The purpose of the proposed study is to examine the feasibility of establishing a support information system to assist the New York City Department of Corrections C.A.R.E. unit in handling female employee domestic violence cases. To add context to the study, this chapter of the proposal examines the current literature on domestic violence against females.
The review first delineates the general scope of the problem. This delineation is then followed by an examination of the psychological, legal, and community responses taken to reduce and/or remediate the problem.
Domestic Violence Against Females: Scope and Dimensions
According to a report issued by the Public Health Service (1990), at least 18 percent of all homicides in the United States occur within families with the risk for women being 1.3 times that of their husbands. However, according to Campbell (1986), even when wives kill their husbands, self-defense is involved approximately seven times as often as when husbands kill their wives.
In terms of actual numbers, Straus and Gelles (1990) state that about 1.8 million women are battered by their husbands each year in America. The authors further state that this figure is low because it does not include violence against women in either dating or cohabitating relationships.
Straus and Gelles also report that while all spousal violence is serious, abuse of female partners is a particularly serious community health problem; and this for several reasons. These reasons include its greater prevalence, the stronger potential for homicide, the effects on the children, and its more serious long-term emotional and physical consequences.
In their discussion of spousal violence against women, Papalia and Olds (1992) noted that there are definite patterns to the violence. First, it usually begins with only a shove or a slap; however, over the course of the relationship, it soon escalates to a beating. Second, wives ...