Oneof the major causes of domestic violence in the modern society isfinancial and economic hardship. In the recent past, the UnitedStates society has experienced one of the worst economic andfinancial crises in the modern era. As a result, many familiesexperienced economic and financial challenges, which have adverseeffects on relationships in the family. As a result of the financialcrisis, an increased number of people are likely to be unemployed.For example, by late 2000s, the unemployment rates recorded in theUnited States were highest since the early 1980s. Additionally, whenthe length of unemployment per individual is considered, thesituation was the worst since the government started tracking thedata in the mid 20thcentury. During the same period, statistics indicates that the numberof domestic violence in the United States increased significantly(Smith, 2008). This suggests that economic hardship has animplication on domestic violence. It is important to note that therelationship between domestic violence and financial or economicchallenges is a complex phenomenon. The most reliable findingindicates a reciprocal nature of the relationship. This means thatwhile economic and financial challenges may increase to likelihood ofdomestic violence in a household, violence in the household is one ofthe major causes of economic challenges in the modern society. As aresult, a significant number of victims, survivors or perpetrators ofdomestic violence have financial and economic hardships that causedthe domestic violence or resulted from the domestic violence (Hannah& Goldstein, 2010).
Whilethe relationship between domestic violence and economic hardship isnot in doubt, it is observed in all social classes. This means thateconomic success or wealth does not shield individuals from domesticviolence. In some cases, the wealth could be a source of conflictresulting into economic instigated domestic violence. However, thisis not captured in majority of studies because domestic violencestatistics are mainly captured based on individual who seek socialservices or other support services as a result of domestic violence.While the rich and wealthy are likely to be victims of domesticviolence, they are less likely to seek for support services, comparedto the unemployed or poor victims. For example, a financial stablewoman has the resources to seek alternative housing or medicalservices in case of injuries resulting from domestic violence.Additionally, she can use her resources to shield herself from thepublic limelight and scrutiny to protect her dignity. Due to thesefactors, there is a perception that domestic violence is moreprevalent among the poor members of the society (Hannah &Goldstein, 2010). Nonetheless, according to Benson et al (2003),despite the fact that domestic violence occurs in middle class andfinancial stable households, statistics indicates that as the familybecomes more financial stable, the risk of domestic violencedecreases. This means that as the family income increases, thelikelihood of serious cases of domestic violence decreases. Asmentioned earlier, the relationship between economic hardship anddomestic violence is very complex. Women are the main victims ofdomestic violence in the modern society. Therefore, it would beexpected that women who have an income or are financially stable areless likely to experience domestic violence compared to women withoutincome. However, this is not the case, due to the effects of otherfactors that contribute to domestic violence.
Dueto the strong relationship between domestic violence and economichardship and income, many studies in the recent past have focused onhow employment status and level of income among women affect theirexposure to the risk of domestic violence. In the recent past, due tochanges in workplaces and gender roles in the society, there are anincreased number of women in employment, who have an access to steadyincome. This increases the number of women who can depend onthemselves and live independently. Studies suggest that experiencesof women who have been victims of domestic violence do not changesignificantly due to changes in the employment status. On the otherhand, domestic violence has an influence on economic stability ofwomen. This is because it has a huge impact on women employment. Forexample, women who are victims of domestic violence have limitedaccess to employment opportunities and are more likely to be absentat work or be absent. Additionally, the psychological challengesassociated with domestic violence have negative effects on theirproductivity at work. This means that they risk losing theiremployment or reduces their chances of being employed (Logan et al,2007). As a result, these women are less likely to be economicallystable, exposing them to more incidences of domestic violence,resulting into a self fulfilling prophecy that economic hardshipincreases domestic violence.
Thereis several ways through which financial and economic stability canreduce domestic violence in women in addition to have resources toshield them from abuse and public scrutiny, financial independenceprovides them with psychological resources to cope with or protectthem with domestic abuse. The self esteem associated with financialindependence or a stable source of income has a huge impact. Studiessuggest that women who receive social and emotional support fromcoworkers and social networks created through employment caneffectively deal with incidences of domestic abuse and avoid repeatedincidences. Another linkage between domestic violence and economicfactors is an attempt to sabotage the spouse employment or source ofincome. For example, a man can sabotage the ability of a woman togain employment to ensure that she stays at home and take care of thefamily (Logan et al, 2007).
Thereare different programs that can be used to curtail economicallyinstigated domestic violence. The approach is mainly influenced bythe extent and type of abuse. One of the most common approaches toeconomically instigated domestic violence is involvement of lawenforcement. In some cases, the extent of economic abuse or domesticviolence in household may involve interventions from the criminaljustice system. This is especially important when the life and healthof the victim is at risk. Additionally, economic abuse is becoming amajor cause of divorce in the modern society. Counseling programs arealso important in the management of this kind of domestic violence.Counseling involves assessment of the problem, type and extent of theabuse in question. Counseling is essential in helping the victimsdeal cope with the abuse. The most important programs focus on thereal cause of the problem. These programs are aimed at economicallyempowering the victims of domestic violence. These programs includeoffering the victims economic opportunities such as employment andshelter. Since these programs focuses on the real cause of this typeof domestic violence, it is more effective than other interventions(Hannah & Goldstein, 2010).
Benson,M.L., Fox, G.L. DeMaris, A., & Van Wyk, J. (2003). “Neighborhooddisadvantage, individual economic distress and violence against womenin intimate relationships”. Journalof Quantitative Criminology,19, 207-235.
Hannah,M. & Goldstein, B. (2010). Domesticviolence, abuse, and child custody: legal strategies and policyissues.Kingston, New Jersey: Civic Research Institute.
Logan,T. K., Shannon, L. Cole, J. & Swanberg, J. (2007). “Partnerstalking and implications for women`s employment”. Journalof Interpersonal Violence,22, 268-291.
Smith,D. L. & Strauser, D.R. (2008). “Examining the impact ofphysical and sexual abuse on the employment of women withdisabilities in the United States: An exploratory analysis”.Disabilityand Rehabilitation,30, 1039-1046.