (1979) cited Anna Freud’s concept of identification with the aggressor. Increased physiological activity such as sweating. Hypervigilance. In the crimes in question. four bank employees were held captive for 131 hours and during the course of their captivity. constantly tense and anxious. In victims of violence this may include an attenuation of the anger and distress you might expect after assault and a diminished capacity to experience positive emotions such as love. have focussed on this phenomenon. This is drawn from DSMIV (American Psychiatric Association. Since this time. This syndrome is characterised by the hostage victims developing a set of unexpected and positive feelings towards their captors. © FPP Ltd 1999 14 of 50 Domestic Violence . 1994). particularly upon exposure to events that symbolise or resemble an aspect of the abuse. palpitations and panic attacks. begin to identify closely with the power of the aggressor in order to avoid facing their own helplessness. Sweden. as psychological and/or physical hostages. the ego identifies with the aggressor/authority figure to avoid punishment and anxiety.• Restricted range of affect often occurs. iii) Persistent symptoms of increased arousal. feeling constantly ‘on guard’. they expressed gratitude towards the latter for sparing their lives. This means that the victim no longer able to experience the full range or depth of emotional experiences. Parallels have been drawn with victims of domestic violence. than of their captors. where the victims. they grew to become more afraid of the police who were trying to free them. On release.
Frude (1980. In order to understand this phenomenon. Behavioural change in the victim cannot prevent the attack which. Perpetrators of repeated violence against an intimate other are very commonly observed by their partners and professionals to repeatedly engage in a cycle of emotions and behaviour that is commonly known as ‘The Battering Cycle’. eventually. For example. The final stage of this escalation process is the commission of a violent act. However. becomes tearful and makes promises that it will never happen again. The victim readily recognises the tension building stage and adapts their behaviour in order to try to prevent the violence stage.Traumatic Bonding Although the general literature portrays a convincing account of the traumatic sequelae to repeated victimisation. friends and other support and so on. After the violent act. even in the face of extreme danger. it is important firstly to acknowledge the cyclical nature of domestic violence. ‘Traumatic Bonding’ provides a theoretical rationale for this behaviour and helps to explain why. occurs after a period of escalation. asserts that the cycle is made of up of three stages – a tension-building phase. the perpetrator frequently expresses regret. try to reason. Walker (1979). cook a favourite meal. describes a more complex cycle – the presence of a stressful situation. avoid family. it does little to explain why the victim’s attachment to the perpetrator persists and often grows stronger. © FPP Ltd 1999 15 of 50 Domestic Violence . the perpetrator may initially continue his hostile attitude or display a period of sullen silence. Often the victim is aware of the futility of these behavioural changes and becomes increasingly afraid as the inevitability of violence becomes apparent. a period of acute violence and a state of reconciliation. an escalation of anger and emotional distress as a response to the situation and finally a lack of inhibition with regards to violent expression in response to a trigger. 1989). the victim may try to appease the perpetrator. become more nurturing. the perception of the situation as threatening (which may be unrealistic). victims persist in returning to their partners. The victim of domestic violence is often acutely aware of this cycle and in fact adapts their behaviour in response to the cycle.
Browne. VIOLENT ACT Triggers De-escalation of angry feelings and regret Escape (tension building) THE BATTERING CYCLE Reconciliation Perception of threat Stress and tension Hope Following the attack. over time and as the traumatic effects lift. (1997) combines the work of the above two authors into the following diagrammatic representation of the cycle. the victim may initially be clear about the danger they have been in and feel certain that the relationship is over. the victim may leave the relationship for a period. the victim may try specific tactics to protect themselves. Generally. the ‘reconciliation’ stage. but the characteristics of this cycle and the ways in which the victim and perpetrator behave within it that compel them to continue. and hostages become © FPP Ltd 1999 16 of 50 Domestic Violence . However. At this stage. abused children tend to become increasingly attached to their abuser. Dutton points out that intense emotional attachments between the abused and the abuser are not uncommon and have been extensively observed in other populations. the victim is often seduced by the regret and promises of the partner and therefore returns to begin the cycle all over again. based on what they think has helped in the past. though not always. For example.During the attack. cult members are often very attached to abusive cult leaders. Dutton (1995) argues that it is not characteristics of the victim or perpetrator that maintain the violent relationship. It is not uncommon for the victim’s life to be completely governed by the existence of the cycle and the necessary adaptations to it. such as remaining silent or not retaliating. has little bearing on the outcome and the perpetrator continues the attack until the psychological tension is sufficiently reduced. the response of the victim during the attack.
After the violence has ceased. Fromm 1941. lion 1977. where the person holding the power comes to perceive themselves as more powerful in the light of another’s lack of power and the less powerful person perceives themselves as increasingly less powerful in relation to the other. threatening. This dynamic is further fuelled by shifts of power within the relationship. is the notion that power imbalances build upon themselves. Attachment to a more powerful other or larger more powerful group. In addition to this. 1975). beating. and this is also true in intimate relationships. In looking at all the above relationships where traumatic bonding occurs. The perpetuation of this cycle can lead to intense emotional bonds within relationships and comes some way to explain the intense attachment and ’need’ for the other that exists in relationships where domestic violence is taking place. Power Imbalance – wherein the maltreated person perceives himself or herself to be subjugated to or dominated by the other. regret and complete © FPP Ltd 1999 17 of 50 Domestic Violence .attached to the hostage taker. and the victim becomes dependent on the powerfulness of the other to increase their personal sense of power and overcome feelings of helplessness. abusing or intimidating the other’. 2. Examples have already been cited of hostages. Most importantly. Power Imbalance. As the person holding least power becomes increasingly aware of their powerlessness. the power differentials within the relationship are symbiotic in that the powerful person becomes increasingly dependent on the subjugation of the victim to enforce their sense of power. The intermittent nature of the abuse. increases the sense of personal power (Becker 1973. prisoners and cult members. the perpetrator of the assault experiences remorse. they identify further with the powerful person. He refers to this process as Traumatic Bonding – ‘the development of strong emotional ties between two persons. thus increasing their dependency and attachment. with one person intermittently harassing. there are two features of the relationship that are evident and are described by Dutton as follows: 1. A profound power shift can be seen to occur in the contrition stage of the battering cycle described above. McClelland.
