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According to the Family Violence Professional Education Taskforce (1991), data obtained by police in Victoria since the proclamation of the Crimes (Family Violence) Act 1987 revealed that between the 1st of June and the 30th of November 1989, in 88% of reported cases where physical violence was used against a person in a family violence incident, the perpetrator was male.The reasons for men being abusive towards their wives are many and varied.
Subsequently, many of these men feel that violence is an acceptable means of enforcing this control.
It is important however to consider the fact that such ideas about the role of women may be antiquated in our western culture but may be considered acceptable in others.
However, it remains a hidden problem because it occurs within the privacy of the home and those involved are usually reluctant to speak out (Healey 1993).
Actually, it extends far beyond merely physical abuse and incorporates a range of behaviours aimed by the male to his partner.
Although all forms of domestic violence are pressing issues of equal importance, this essay is more specifically directed at spouse abuse and aims to delve deeper into the issue of domestic violence by examining its causes with respect to the socioeconomic status of the particular family and its effects upon women in Australian society.
Domestic violence is the most common form of assault in Australia today.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).The excessive use of alcohol is often linked to domestic violence as indicated by Figure 2 where in 48% of abuse cases, alcohol was a predominant factor, (Queensland Domestic Violence Task Force booklet, 1988).Although society may believe that alcohol is a possible cause of domestic violence, the Family Violence Professional Education Taskforce (1991) maintain that it is more of a contributing rather than a causative factor of family violence.In addition, Larouche (1986) maintains that although alcohol may lower both awareness and self-control, a person who uses it is responsible both for drinking and for their behaviour.Somewhat contrary to other studies, Van Hasselt (1988) maintained that occupational status rather than employment status seems to be a significant stimulus to violence where women of higher socioeconomic status than their partners are at a higher risk of being victims of domestic abuse.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.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.