Violence against Women as the Healthcare Issue in London Borough of Hounslow
2. Overview of violence against women as the psychological problem
3. The fact of violence against women in London Borough of Hounslow
4. Suggestions and Solutions (key findings)
5. Borough of Hounslow attempts to eliminate violence against women
Domestic violence as the serious psychological problem has been present in society and accepted practice of many cultures for hundreds of years. Over the past two decades, extensive research has been done on the dynamics of domestic violence. Through this research, many of the aspects of domestic violence are better understood. Various researchers have studied the characteristics of both the female victim and the male perpetrator, and have researched the effects on men, women, and the invisible victims of domestic violence: the children. This paper will hypothesize that an exposure to violence leads to emotional instability in women. The dependent variable of this paper will be emotional instability. The independent variable will be the exposure to domestic violence.
In order to conceptualize domestic violence and emotional instability the concepts must be defined. Domestic violence includes pushing, slapping, or grabbing, throwing objects, kicking, biting or punching, beating up, raping or sexually exploiting an adult or child and/or threatening with a weapon. Emotional instability includes behavioral problems, depression, lack of attachment or emotional bond to a boyfriend or husband, low cognitive ability and educational achievement, and poor social skills.
Overview of violence against women as the psychological problem
Measurement of domestic violence as the psychological issue in London Borough of Hounslow is complex and varied. To measure the frequency of domestic violence, a women’s refuge or shelter are most likely to house the victims of domestic violence. After arraignment to meet with the victims, questions will include the number of time the following events had taken place e.g., slapping, or grabbing, throwing objects, kicking, biting or punching, beating up, raping or sexually exploiting an adult or threatening with a weapon. The measure will be score on a 0, 1 binary scale whereby if the respondent indicates that they have experienced any one or more of the events, they receive a score of 1, if they have experienced none of the events they receive a score of 0.
When measuring emotional instability in women it may be important to get husband’s opinion. Information will be collected directly from the husband concerning the woman’s behavior during the previous 6 months. A number of questions will include internalizing or externalizing behaviors. Internalizing behaviors include sadness, depression, and lack of attachment or emotional bond to the boyfriend or husband. Externalizing behaviors include being oppositional, aggressive, and overactive. In addition, other questions will base on a job performance, functioning at home, peer relationships, and poor social skill. From these items, the measure will be score on a 0, 1 binary scale whereby if the respondent indicates that they have observed any one or more of the events, they receive a score of 1, if they have experienced none of the events they receive a score of 0. Higher scores indicate more problems.
The fact of violence against women in London Borough of Hounslow
London Borough of Hounslow fits into the UK Domestic Violence study, launched in 1999. It an intensive longitudinal evaluation of a cohort of British women who were either victims of physical abuse, witnesses of spouse abuse, both victims and witnesses, or neither victims nor witnesses. Women were evaluated three times. In Phase I, when the women averaged 18 years of age, mothers, fathers, and their teachers were asked to evaluate the women’s peer relationships. In Phase II, approximately 25 to 35 years old women, colleagues at work were asked to provide information about the target women’s adjustment and job performance. In Phase III, when the participants averaged older than 35 years of age, women themselves were interviewed about various aspects of their development. The current paper focuses on violence as the psychological issue in London Borough of Hounslow, as reflected by data collected in Phases I and II.
Suggestions and Solutions (key findings)
In London Borough of Hounslow, two sets of variables were determined: dependent and independent variables. The independent variables were set as age, gender, and the domestic violence level. The dependent variables, thus, were selected as the degree of psychological harm based on the independent variables. In other words, the relationship between dependent and independent variables can be best understood as the formula with F(x) and x, where F(x) is the function (dependent variable) and x is the factor (independent variable) that influences the outcome of the function. The study that is depicted in this paper aims to discover to what extent gender, age, and level of violence should be viewed as significant factors in determining the degree of post-psychological stress caused to the participants.
The sample comprised 110 18 – to 23-year-old women and their relatives (Coie, Dodge & Kupersmidt 1990, p.67). In order to control for risk factors that hampered the interpretation of earlier findings, only women who were living at home with both biological parents were chosen (Coie, Dodge & Kupersmidt 1990, p.67). Mentally retarded women, women who were victims of sexual abuse, and only women who were victims of psychological maltreatment were excluded from the study. Also excluded from the sample were young women whose parents were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Social workers were asked to identify women in their caseloads who were believed to be victims or witnesses of domestic violence and to provide detailed descriptions of at least one incident of woman or spouse abuse in the past 6 months. The information they provided was supplemented by interviews with parents and women. Specifically, husbands’ and wives’ responses to questions on the Area of Change Questionnaire (Margolin, Talovic, & Weinstein, 1983) about hitting one another, as well as mothers’ and children’s responses in semi-structured interviews were used to corroborate the social workers’ reports. For purposes of the initial analysis, a report of child or spouse abuse by any informant was sufficient to place the young woman in one of four groups — child abuse (n = 33), spouse abuse (n = 16), abused witnesses (n = 30), and comparison (n = 31).