When an element of randomness or unpredictability of the reinforcement is introduced. Reinforcement of behaviour increases the likelihood of it occurring again. In this instance. © FPP Ltd 1999 18 of 50 Domestic Violence . fear and so on) followed by pleasant periods. this is particularly so. The powerfulness of the bond between the victim and the perpetrator is thus increased. The second feature of traumatic bonding is the intermittent nature of the abuse. both the removal of negative conditions and the pleasantness of the periods in between. This combination of circumstances constitutes a powerful ‘behavioural cocktail’.powerlessness when the victim rejects or even leaves them. in part. The perpetrator. Behaviour that is reinforced intermittently is extremely difficult to change. in recognising this power shift. The Intermittent Nature of the Abuse. The victim on the other hand may experience a sense of increased power in the clarity of the post-assault period when it is possible to take stock of the other’s behaviour and escape the relationship. where the dominant party intermittently abuses the victim. Gambling is very obvious example of behaviour that is powerfully maintained by random intermittent reinforcement. but where periods of relative normality exist in between bouts of violence. In Learning Theory or Behavioural Psychology this is known as an ‘intermittent schedule of reinforcement’. intimidation and sometimes further violence (this explains why victims are sometimes at greater risk of violence when they have just left a relationship). This is a useful angle as it moves away form the notion of negative stereotypes that have become associated with victims. Rather that the power imbalance is a perception particular to that relationship. Of particular importance in this theory is that it does not assert that there is necessarily (though there may be) a pre-existing ‘weak victim’ or ‘powerful perpetrator’ prior to the commencement of the relationship. The victim is therefore subjected to periods of extremely aversive conditions (violence. by the power dynamic itself”. typically tries to reverse the process by seduction. Dutton describes this ‘dance’ of power shifts as the process by which “both persons become welded together to maintain the psychological subsystem which fulfils the needs created. either physically or emotionally. reinforce the behaviour. the pleasantness of which may be further enhanced by relief at the removal of the negative conditions. which in this instance is engagement in the relationship. extreme stress.
the post-trauma symptoms (shock. The victim now associates relief of anxiety and stress with the presence of the partner through the process of conditioning that has already taken place. ‘Battered Woman Syndrome’ (Walker 1979). depression) may soon lift to be replaced by the huge anxiety of losing this powerful emotional attachment. there is no reason to believe that men would not experience similar symptoms in the event of exposure to repeated intermittent abuse. If the victim does leave the relationship. learned helplessness. the victim experiences. intrusive recollections. then the greater the reinforcement when it is removed and the more powerful the reward of the return to pleasantness. Secondary complex a) idealisation of the abuser (he’s really sweet underneath. Thus the cycle becomes more powerful in determining the victim’s behaviour and their desire for reinforcement. If the removal of an aversive experience is reinforcing. flashbacks. ‘Battered Woman Syndrome’ is composed of the following signs and symptoms: • Exposure to a relationship with repeated intermittent abuse. (1995). disbelief. then the more aversive the condition (the greater the violence).An important implication of viewing domestic violence in this way is that it helps to explain why an escalation in the severity of the violence does not always lead to a termination in the relationship. • Consequently. psychic numbing. However. I think I can anticipate and control his outbursts). b) lowered self esteem. anxiety. the strength of this model lies in its exploration of the dynamics within the relationship rather than simply exploring the ‘pathology’ of the participants. The theory of Traumatic Bonding is complex and can be explored more fully in Dutton. Although this term implies that the syndrome applies exclusively to women. he’s trying to change) b) denial of danger (things aren’t so bad. hyper-arousal. anxiety. Primary complex a) trauma symptoms. and therefore is likely to return to the relationship while the perpetrator is contrite and therefore able to provide plentiful reinforcement. © FPP Ltd 1999 19 of 50 Domestic Violence .
c) Suppression of anger (I’m not angry with him).e. “If I am good to others they will be good to me”. Although the secondary complex is the victim’s way of coping. Details of their presentation may be found in the general literature on Mental Health. Most of us believe that what happens to us is a result of our behaviour. “people get what they deserve”. but it serves the purpose of allowing us to feel reasonably safe. Often. Nonabused people tend to see the world as a just place. i. people who have been abused. even after the relationship is over. is a change in the way the world is viewed. To some extent this is a distorted view of the world. it often means that the victim will persist in their attachment. a benevolent place. • Depression • Repressed anger • Anxiety • Guilt • Shame • Low self-esteem All the above psychological consequences to assault are common.. which in turn leads to resistance to any therapeutic work. • Loss of the ‘Just World’ view. The primary complex described above relates to the traumatising effect of repeated violence and has been compared in the literature with PTSD. This view allows us to feel reasonably safe in the world as it lends an element of predictability to © FPP Ltd 1999 20 of 50 Domestic Violence . One of the possible results of being abused. lose the ability to see the world this way. Cognitive Changes. The Victim’s View of the World. The second stage represents the victim’s maladaptive way of coping with persistent danger and the consequences of traumatic bonding. Other Emotional Effects. and one over which we have some mastery.
To some extent this is an over-optimistic view of the world. the onus on them to protect themselves from these ‘forces’ is greatly magnified. • Loss of mastery. The ability to protect yourself is fundamental to self-efficacy. guilt. but it serves the purpose of allowing us to feel safe. It also attributes meaning to our lives. This essentially means that the victim loses the connection between their own behaviour and the outcome for them.) Victims of domestic violence also have to make sense of what has happened to them. anger and a variety of other emotional responses. then it must be down to someone else. their view of the world being a ‘just world’ is lost. Generally. • Loss of the ‘benevolent’ view of the world. When the victim believes that they are immersed in a malevolent and unjust world where anything can happen to them. it is very common for this reason for many of us to attribute negative qualities to the victim in order to make sense of the world. This state can lead to a sense of helplessness in the victim and a sense that at any time something bad can happen. A common symptom amongst victims is that they blame © FPP Ltd 1999 21 of 50 Domestic Violence . victims can develop a style of thinking referred to as the ‘abuse dichotomy’. Some victims extend this notion even further. For this reason it is common for victims of domestic violence to believe that they must be ‘bad’ or must in some way ‘deserve’ the violence. This is also a common cognitive shift in domestic violence victims. This in turn can lead to feelings of low self-esteem. the victim is constantly in search of safety. (Interestingly. Furthermore. which in turn is related to a sense of self. non-traumatised people tend to attribute benevolence to the world with regard to the likelihood of positive experiences occurring exceeding those of negative experiences. and allows us to place faith and trust in the wider structure of existence. that it probably will and that there is nothing you can do to control it. If the victim is unable to attribute meaning to the event. and believe that the universe has somehow singled them out for bad treatment and that they are doomed. For this reason. victims prefer not to lose this view of the world and instead attribute any negative events to their own behaviour. resulting in a loss of trust of others and a belief that those around them want to hurt them. Within this style is embedded the notion that any if anything bad happens it must be your fault (for being bad) and if anything good happens. fearful of helplessness and fearful of loss of control. Even though in reality the world is quite a dicey and dangerous place. Traumatised victims lose this sense of benevolence and instead replace this with malevolence that is us usually attributed to those around them.the future.
