A spotlight has been cast on Domestic violence and has been making the news lately, alongside the global pandemic. The increase in domestic violence is one of the many consequences of the pandemic. One of the biggest measures put in place to deal with the pandemic is wide scale shut downs of schools, work, and social gatherings.
This is also what has many professionals worried. The victims of domestic violence and their perpetrators are locked together in one place with no way for the victim to leave. They might not be able to escape to domestic violence shelters, or to other safe places. They are effectively isolated with the people who are going to be abusing them.
The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men may experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. This is a high enough number that in many places, it is consider a serious public health issue.
Domestic violence is often thought of to be physical violence, but it is more broadly defined than that. Domestic violence can be:
- Physical violence
Physical violence is when the perpetrator uses physical force to assault their partner. This can come in the form of strikes with the hand, fist, kicks, or the use of objects to hit the victim. Physical violence also include shoving and pushing, though this may not be commonly known when domestic violence is brought up.
- Sexual violence
Sexual violence is when the perpetrator of violence uses force or coercion to obtain sex from their victim.
Stalking is a behaviour where the perpetrator keeps the victim under constant surveillance. They may track and check their partner’s phone calls and messages, physically follow them to their workplace or other locations. It is a type of tactic that instils terror in the victim, and can cause a great deal of psychological and emotional trauma, even if it never escalates to a physical attack.
- Manipulation and coercive acts
Manipulation and coercion may entail the use of emotional blackmail in order to get their own way. In this situation, the victim is left feeling that they are without any choice but to do what the perpetrator wants.
The perpetrators can be a current partner or a former intimate partner. For victims that have nowhere else to go, they may be forced to stay with the people who are harming them. The few resources that may be available to victims of domestic violence may not always be readily accessible, and often, friends and family don’t understand.
When they do confide or turn to their friends and family, they are often left feeling even more alone than before. What may be shocking to some is that despite the good will and intention of people who want to help, it is common for victims of domestic violence to hear that they should have left their partner and their situation. In many cases, they simply can’t leave. Often times, without the proper training and knowledge, our good intentions to help victims of domestic violence may even make them feel even more alone.
College of Allied Educators’ accredited Counselling Psychology programmes will train individuals to understand thoughts and emotions; and with the right tools, allow individuals to help themselves and others who may be going through very sensitive and difficult situations.
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