Data Collection in the Home
The young women’s and parents’ reports of behavior problems, depressive symptoms, and perceptions of the parents were analysed and described in a number of reports (Sternberg et al., 1993; Sternberg, Lamb, Greenbaum, Dawud, Cortes, & Lorey, 1994). Briefly, the study depicted in this paper found that, although there were differences among women in the four groups with respect to behavior problems, these differences depended on the informant. For example, women who were abused by their husbands reported the highest level of behavior problems in their children (on the binary scale shown in the introductory paragraph), whereas women who were not abused reported similar levels of behavior problems whether or not the child was abused binary score being lower).
In contrast, when children were the informants, those children who themselves were abused (child abuse and abused witness) reported the highest levels of behavioral problems (highest binary score). Interestingly, although children reported fewer problems than mothers did, group differences were evident on the internalizing subscales of the Youth Self-Report (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1987), whereas analyses of parental reports revealed no group differences in internalized behavior problems. Differences among informants underscore the fact that different reporters are sensitive to different types of information (Sternberg et al., 1997), and highlight the importance of obtaining information from more than one informant.
An analysis of children’s perceptions of their parents using the Family Relations Test (Bene & Anthony, 1957) revealed that children who were abused by their parents assigned more negative attributes to abusive parents (Sternberg et al., 1994). When only one parent was abusive, however, children’s perceptions of their non-abusive parents resembled those of children in the comparison group. These findings show how important it is to collect information about both perpetrating and non-perpetrating parents in violent families.
Phase I Results
Contrary to the general predictions, teachers perceived few differences between young women who were exposed to family violence and their counterparts in the comparison group (Coie, Dodge & Kupersmidt 1990, pp. 27-29). On the TRF, teachers reported no differences between girls in the violence group and girls in the comparison group, although it is noteworthy that the majority of young women in this sample were reported to have many behavior problems. On the average, teachers assigned the girls scores ranging from 1 to 1.5 standard deviations above the mean scores in Achenbach’s standardization sample, and two thirds of the young women in this sample were viewed by their teachers as in need of clinical intervention.
Girls who experienced some violence differed from those in the comparison group on the Adaptive Functioning Dimension on the TRF, however, with girls in the violence group deemed less competent than girls in the comparison group. It was again interesting to note that most of the girls in this sample were assigned scores below the average in Achenbach’s standardization sample. Whereas the average scores in Achenbach’s sample ranged between 17 and 19 (depending on gender), the average scores in our sample ranged from 10 to 15, with young women in the violence groups obtaining lower scores than women in the comparison group (results are summarized in Table 1). Interestingly, there were no group differences on the academic functioning dimension; most of the women were considered by their teachers to be performing quite poorly, regardless of their exposure to family violence (results are summarized in Table 1). Peers and teachers’ perceptions of girls’ peer relationships on the RCP and the TRSPR, respectively were examined next. A review of the RCP ratings suggests that classmates did not view target women in the violent and nonviolent groups differently (results are summarized in Table 2). Likewise, teachers did not report group differences on the TRSPR, although girls in the study (whether in the violence or comparison groups) were considered more aggressive, more isolated, and less effective as leaders than their classmates. These findings suggest that the children in the sample had less competent peer styles than randomly selected classmates, but that their social competence was not affected by violent experiences in the home.
Group Differences in Adaptive Functioning Score — Phase I
Child Abused Combined
Abuse Witnesses Witnesses Violence Comparison
Dimension (n = 16) (n = 9) (n = 13) (n = 38) (n = 19)
Total adaptive 11.20 * 11.22 * 10.85 * 11.08 * 15.17 *
functioning (4.07) (5.38) (3.53) (4.13) (5.29)
Academic 2.56 2.00 2.20 2.29 2.18
functioning (1.23) (1.29) (.77) (1.09) (.81)
Note. Standard deviations appear in parentheses, * p < .05.
