Domestic violence (DV) is the wilful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behaviour as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.
Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. It is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behaviour that is only a fraction of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, even death. The devastating physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.
1. My Experience With Domestic Violence
2. 13 Heartbreaking Confessions of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence exists in every society and it is a challenge faced in every country and culture. EUROPEAN UNION AGENCY FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS performed a survey in 28 EU countries in 2014 which shows that 32 % of women in Sweden have experienced physical and/or sexual violence or threats by a previous partner since the age of 15. A study on violence against women carried out by the University of Iceland’s ICE-CCFR research and educational institution on behalf the Ministry for Social Affairs in 2010, concluded that 22 percent of women in Iceland had been subject to violence in an intimate relationship at some point after the age of 16. In Lithuania surveys indicate that 63.3% of Lithuanian women have been victims of male physical or sexual violence or threats after their 16th birthday. So, the Nordic and Baltic countries share the same challenges in this matter. It is still a huge challenge of modern society since in many cases the acts of abuse remain unreported, women experience continuous emotional, physical and spiritual suffering, men continue their destructive behaviour. In most EU Member States, until relatively recently domestic violence was considered a private matter in which the state played only a limited role. It is only since the 1990s that violence against women (all forms) has emerged as a fundamental rights concern.
The effects of family violence are broad, impacting on the individual experiencing abuse, children who are exposed to the violence and the wider community. DV hurts deep inside and can leave permanent psychological and emotional scars, having huge impact on future life, functioning in society. Different strategies are created to tackle this problem. Services are created to help victims of DV, change behavioural patterns of perpetrators. Usually, those services are scattered and help provided for separate individuals. An approach to apply holistic approach to work with all major parties of DV is seldom used. The reality is also that there are sceptics who do not believe that it is necessary to work with perpetrators, that they have to be punished, separated from the abused. However, there are evidences that the approach partners support is beneficial. For example, in UK “Domestic Violence Intervention Project” is implementing the programme of working with perpetrators, women and children who experienced violence and their results show that the incidences of repeated victimization have reduced by 89%, also the frequency and severity of physical violence and emotional abuse, some men cease physical violence entirely (70% of women reported that they experienced no further violence since their involvement in the service), lasting improvements in women and children’s safety are achieved (for instance, 78% of referring social workers assessed that children were much safer) and children are enabled to stay safely with their families rather than enter public care. So we are convinced that in order to achieve sustainable and long-term results it is necessary to work not only with victims of violence, but also perpetrators. But in order to provide quality complex help it is necessary to improve competences of the adult educators working in this field.
As a consequence of that, we built up a consortium with different experience to face this challenge. VšĮ Žmogiškųjų išteklių stebėsenos ir plėtros biuras, the project coordinator from Lithuania, implements the training programme “Correction of Violent Behaviour” on the regional level. The aim of this programme is with the help of various intervention models to change the destructive behaviour of violent men, violent reactions and in this way help to protect the victim from repeated aggression. The partners from Iceland Solstafir are experienced in providing counselling, support women who experienced domestic violence, suffered from sexual violence. They have methods and mental tools to help the victims to regain their former strength. Partners from Sweden BIIA resource centrum also has strategies to work with children who experienced DV. Folkenuniversitetet (FU) from Norway have great experience in training programme preparation for adult learners.