I am bad. • Responsibility – the abuse is my fault. I deserve this. good events are some one else’s doing. For example. Two processes are primarily responsible for these phenomena.themselves for the abuse occurring. that the offender did not intend to harm them or that the offence was not the perpetrator’s fault. I can prevent further violence by changing my own behaviour. This is the reason that victims often cling to their own cognitive distortions about offences being their fault. then this could happen again at any time. • Punishment – I am bad so I have to be punished. For example. the victim may believe that it was their responsibility to stop the offence taking place. I am dirty. The first process relates to the changes in the victim’s view of the world and how they come to understand what has happened to them (as detailed above). Accepting responsibility for the violence therefore allows the victim a greater sense of control and therefore a perception of greater safety. It is very common for the victim to internalise (accept as their own beliefs) the cognitive distortions held by the offender about the violence. © FPP Ltd 1999 22 of 50 Domestic Violence . wearing the wrong clothes or being late home from work. However. The reason this happens is that it allows them to control whether or not the abuse happens again in the future. These processes overlap and are inextricably linked. I deserve to be beaten. if you believe that the assault occurred because your partner has personality problems and needs to control and dominate you at all costs. The second is a process by which the victim internalises the cognitive distortions held by the perpetrator of the violence. I must have done something bad for this to happen. Examples of how victims think about themselves are below: • Characteristics of the self . • The abuse dichotomy – bad events are my fault. The Victim’s View of Themselves. Victims of domestic violence often describe a very distorted view of themselves. not slicing the bread correctly. if you believe that it was your fault for not loving your partner enough. I do not have any rights. These are known as victim ‘content thinking errors’. I have to do what I am told. I am at fault. I can control my partner’s behaviour. I can change my partner/the situation. helpless. then you can prevent it happening again by changing your own behaviour.
He/she does this because they were abused as a child. © FPP Ltd 1999 23 of 50 Domestic Violence . where perpetrators believe that their needs are paramount and that they can do nothing to stop themselves being violent. whilst perpetrators ‘victim stance’ (see themselves as blameless victims of circumstance and seek pity). offenders often display ‘super-optimism’. He/she is not really a violent person. ‘victim blame’. (often sympathising with the perpetrator) and deny themselves any sympathy. We had a ‘fight’. the victim believes the opposite about themselves – that their needs are unimportant/must be deferred and that they ‘should’ have done something to prevent it. If he/she didn’t drink alcohol he/she wouldn’t be violent.. Our little problem. victim ‘process thinking errors’ tend to take the form of the opposite to the offender’s thinking errors. I must provoke the violence in some way. I forced him/her to do it. victims do the opposite. Euphemistic Labels. Externalisation of Blame/ Distortions of Responsibility. The victim in contrast develops a malevolent view of the world and constantly expects bad things to happen to them. i. It’s just ‘acting out’.On the other hand. It was just ‘a slap’. He/she is a really lovely person underneath. Examples of Specific Cognitive Distortions. a belief that they are untouchable and can get away with anything. Similarly. This means that they take responsibility for the offence. Moral justifications. Alcohol is to blame for his/her violence. For example. Stress at work is the cause of the violence. He/she (the perpetrator) is just misunderstood. He/she gets a bit rough.e. Also.
like some do.It is the man’s responsibility to discipline their wife. He/she says it will never happen again and I believe them. I am worthless. He/she didn’t intend to harm me. I’ve got broad shoulders. they don’t really mean it. Internalisation of the Perpetrator’s Denigration of the Victim. Violence is a way of showing love. I deserve it. It wasn’t rape because I didn’t say ‘no’. Super-optimism/denial of risk. He/she does this because they love me. they would never seriously harm me. Anyone would have done the same (meaning violence). Nobody else could love me. I can take the insults. he/she has the right to beat me. I wasn’t seriously injured. It will never happen again. just a few bruises. It was on one-off. My father abused me so it must be something about me that asks for it. It is safer to stay because at least then I can control the situation. © FPP Ltd 1999 24 of 50 Domestic Violence . Denial of Intent. He/she just loses control. When he/she threatens me. If I change my behaviour I can prevent it happening again. It was a mistake/accident. At least he/she doesn’t use weapons. It was just a push. Minimising the harm/nature of the violence. If I don’t provide sex.
perhaps I am. Behavioural Consequences for the Victim. The man should always be in charge. Men are strong. In marriage you just have to put up with it.. • Giving up hobbies or interests. an effort to prevent the victim seeking help or to prevent the victim engaging in social interactions that would boost their self-esteem. it’s just that I don’t cope as well as others (victims). Sex is an entitlement in marriage. women are weak. • Leaving work. 1986). Social Isolation. Often the victim is placed under significant pressure from the perpetrator to avoid social contact with friends. © FPP Ltd 1999 25 of 50 Domestic Violence . Gender/culture based distortions. • Reluctance to seek any kind of help. • Withdrawal from family relationships. The victim may also withdraw in an effort to keep the secret of the violence within the home. and therefore social isolation is placing the victim at increased risk. (Levinson. Women must obey their husbands. I ‘belong’ to my partner. This may be a symptom of the perpetrators jealousy and insecurity. Everyone is violent to their partner. family or professionals. The social isolation may be achieved by violence or intimidation or by a subtle process of undermining the victim’s other significant relationships.He/she says I am mad. 1985: Jaffe et al. Research has demonstrated that good support systems actually reduce the frequency and severity of violence. Common examples are: • Withdrawal from friendships (particularly with the opposite gender). If the domestic chores are not done the woman deserves to be beaten.
• Drug abuse. The Protection of Children. but they also undergo a series of emotional and cognitive changes which have wide implications for how they see the world and the people in it. In the paragraph above.Maladaptive Coping Strategies. we have described the cognitive distortion that occurs in order to allow the victim to stay within the relationship. Victims of domestic violence are often severely psychologically compromised. it is very common amongst victims to find efforts to cope that are maladaptive and which create problems in their own right. Chronic fear and anxiety are common. This process of cognitive distortion can extend to the victim’s consideration of the risk that significant others within the family face. denial of the extent of harm the victim has suffered. it is possible that a victim of domestic violence may not be able to protect his or her children from the harm that may occur within the family. • Self-injury/mutilation. guilt. • Eating disorders. Common examples are: • Alcohol abuse. this involves the children of the family and any negative effects that domestic violence could have on them. It is likely that these symptoms will persist while the victim remains in the relationship and for a considerable time after the relationship has finished. often accompanied by depression. For this reason. This harm may take the form of direct violence. © FPP Ltd 1999 26 of 50 Domestic Violence . Experiencing domestic violence can create a number of emotional states that the victim finds hard to manage. Inherent within this process is denial of the risk posed by the violent party. For this reason. Typically. denial of the likelihood of it ever happening again and the victim’s acceptance of some/all of the blame for what has happened. humiliation and senses of helplessness and hopelessness. or psychological harm from witnessing violence or being used as a pawn or weapon within the relationship. Not only do the have to repeatedly face the traumatic physical and emotional effects that occur as a direct result of violence. anger. • Suicide/suicide attempts.
