SOURCE: Vision Media

Vision Media

March 30, 2010 13:47 ET

Family & Relationships: Is the Recession Causing a Rise in Domestic Violence? -- Discusses Domestic Violence Statistics in Society and Culture Today

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - March 30, 2010) - Despite the number of domestic violence agencies that network the country, coalitions across the United States are currently reporting a significant rise in family violence during 2009. But this problem is not confined to the U.S. During the first months of 2010, similar news reports have surfaced from Australia, the U.K., China and Malaysia, among other countries. Although some focus on the recession as the main cause for this increase, a new family and relationships article from asks whether the problem may have even deeper roots.

"What do researchers really know about domestic violence and the factors that cause families to resort to harmful, self-destructive behaviors?" asks family and relationships editor Gina Stepp. "And how can communities help families replace violent relationships with healthy ones?" There is no doubt that financial woes add more strain to already violent relationships, and that financially strapped agencies have fewer resources to help victims. And it's true that both of these factors contribute to the rise of reported domestic-related crime. However, it is also true that not everyone who is financially stressed feels compelled to inflict violence on their families.

"Research suggests that individual and community attitudes toward solving conflict can have an important effect on family violence," says Stepp. "When nations, society and culture and the media portray violence as an acceptable approach to problem-solving, individuals and families can hardly be expected to reject violence in their own relationships. And when children witness violence between their parents within the home, they are more likely to repeat the cycle."

Current domestic violence statistics are disturbing enough on their own, but even more concerning is the fact that they likely represent only the tip of the iceberg. The most obvious reason for this is that the majority of family violence takes place in the privacy of the home, and only a small percentage is reported. These tend to be the most tragic incidents -- those that result in serious injury or death. Even then, some fatalities may be classified in official records under criminal categories that are not taken into consideration when national and international family violence statistics are compiled.

Further complicating the issue in society and culture is the fact that in some countries, many violent acts between family members are still not considered crimes. For instance, a United Nations study released in 2006 reported that as many as 102 of the 192 Member States have no specific legal sanctions against domestic violence. Even in the United States, certain acts (such as marital rape) were categorized as crimes only as recently as the 1970s.

"Researchers are recognizing an important connection between individual, family and community factors in family violence," says Stepp. For more about these factors read "Family Violence" at

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    Edwin Stepp
    Vision Media Productions
    626 535-0444 ext 105