According to the United States department of justice, domestic violence is defined as “a pattern of abusive behaviours in any relationship that are used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner”. It involves a pattern of coercive behaviour in intimate relationships whereby the behaviour is controlled through humiliation, intimidation, fear, and often intentional physical, emotional or sexual injury. Domestic violence crosses all ethnic, socioeconomic and age groups, and is also prevalent in same sex relationships.
Over six million children are severely assaulted by family members every year in the United States; a man beats a woman every twelve seconds; women who leave their batterer are at 75% greater risk of being killed by their batterer than those who stay; and one third of police time is spending on answering domestic violence calls.
In domestic violence situations the intervention is frequently in crisis, where the victims “fight” for survival, and it is necessary to give proper answers according to the victim's needs. The professionals that work directly with domestic violence assume that there is a strong bond connecting the domestic violence with mental health. In the United States 90% of domestic violence survivors report extreme emotional distress; 47.5% report having been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder; 14.7% report anxiety; 20% depression. Mental illnesses are frequently observed in domestic violence survivors.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.