It is a good idea to give some consideration to gender issues at this stage as individual differences amongst victims mean that they are likely to respond in different ways to different gender workers. Consideration should be given to the gender of the perpetrator and how this will impact on the relationship with the worker. consideration should be given to whom is most able to provide the safety and support that is required during the assessment period. they may have contact through victim services. Firstly. Secondly. At a basic level this should be someone who is very familiar with the nature and consequences of domestic violence and is familiar with the assessment techniques outlined below. There are no rules in this regard. Ideally this would be someone with whom the victim already has a good relationship and with whom they are able to communicate openly. At a more complex level. © FPP Ltd 1999 27 of 50 Domestic Violence . Probation Officers may come into contact with victims of domestic violence in a number of different ways. and also how the victim has behaved in the past with workers of both genders. they may have contact with them because they are also offenders in some way. they may have informal contact with the victim because they are working with the perpetrator. Finally. The appropriateness of assessment work is clearly dictated by the context of the contact. If the Probation Officer decides that assessment is necessary. thought should be given to whom is the right person to do this assessment.Assessment of Victims of Domestic Violence. General Principles. The same guidelines should be applied to any cultural issues. Deciding who does the assessment. The Context. Always ask the victim how they feel about this issue. it is more a matter for consideration with the victim.
However. this can be a therapeutic experience for the victim in that they can learn that they are believed. Continuity of care is essential for a variety of reasons including the development of trust and safety and avoiding the need for repetition. This may be the first time that the abuse has been spoken about openly or in any detail. the level of trauma induced by discussing the details must not be underestimated and prior thought must be given to the nature of the likely consequences.Finally. © FPP Ltd 1999 28 of 50 Domestic Violence . Is this the right time to be doing the assessment? Getting the timing right can enormously improve the quality of the information gleaned from the assessment. For example someone who self injures may do so in the course of the assessment and the same applies to substance abuse. violence. who avoids painful issues by whatever means. It is worth noting that someone. Using what you know about how the victim copes with emotional issues. it is preferable for the assessment to be conducted by someone who will then have ongoing contact with the victim. you can predict their response. The following are issues to consider: • Does the victim wish to be assessed? • Is this the correct timing in terms of the development of the PO/victim relationship? • Is the victim able to acknowledge that domestic violence has occurred and has had an impact on their functioning? • Is this the right time from a psychological point of view? • Is this the right time in terms of the victim’s social context? • Are you able to guarantee an ongoing commitment to the victim in terms of contact? • In what ways will the assessment process impact on the victim’s relationship with the perpetrator and what implications does this have for the victim’s safety? What are the likely effects on the victim? Assessment of domestic violence is a traumatic experience for the victim. not judged or criticised and that someone is able to know of the violence without rejecting them or developing negative feelings towards them. depression and other means by which the victim copes. is likely to try to avoid the assessment itself. Handled correctly.
• Initial assessment of psychological state such as the presence of depression. volunteers or organisations such as Women’s Aid. prior to referral to Mental Health specialists. emotional and behavioural changes.For these reasons. such as alcohol abuse. PTSD etc. friends. This may involve family. including cognitive. • Assessment of specific behaviours that may be the consequence of domestic violence. Assessment may have a number of different functions. for example: Risk assessment • Risk of injury/death from perpetrator • Risk to themselves through self-injury or suicide • Risk they present to others such as children and potential victims of their violence/other offending. • Assessment of the psychological impact of the violence on the victim. it is a good idea to set up a support network prior to starting the assessment. © FPP Ltd 1999 29 of 50 Domestic Violence . self-injury. It is important to ensure that the supporters are comfortable with that role. • Assessing the nature and frequency of the violence. • Assessment of suitability for referral to other agencies for help. • Assessing the dynamics of the relationship in which it occurs. The focus of the assessment is determined by the purpose it serves. Having decided who is responsible for assessing the victim. • Assessment of the person’s readiness to and ability to bring about change. Careful assessment MUST precede any interventions. • All the above to inform the probation officer of appropriate interventions. The Purpose of The Assessment. it is important to focus clearly on the exact purpose or purposes of the assessment. Other assessments. and even more important to check that they are not in any way collusive with the perpetrator. a common problem in families.
harm.Where multidisciplinary teams are already involved. suicide/self. It is important to only use methods with which you are comfortable and competent. eating disorders. • Social factors maintaining their position. it is essential to share your thoughts with the team and come to some agreement about the preferred route and method of assessment. It is far easier to understand someone’s problems when they are viewed in the context of their personal history. • Previous violent/ abusive relationships. In the course of an assessment it is likely that new information will be revealed about the perpetrator and his actions. Some or all of the following methods may be appropriate for the person concerned. • Indicators of low self-esteem. In taking a full personal history on a victim of domestic violence significant findings in the personal histories of the victims might include the following: • Previous physical. emotional or sexual abuse. • Witnessing violence within the family. Generally speaking. • Other major life events such as bereavement or other losses. the client is likely to disclose information that may have implications for the safety of themselves and others. • The nature of their male/female role models. For this reason it is ESSENTIAL to set clear and limited confidentiality boundaries BEFORE work begins. people do not suddenly find themselves in problematic situations and there are often factors and conditions in their background that predispose them to particular problems or vulnerabilities. full personal histories should be taken where possible. etc. Assessment Methods The choice of assessment methods is dictated by the purpose of the assessment. © FPP Ltd 1999 30 of 50 Domestic Violence . • Evidence of avoidance coping style or other indications of difficulty in solving problems. Full Personal History. For this reason. • History of psychological vulnerability such as mental illness. Also.
moving on to physical and sexual abuse over time and with an escalation in frequency and severity). Victims are often no longer clear about what constitutes abuse and what does not. Also. It is important not to challenge cognitive distortion at this stage. Full History of the Abuse. © FPP Ltd 1999 31 of 50 Domestic Violence . psychological and sexual abuse (see the list at the beginning of the document for examples). For this reason. considerable sensitive probing may be required. Most importantly. • Is the victim also violent/abusive within the relationship? • Are any other members of the family involved? • How did the abuse come to light? • Are any other agencies involved and what has their response been? What is the Victim’s View of the Situation? In assessing this component. the history should include the following: • Details of how and when the victim met the perpetrator. victims have a tendency to minimise the nature and extent of the abuse or miss out significant areas such as sexual abuse. • Details of when the abuse began (including psychological abuse) and how this has progressed over time (often abuse starts with psychological abuse. you should expect to find a considerable degree of cognitive distortion in the victim.The above are examples only. A full history of the abuse is essential in understanding the problem. • How frequently do the different components of the abuse occur? • Full details of the nature of the physical. as this is likely to inhibit the assessment process. • Is there evidence of the cycle of abuse previously described? Explore each party’s behaviour within the cycle. This has arisen over time and is likely to be deeply embedded. you need to accurately assess the victim’s perspective of the situation if you are to understand the factors that are maintaining either the relationship or the psychological consequences to the violence. At a basic level. The personal history is the main way of assessing pre-assault factors as outlined in the introduction.