Peer and Teacher Ratings of the Young Women’s Social Styles With Peers
Girls Abused Combined
Social Style Abuse Witnesses Witnesses Violence Comparison
(n = 16) (n = 10) (n = 13) (n = 39) (n = 16)
Sociability 2.64 1.90 1.79 2.17 2.06
(1.48) (1.56) (1.05) (1.40) (1.53)
Sensitivity 1.80 1.56 1.51 1.64 1.53
(1.01) (1.02) (1.09) (1.02) (1.19)
Well-behaving 1.35 1.45 1.30 1.37 1.14
(1.03) (1.01) (1.08) (1.04) (1.10)
Aggression 2.07 1.76 1.62 1.84 1.47
(.74) (1.16) (.86) (.90) (1.23)
Teacher rating scales (n = 18) (n = 11) (n = 13) (n = 42) (n = 21)
Leadership 2.72 2.09 3.70 2.86 3.19
(1.3) (2.1) (1.8) (1.7) (1.5)
Aggression 3.55 3.90 3.00 3.48 2.20
(2.3) (2.1) (1.8) (2.1) (1.6)
Isolation 3.94 5.20 2.80 4.10 3.35
(2.36) (2.1) (1.8) (2.3) (2.3)
Note. There were no significant group differences; standard deviations appear in parentheses.
In summary, although there were few differences between women who had and had not been exposed to domestic violence, most of the young women in this sample were rated by their teachers as having more behavioral symptoms than average, poorer than average social skills, and poorer academic skills than average. This suggests that the other disadvantages faced by these relatively impoverished women overwhelmed any effects of exposure to domestic violence. If true, this would underscore the importance of evaluating other possible influences on young woman adjustment when exploring the effects of domestic violence or other traumatic events (Krispin, Sternberg & Lamb 1992, pp. 299-302).
Approximately 2 years after the initial assessment, the researchers who conducted the first study began contacting the teachers and college counselors of the 110 women who participated in Phase I of the study. By this time, the women were married were no longer at colleges. Eighteen principals refused to participate, six of them for religious reasons. The information was obtained from 83 of the teachers, however. The participants averaged 24.7 years of age when their teachers were interviewed about their adjustment.
In order to examine the long-term effects of family violence, they attempted to re-assess the presence and extent of family violence by asking social workers to describe violent incidents reported to them since Phase I. Unfortunately, the researchers were able to obtain detailed information from social workers concerning only 48% of the families (Krispin, Sternberg & Lamb 1992, pp. 299-302). Many of the families were no longer under the supervision of the original caseworkers, and no new information was available, so for purposes of the analyses reported here, the adolescents are classified into violence groups based on the information obtained in Phase I.
Phase II Results
In Phase II, colleagues’ responses on the TRF revealed significant differences between women in the violence and comparison groups on the externalizing and total behavior problems (results are summarized in Table 3). Women who experienced violence were perceived by their colleagues as having more problems and poorer overall adjustment at work than the women who did not experience violence. In addition, most of the women in this sample (77%), including two thirds of the women in the comparison group, were believed by their teachers to have behavior problems severe enough to warrant clinical intervention. Furthermore, based on the norms developed by Achenbach, most of the women in this sample were assigned below average adjustment scores.
Colleagues’ Evaluations of Women’s Behavior Problems in Phase II
Child Abused Combined
Abuse Witnesses Witnesses Violence Comparison
Behavior Problem (n = 20) (n = 14) (n = 25) (n = 59) (n = 24)
Withdrawal 59.05 59.21 60.80 59.85 60.21
(7.76) (5.58) (9.99) (8.29) (8.57)
Somatic 54.32 59.00 58.20 57.12 53.33
6.69) (10.66) (10.00) (9.29) (6.69)
Anxiety/depression 63.52 60.64 63.88 62.98 * 58.92 *
7.27) (7.84) (7.57) (7.52) (7.59)
Thoughts problems 63.05 59.93 60.12 61.03 * 55.83 *
12.20) (10.97) (9.09) (10.55) (8.97)
Attention 58.32 59.79 59.12 59.02 * 55.92 *
6.56) (6.92) (6.62) (6.58) (5.68)
Delinquency 59.16 63.14 62.48 61.55 58.17
7.09) (10.03) (8.01) (9.29) (8.67)
Aggression 60.53 60.14 63.44 * 61.69 * 55.83 *
8.49) (7.08) (8.39) (8.14) (6.70)
Social 62.53 61.43 64.32 * 63.03 * 58.08 *
6.49) (6.61) (9.44) (7.89) (6.84)
Total problems 61.26 61.57 63.92 * 62.48 * 56.13 *
&69) (10.14) (8.30) (8.83) (10.19)
Internalizing problems 61.21 59.64 63.24 61.71 57.92
7.7) (10.75) (9.17) (9.09) (10.85)
Externalizing problems 59.84 60.86 62.84 * 61.39 * 54.63 *
8.26) (8.37) (9.05) (8.59) (9.24)
Total adaptive functioning 14.25 11.77 14.59 13.80 15.65
6.80) (4.69) (4.72) (5.59) (5.99)
Academic functioning 2.55 2.53 2.57 2.55 2.36
1.07) (.75) (1.00) (.97) (1.01)
Note. Standard deviations appear in parentheses; sample sizes vary slightly depend in the extent of the colleagues’ responsiveness.
