Domestic violence is known by many names including spouse abuse, domestic abuse, domestic assault, battering, partner abuse, marital strife, marital dispute, wife beating, marital discord, woman abuse, dysfunctional relationship, intimate fighting, male beating and so on.
Mc Cue (1995) maintains that it is commonly accepted by legal professionals as “the emotional, physical, psychological, or sexual abuse perpetrated against a person by that person’s spouse, former spouse, partner, former partner or by the other parent of a minor child” (although several other forms of domestic violence have become increasingly apparent in today’s society).
Thus arises the major issue concerning whether or not it is morally acceptable to impose the ideas and beliefs of western society onto another culture.
According to O’Donnell and Craney (1982), domestic violence can also arise in response to various social structural factors.
However, whilst the experience of family violence may differ according to factors such as socioeconomic group, class, culture, race and the age and health of the victim, the Family Violence Professional Education Taskforce (1991) maintains that it has not been demonstrated that these factors play any casual role in the origins of family violence.
Instead, the most consistent impression to be gained is that violence in the home is best understood in the context of unequal power relationships between men and women.
These statistics are unlikely to have improved with an increase in unemployment over the last fifteen years (O’Donnell and Craney 1982).
It is evident that a complete and sound understanding of domestic violence would rely on explanations which place responsibility for the violence with external factors such as stress and alcohol.
This fact explains the apparent concentration of domestic violence occurrences within families of lower socioeconomic status since these families are more likely to suffer stressful conditions such as poor health, unemployment, unsatisfactory housing and lifestyles along with many others.
However, in complete contrast to such beliefs that domestic violence occurs mainly in lower socioeconomic groups, data collected by the Family Violence Professional Education Taskforce (1991) indicates that family violence is prevalent throughout all class boundaries.