In addition. and the other issues discussed. which outlines cognitive effects. who may or may not be available. There are a number of advantages to using psychometric assessment in addition to the techniques outlined above. However. Also. The psychological consequences to the abuse and the dynamics of the relationship will explain the reasons for this to the worker and allow a constructive approach. Stockholm Syndrome. Victims often experience considerable stigma and prejudice as a result of their repeatedly returning to a violent relationship. victims are sometimes able to be more honest in questionnaires than in interviews because their responses are private (at the time of answering). The worker should be looking for evidence of one. but as an interview guide for future intervention. Psychological Consequences/ Relationship Dynamics. The features of the relationship dynamics and the psychological consequences for the victim are inextricably linked and are therefore discussed together. several or all of the phenomena described. such as PTSD. Psychometric Assessment. it is worthwhile assessing what the victim anticipates to be the consequences of leaving the relationship. depression. Completed questionnaires are valuable not simply because the ‘quantify’ the problem. It is important to refer to the previous section on the effects of domestic violence on the victims when assessing this area. Ultimately. behavioural symptoms. traumatic bonding. Secondly. The disadvantage of psychometric assessment is sometimes they need to be administered and interpreted by a psychologist. Firstly. the victim will also need to understand these issues in the course of intervention. as these may be significant.In assessing this area. the questions may jog their memory for forgotten issues and the existence of a questionnaire about the problem somehow normalises it. It is essential that this area is carefully explored. reference should be made to the earlier section of the document. you should try to elicit the victim’s view regarding their wishes for the relationship and their view of how realistic these wishes are. this is not always the © FPP Ltd 1999 32 of 50 Domestic Violence . psychometric tests might assess areas that might otherwise be forgotten or omitted.
1982 & NiCarthy. Prochaska and Diclementi (1986). • Psychological Maltreatment of Women Inventory (Tolman. However. It is further complicated by the fact that domestic violence is sometimes interactive and both partners may be contributing to the overall risk in some way. Risk Assessment. It is important to assess the victim’s readiness to change. rather than the likelihood of someone committing a crime.case. It is important to assess this area if you are to maximise the efficacy of your (or others’) interventions. Common issues in domestic violence that can be assessed using psychometric tools are: PTSD Risk of suicide/self harm Conflict resolution Anxiety Anger/hostility Depression Eating disorders More specific measures are also available: • Intermittency of Abuse Scale. Risk assessment in the event of domestic violence follows the same rules as other risk assessments. However. and the worker is advised to consult the individual tests or their FPP representative. 1982) • Trauma Symptom Checklist (Briere and Runtz 1989). They outline several key stages in the process of change and the worker’s intervention needs to be designed according to which stage the victim is currently at. the picture is a little muddied by the fact that you are often measuring the likelihood of someone being a victim. provide a model for understanding the stages of change. often the best way for the victim to protect themselves is to leave the relationship or to change some of the psychological factors that continue to place them at risk. • Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus 1979) Readiness to Change. Dutton & Painter (1993) • Attachment Scale (combined questions from Kitson. This does not indicate that the victim is in any way to blame for the violence. In order to simplify the situation it is important to © FPP Ltd 1999 33 of 50 Domestic Violence . 1989) • Severity of Violence Against Women Scale (Marshall 1992).
the broader the range of behaviour of this type (the breadth principle). Next. Then you measure them. all of which must be present: • They are factors about the individual • They are closely related (i. Therefore. Examples of dynamic risk factors for perpetrators of DV might be: © FPP Ltd 1999 34 of 50 Domestic Violence . Firstly. breadth) • Does the perpetrator commit other crimes? • Is the perpetrator violent towards others? The above issues are Static Risk Factors. they contribute) to the offending behaviour • They can change over time So. the more likely it is to happen again. Also. This means that if you are measuring the risk of self harm. The following procedure is essential to risk assessment and is described more fully in the work of David Thornton on the Anchored Structured Model of Risk Assessment. The first stage of risk assessment is to perform some sort of qualitative and quantitative analysis on the behaviour of concern. By definition. Dynamic risk factors are characterised by the following features. So. it is important to remember that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.. the more likely it is to happen again. these factors cannot change as they are fixed points or historical in nature. The more often something happens.e. the second stage of assessment is to consult the research to find out what factors about the individual are related to the behaviour of concern. in order to measure risk it is important to take into account Dynamic Risk Factors. in the case of measuring the likelihood of a victim being assaulted again it would be essential to measure the perpetrator’s behaviour along the following lines: • How many times has the perpetrator assaulted the victim? • What was the nature of the assaults (severity. such as the likelihood of re-offending.remember the golden rule of risk assessment – only measure one risk at a time. only use factors to measure that risk that directly impact on the likelihood of this happening and do not confuse this assessment with assessment of other things. you assess whether they apply to the individual and whether they are related to the behaviour of concern in that individual.
• Anger dyscontrol • Power issues • Poor conflict resolution skills • Impulsivity • Cognitive distortion • Lack of victim empathy Risk therefore either increases or decreases according to changes in the dynamic risk factors.g. © FPP Ltd 1999 35 of 50 Domestic Violence . Separate risk assessments need to be conducted regarding the risk to the victim from their own behaviour (e. Risk assessment is a complicated process and it may be that you need to seek advice on issues such as the nature of dynamic risk factors and how to measure them. the matching of the assessment outcome with an intervention that has been demonstrated to be effective in addressing these problems in this group of individuals.. depression. A similar risk assessment should be conducted for the victim in terms of their past behaviour and current dynamic risk factors. This refers to the accuracy with which the problem is assessed. and the choice of a theoretical approach and style that is acceptable to the victim. The efficacy of any intervention is closely related to the degree to which the intervention is matched to the needs of the individual. It is important to seek advice if you are in doubt about any of the above assessment procedures. Dynamic risk factors for victims might include cognitive distortion. alcohol abuse and so on. self-harm) and the risk presented to others from the victim. The risk to the victim will therefore be a combination of these two risk factors. Interventions with Victims of Domestic Violence How to Chose an Intervention.
It is beyond the scope of this document to offer in detail descriptions of the full range of theoretical approaches. initial focus should be on how this can be achieved safely. Firstly. These vary between individuals and within individuals over time (i. A common example is the risk that children face of damage as a result of witnessing or being otherwise caught up in violence. where the victim does not want to change the relationship or take steps to change the violence. because this may not be realistic and may reflect the entrenched cognitive distortions that victims develop. If the victim wants to maintain the relationship but stop the violence. as there are likely to be ongoing psychological consequences for the victim. On the other hand.The first item for consideration is the nature of the outcome that the victim desires. If the latter option is expressed. In considering the last two outcomes. it is important to give thought to whom else might be placed at risk as a result of this decision. intervention may be completely refused which is the victim’s right to do so. However. more complex interventions are required.e. they are likely to change their mind!). broad outlines are offered and suggestions for further reading offered at the end of the document. if it is realistic. principles and techniques for intervening in this issue. © FPP Ltd 1999 36 of 50 Domestic Violence . If the victim wants to leave the relationship. On the other hand. more complex psychological issues are at play and may require expert intervention.. Possible desired outcomes are: • Want to leave the relationship. However. Interventions. work is required by both parties in the relationship. intervention does not stop here. not just the victim. • Do not want to change the relationship or want help to change the violence. • Want the relationship to continue but the violence to stop (this is the most common). Clearly different interventions are required for different outcomes.