* p < .05.
Women in violence groups were perceived by their colleagues as performing well below average, whereas women in the comparison group were perceived as somewhat less than average in their performance. Viewed together, these findings suggest that most of the women in this sample were having substantial problems in the job context. These results also suggest that violence in the family posed an additional risk to a group of women already vulnerable to behavioral and academic problems.
This paper summarized the results of a longitudinal study concerned with the effects of domestic violence on women’s relationships with others in London Borough of Hounslow. In Phase I of the study, researchers found that neither teachers nor peers were able to discern many differences between girls who had and had not experienced domestic violence. They were somewhat surprised by the small number of group differences, especially because other researchers showed domestic violence to have harmful effects on women’s adjustment and performance in the college (Eckenrode et al., 1993; Salzinger, Kaplan, Pelcovitz, Samit, & Krieger, 1984). What might account for the differences between these reports and our own findings?
The absence of group differences on the measures of studies performance and motivation indicate that women in all four groups performed equivalently, not that the women exposed to family violence performed particularly well. In fact, the range of scores obtained by women in Phase I suggests that most of the women in this study were deemed at risk for behavioral and academic problems by their teachers and were perceived as less competent socially than classmates. Although socio-metric ratings by classmates did not distinguish between target girls in the violent and nonviolent groups, for example, classmates assigned more negative and fewer positive roles to the women in our sample than to other classmates. The absence of differences between the violence and comparison groups is attributable to the care with which the comparison group was recruited. All of the families in the study were recruited from among those Hounslow families who faced multiple economic and social hardships (Krispin, Sternberg & Lamb 1992, pp. 304-306).
The disadvantaged environments in which these women live may help explain the relatively high levels of behavior problems reported by college teachers and other informants. In this multiproblem context, the net effects of exposure to family violence are less dramatic than when the effects of family violence are unknowingly confounded with effects of various other stresses and strains. Interestingly, Eckenrode et al. (1993) also reported that SES influenced girl’s academic performance independent of their maltreatment status.
The magnitude of the group differences reported by other researchers is also exaggerated because the women exposed to family violence often experienced additional traumatic events such as parental divorce and separation, residential moves, foster placement, and shelter living, and the effects of these stressful and disruptive experiences may be misattributed to the domestic violence itself. This observation speaks to a continuing need for researchers to be sure that their comparison groups are carefully matched on all relevant characteristics, something that has not always been achieved in the research about domestic violence. Additional research is needed to better explore the relative impact of spousal abuse on children in families facing many social and economic challenges.
In Phase II, the findings were more congruent with the initial predictions. As in Phase I, most of the adolescents (including those in the comparison group) were perceived as having substantial behavioral and academic problems. In addition, however, women who experienced violence in the home were viewed by their colleagues as displaying more behavior problems and more problematic relationships with their peers than women from nonviolent families. As in Eckenrode et al.’s study (1993), women in Hounslow sample behaved in ways that were likely to get them in trouble with others. Information provided by people in Phase II suggested that women in this sample, particularly those exposed to violence, lack important social and academic skills, and are thus, not likely to manifest social and emotional problems as they enter adulthood (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1986).
Contrary to the general predictions, however, few differences among the three violence groups (woman abuse, witnesses, and abused witnesses) were discerned by relatives in either phase of the study. There are several possible explanations for the inability to distinguish among the groups of women who experienced different types of violence. First, women in the woman abuse, child witnesses or abused witnesses groups presumably experienced quite different experiences, and differences in the types of events, as well as their frequency, chronicity, and severity are expected to influence women’s responses. Second, women surely respond differently, even to the same experiences. Although most women are adversely affected by being victims or witnesses of violence, their responses are too diverse to constitute any kind of syndrome, and the relatively small cell sizes in this study precluded efforts to explore individual differences more thoroughly.
In conclusion, it is essential to underline the importance for women of such aspects as happiness in the family, job that the children bring to a woman’s life. For some people family violence may become an obstacle to being successful at their job. Majority of women can not make a good career without being happy with a beloved person or husband. And in such extreme situations when being abused by people whom they love, the obstacles appear for the success in the rest of a woman’s life. It starts with the emotional instability, reflects on the relations with people, and the worst thing is that it goes down to the woman’s physical body. The study reveals that those women who were abused or insulted often die from cancer or related diseases. Each woman has to make her own choice of whether to be with a husband who abuses her or to break up with him and start a new life. It’s difficult to do when there are children in the family, but still it’s better to solve the situation by leaving than to be a victim for the rest of life. For some time, after making this step forward, it may seem that a woman looses ground under her feet, but later things will arrange in a proper way. And, if lead by the God’s will the life will become better shaped for a woman and she will meet a person who will really love a woman, and become happy eventually.
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