If the victim has decided to leave the relationship. • That careful consideration is given to issues around the children (letting the school know etc) After the victim has left. If the victim has not yet left the relationship. • Planning where to stay that presents the least risk. • Ensuring that the victim has access to money and personal documentation. the probation officer can assist in a number of ways. • That the victim makes links with an appropriate self-help organisation. © FPP Ltd 1999 37 of 50 Domestic Violence . they will have ongoing psychological needs as a result of the harm they have sustained.Leaving the relationship. by anticipating the relationship dynamics that often emerge and draw the victim back towards the perpetrator. • That it may help to make the police aware. this can be facilitated and the risk to the victim reduced by planning. Also. This would include: • Planning a time when the home can be left safely. interventions must be aimed at motivating the person to preserve their own safety. Furthermore. Women’s organisations suggest that an ‘escape plan’ should be made in advance if there is time. it is likely that victim will be tempted to return to the relationship when their own shock has abated and the perpetrator is in the contrition stage of the cycle (see previous sections). • That the victim takes any essential personal effects to avoid returning to the home. then the probation officer can assist in the more socially based issues by offering accommodation. risk issues must be taken seriously and a plan made to preserve ongoing safety. • That legal advice is sought. In addition. if the victim has already left the relationship as a result of an emergency. Firstly. Finally. it must be remembered that the risk to the person is somewhat magnified after leaving the relationship. so ongoing risk management strategies must be developed. if the victim manages to stay out of the relationship. or by referring them to someone whom can. financial or legal advice.
The aims of these meetings are to: • Offer support • Combat isolation • Empower women from being victims to being survivors • To allow recognition that others endure similar violence and therefore reduce guilt and stigma. it must be borne in mind that one third of victims leave refuges to return to their partner. Although this approach provides unique opportunities for victims. • In doing so. A realistic and immediate plan is formulated. 1981. The main objective of refuges is to offer shelter on an emergency basis for women and children (refuges for men are not yet available). A small minority offer counselling on an individual basis. 1985). (Binney.Use of Refuges. Independence and self-help is emphasised Repeated therapeutic contact is recommended. (1995) describes the use of ‘reality therapy’ in refuges and outlines eight steps to help battered women: The client is made to feel accepted and cared for: • she is allowed to relate details of experiences • assurance is given that she is not different • help is offered The client is asked what she did to end the abuse in the past: • a change in her own behaviour is emphasised Each description is evaluated Client’s goals for change are evaluated. Whipple. break the cycle of violence. but a greater number offer help through group ‘house meetings’. Harkell and Nixon. © FPP Ltd 1999 38 of 50 Domestic Violence . Client’s commitment is evaluated.
Dutton. The first is a ‘Non-molestation Order’ which states that the perpetrator must not use violence against the partner or children.5%). Subsidiary orders can be attached such as the Power of Arrest or an interim Custody Order. Victims should therefore be encouraged to report violence to the police where possible. In fact. Research evidence indicates that the involvement of the police reduces the likelihood of further attack on the victim. The propensity to commit acts of violence does not just ‘wear off’ nor does it necessarily decrease with age. Powers of Arrest Police have the power to arrest perpetrators of violence to partners for ABH or ‘behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace’. 1984. Jaffe et al. 1985. Thereafter.38%. he estimated that the likelihood of an incident of ‘wife assault’ being detected was in the region of 6. the most dangerous perpetrators of violence continue to do © FPP Ltd 1999 39 of 50 Domestic Violence . Approaches to managing this situation are divided.Use of the Legal System. Staying in the Relationship but Wanting the Violence to Stop. 1986).2% (of the 6. The overall probability of punishment by the court was then estimated at 0. Berk and Newton. Men can now be prosecuted for ‘marital rape’ as a result of an exemption recently being abolished in GB. Exclusion Orders dictate that the perpetrator leaves the marital home and stays away from it.5%. This includes mental violence. if detected. However. Secondly. Injunctions Under the 1976 Domestic Violence Act. at least in the short term (Sherman and Berk. Conviction rates for marital rape are encouragingly much higher than for spousal physical assault alone. two types of injunction are now available to victims. The extent to which the perpetrator is motivated to change their behaviour is central to a decision regarding the suitability of this arrangement. In addition they are now allowed to compel victims to give evidence against their partner under the Criminal Evidence Act (1986). From his studies in Canada. (1987) presents rather disheartening information regarding the likelihood of abuse being punished in the courts. Rape. the probability of arrest was 21.
© FPP Ltd 1999 40 of 50 Domestic Violence . A decision also has to be made in conjunction with the victim about whether group or individual approaches are more suitable. local organisations for helping victims should be contacted for information. This can be done via the victim’s GP or via local arrangements with mental health services. As already outlined. If there are mental health issues (depression. resolution of this issue requires a lot of active participation form both the perpetrator and the victim. each victim may have a unique constellation of symptoms. Therapy for victims can be provided by specialist groups/organisations or by community Mental Health professionals. an approach that fits the needs of the individual needs to be taken. others can be addressed by non-mental health professionals such as Probation Officers. If there are no mental health issues. some may best be addressed by working with other victims of domestic violence. Sometimes both are necessary. the Probation Officer might agree with the victim which issues to work on together in the course of their on-going contact. anxiety. In addition. Therapy for the Victim Alone. suicidal feelings and so on) it is necessary to make a referral to the local Mental Health Services. The task of intervention should include the following: • Giving information about domestic violence (this alone can be very empowering and should be the first stage of any intervention). Group experiences are very powerful as they come some way in reversing some of the components of domestic violence.so throughout their life. shame. Generally speaking. such as loneliness. Therefore. stigma. Some of these symptoms will require specialist intervention. guilt and the sense that victims develop of their problem being unique. A number of information sources are suggested at the end of this document. individual therapy provides privacy and a closer relationship with the therapist in which to talk about painful issues. PTSD. • Reducing isolation and loneliness through organisations or support network. On the other hand.
the perpetrator needs to be in agreement. then it is unlikely that therapy will be effective.Addressing the following may be necessary: • cognitive distortion • shame/guilt/stigma • anger • self-esteem • personal boundaries • empowerment/problem solving • gender roles • safety issues • maladaptive coping (alcohol abuse. Conjoint Treatment. motivated and willing to attend all sessions. Although primarily designed for perpetrators. © FPP Ltd 1999 41 of 50 Domestic Violence . clear communication is essential. When the violence is interactive (in both directions) this may be an appropriate intervention. it is help with decision making concerning victims. In all multidisciplinary working. Also. The decision tree shown overleaf is designed to help practitioners identify appropriate interventions. self injury. etc. It is only appropriate to suggest this type of treatment if there are NO IMMEDIATE safety issues for the victim or other members of the family.) Often individual work can be carried out in conjunction with that of the mental health workers. Also. Conjoint treatment is a controversial issue but it is commonly requested by the victim in the hope of resolving the issues in the relationship. unless expertly managed. where the power dynamics of the relationship inhibit the victim from speaking openly because of intimidation or fear of repercussions.
Cited in Browne. 1986.Treatment of Spouse Violence: Assessment Decision Tree. 1997) Presenting Couple NO Exit Is violence occurring? YES Possible shelter referral and police involvement NO Is the wife safe? Are children safe? NO YES NO Is wife aware of resources and shelter service? YES Mandatory referral to child protection services Referral to women’s support group. men’s workshop or individual therapy depending on specific needs NO Does the couple wish to live together? YES NO Are both spouses willing to participate? NO YES Select a treatment plan YES Is remediation reasonable? Can violence be controlled? CONJOINT COUPLE COUNSELLING and/or or MENS VIOLENCE GROUP and/or or CONJOINT COUNSELLING and MENS VIOLENCE GROUP and/or Alcohol Treatment Programme if necessary © FPP Ltd 1999 42 of 50 Domestic Violence . (From Rosenbaum and O’Leary.
and commonly. If it is believed that the victim (or others) is at ongoing risk. nobody else will ever want them. Finally. © FPP Ltd 1999 43 of 50 Domestic Violence . and it is common for child protection services to be involved (whether the victim wants it or not) when children are placed at risk. Victims who express a wish to stay in the relationship but refuse help are particularly at risk. such as learned helplessness. especially where there has been ongoing and escalating violence. However. There are a number of reasons why the victim may not accept help in reducing the violence they are experiencing. is that victims commonly come to believe that they can control the other person’s violence by giving in to greater demands or changing in the ways that the perpetrator wants them to. They may also fear ‘rocking the boat’ as they have come to believe that if they lose that relationship. Firstly. Only under circumstances where there are clear mental health issues. can the responsibility for protecting their safety be taken from the victim. Consideration should be given to the role of the following: • Social services and other child protection agencies. they may have psychological problems as a result of the violence. Secondly.Staying in the relationship and not wanting intervention. Multidisciplinary working is particularly essential in these circumstances. local risk management policies must be followed closely. depression and otherwise low self-efficacy. the victim accurately perceives the increased risk of violence that is associated with leaving the relationship or confronting the perpetrator. • Domestic Violence Units in local police services. if appropriate. and of concern. the victim may have internalised the cognitive distortions of the perpetrator and accepted that they are to blame for the violence. • Community mental health professionals. and therefore finds it more acceptable from a safety point of view to do nothing. Any children in the family may also be at risk. This may not apply to the protection of other members of the family however. Moreover. it is the victim’s right to chose whether or not they wish to receive help.
169-193. and Herbert.J. Dutton. Repeated and ongoing risk assessment is required as factors and conditions change.. American Sociological review. A. Law and Human Behaviour. D. P. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. R. Binney. Violence Towards Wives. E. and Dobash. R. E. Dobash.. 4(2). D. Browne. (1993) The Battered Woman Syndrome: Effects of severity and intermittency of abuse. D. usually in the form of a risk conference. E. it is essential that the professionals involved take steps to manage the ongoing risk.(1987). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Preventing Family Violence. Dutton. Surrey: Guilford Press.. & Newton. Berk. R. M. (1985). London: Wiley.. & Painter. Becker. Dutton. pp. The trauma symptom checklist (TSC-33): Early data on a new scale. S. Fourth Edition. V. and Runtz. Whatever decision the victim comes to about intervention. Dobash. and Dobash. 50: 253-262. R. 11(3): 189-206. Pahl (Ed). P. © FPP Ltd 1999 44 of 50 Domestic Violence . & Nixon. IL: Free Press. (1973) The Denial of Death.G. J.. K.Risk Management.G. Violence against Wives: A Case against Patriarchy. Reference should be made to the section on risk assessment. 614-22. G. M. References American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. R. Psychological and Criminal Justice Perspectives. Private Violence and Public Policy: The Needs of Battered Women and the Response of the Public Services. 151-162. London: Open Books. (1987) The criminal justice response to wife assault. (1979). J. Refuges and housing for battered women. Glencoe. Briere. 63(4). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. (1989). P. (1997). (1985) Does arrest really deter wife battery? An effort to replicate the findings of the Minneapolis spouse abuse experiment. Harkell. L. This should take a multidisciplinary format. In J Orford (Ed) Coping with Disorders in the Family. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. In J.. G (1995) The Domestic Assault of Women..
.. D. In N. C. 15(1-2). Reading. J. © FPP Ltd 1999 45 of 50 Domestic Violence . (1989) The Physical Abuse of Children. Maung. Roy (Ed) Battered women: A psychological study of domestic violence. (1987) Battered Women Who Kill: A Psychological Self-Defence as Legal Justification. Marshall. 26(5). (1986) The impact of police charges in incidents of wife abuse. K. MA: Lexington Books. (1980) Child Abuse as Aggression.Evason. Lie. New York: Avon. and Young. & Yllo. (1991) Intimate violence in lesbian relationships: Discussion of survey findings and practice implications. Battered Women Who Kill A Psychological Self-Defence as Legal Justification. 2: 510-524. J. B. Groth. Journal of Social Service Research. Journal of Family Violence. N.. Wolfe. Jones. (1990) Confronting Domestic Violence: Effective Police Responses. Hants: Gower. Lion. P. New York: Holt. London. (1982). Journal of Family Violence. C.. Victimisation and Policing in Inner-city London. 379-93.. E. N. Lexington.A. C.155. E. A. 7(2). A. D. Attachment to the spouse in divorce: A scale and its application.. London: Batsford. Kitson. 41-59. Chichester: Wiley pp. Aldershot.. Mayhew. Lexington. & Gentlewarrior. A. G.. In M. Journal of Marriage and the Family. (1977) Clinical Aspects of Battering.. T. (1941) Escape from freedom. pp136-150. Frude. L. P. B. M. Rinehart & Winston. J. 103-21. (1978) Images of Violence against Women. Ewing. D.. L. A Home Office and Research and Planning Unit Report. MA: Heath. G. Fromm. Current Anthropology. New York: Plenum Hart.. (1985) On wife-beating and intervention. (1986) The Islington Crime Survey: Crime. 1(1): 37-49. (1982). G. S.. Reese. P.N. Telford. J. Finkelhor.G. Victimology. London: HMSO. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Frude (Ed) Psychological Approaches to Child Abuse. (1992) Development of the Severity of Violence against Women Scales. and Austin. 44.. (1985) License to Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives. Levinson. (1979) Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender. (1993) The 1992 British Crime Survey.181. & Stubbing. N. E. MacLean. Frude. 665-666. Stuehling. In K Howells and C Hollin (Eds) Clinical Approaches to Violence. [Cited in Morely and Mullender (1994)] Jaffe. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. and Mirrless-Black.
Gelles.R Miller and N. Paper presented at the American Society of Criminology. (1979) Law Enforcement Policy and Ego Defences of the Hostage. In W. M. London: HMSO. C and Farrell... CA: Sage. In N. Straus. Department of Social Policy and Social Work [cited in Morely and Mullender.. NiCarthy. Faculty of Economic Social Studies. K.. D.. M. (pp3-27) New York: Plenum Press.. Law Enforcement. K. (1986) The treatment of marital violence. 49:261-272. K. M. A. R. L. 41. edition). A. University of Manchester. Heather (Eds) Treating Addictive Behaviours: Processes of Change. A Survey of spousal violence against women in Kentucky. A. A. San Diego. 61: 339-346. Seattle. Painter. (1980). New York: Halstead. Survey Report: Key Findings and Recommendations.O and DiClemente. Sampson. A. (1975) Power: The inner experience. J. Jacobson and A. (1982) Getting free: A handbook for women in abusive relationships. J. (1991) Wife Rape. A. R.W. A. T. New York: Guilford. Home Office Research Study No. R. R.. Star... M. M. & Steinmetz. (1985) Is family violence increasing? A comparison of 1979 and 1985 national survey rates. Schulman. 75-88. Sherman. Straus. Washington DC: US Department of Justice. Newbury Park. 1994] Pease.McClelland.. (1979). Croft. Straus.. CA. Gelles.. Garden City. & Steinmetz.C. B. Patterns of Family Violence. Marriage and the Law. Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family (rev. 2. American Sociological Review. (1980). Smith. Social Casework. Straus.. S. S. 107. (1979) Measuring family conflict and violence: The Conflict Tactics Scale. Gurman (Eds) Clinical Handbook of Marital Therapy. G. G. (1980) Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family. Gelles. J. Washington: Seal Press.D. Journal of Marriage and the Family. Rosenbaum. & O’Leary. Phillips. I. (1991) Strategy for the Manchester University Violent Crime Prevention Project. © FPP Ltd 1999 46 of 50 Domestic Violence . C. August [cited in Morley and Mullender 1994] Procahska. & Berk. J. NY: Anchor/Doubleday. (1986) Towards a comprehensive model of change. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. (1984) The specific deterrent effects of arrest for domestic assault. Strentz. L. (1989) Domestic Violence: An Overview of the Literature.
New York: Harper & Row. Robert. Kevin and Herbert. Violence and Victims. D.Issues in Children’s and Families’ Lives. L. power and violence. Martin. Friday 10am-3pm.. R. In R. V. Yllo. Tolman. Walker. Newbury Park. (1985) The use of reality therapy with battered women in domestic violence shelters. Wiley nd • Family Violence (2 edition) – Prevention and Treatment. L. Women’s Aid National Helpline – 0345 023 468 This service offers advice and information. Donald Dutton (1995). (1979) The Battered Woman. Journal of Reality Therapy. 5: 22-27. (1980) The ‘second injury’ to victims and ‘Acute responses of victims to terror’. Browne. (1989) The development of a measure of psychological maltreatment of women by their male partners. a website is available: www. (editor).uk. 158-77. Psychological and Criminal Justice Perspectives. (1999) Hampton. Evaluation and Change.Symonds. © FPP Ltd 1999 47 of 50 Domestic Violence . Self-help/Advice Lines. CA: Sage. • The Domestic Assault of Women. K.womensaid. UBC Press: Vancouver. Welsh Women’s Aid is available on 01222 390874 Refuge 24hr National Crisis Line – 0990 995 443 This organisation offers support and advice 24hrs a day 7 days a week and can also organise refuge places for women and children throughout the UK. Special issue.E. Local Women’s Aid can be contacted outside of these hours from local phone books. 36-41. Whipple. • Preventing Family Violence (1997). The John and Kelly Hartman Series .. pp.R Loseke (Eds) Current Controversies on Family Violence. 4(3).J Gelles and D..M. Also. Recommended Reading. May advise regarding legal matters and facilitate refuge referrals (there are 300 nationally). (1993) Through a feminist lens: gender.org. 4762. The helpline is open 10am-5pm Mon-Thursday.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder . There are some local groups in the UK. The line is open 9am –10pm on Monday and Wednesday. London Rape Crisis Centre. or horror. Run by women. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present: 1) the person experienced. Women’s Therapy Centre – 0171 263 6200 Offers information about the service and other provisions relating to women’s mental health.DSM IV Criteria.Men’s Advice Line and Enquiries. or threat to the physical integrity of self or others 2) the person’s response involved intense fear. A telephone line for women and girls who have been sexually assaulted. This is free and confidential and there is no requirement for the offence to have been reported to the police. National Child Protection Helpline (NSPCC) 0800 800 500. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following ways: © FPP Ltd 1999 48 of 50 Domestic Violence . Local numbers from telephone book. Free confidential line for anyone concerned about the welfare of children. A. – 0181 644 9914 Information for men experiencing domestic violence. or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury. witnessed. Victim Support – 0845 30 30 900 Advice and support is offered. helplessness. B. The Samaritans – 0345 90 90 90 24hr support for anyone in crisis. Shelterline – 0808 800 4444 This organisation provides emergency access to refuges.
Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma).. 5) feeling of detachment or estrangement from others. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma). including images. 6) restricted range of affect (e.1) recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event. or normal life span). as indicated by three (or more) of the following: 1) efforts to avoid thoughts. 2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event. D.g. 3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience. places or people that rouse recollections of the trauma.. 5) physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolise or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event. children.C. 3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma. as indicated by two (or more) of the following: 1) difficulty falling or staying asleep 2) irritability or outbursts of anger. 3) difficulty concentrating 4) hypervigilance 5) exaggerated startle response. 7) sense of a foreshortened future (e. illusions. feelings or conversations associated with the trauma. C. including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated. thoughts or perceptions. marriage. hallucinations.g. does not expect to have a career. and dissociative flashback episodes. 4) markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities.D) is more than one month. unable to have loving feelings). © FPP Ltd 1999 49 of 50 Domestic Violence . 2) efforts to avoid activities. E. Duration of the symptoms (B. 4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolise or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
Can be acute/chronic/delayed onset. occupational or other important area of functioning. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment of social. © FPP Ltd 1999 50 of 50 Domestic Violence .F.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.