The issue of domestic and family violence does not only ruin families but also destroys the lives of children who witness the abuse and suffer from numerous physical and psychological problems. The interaction between the infant protection and domestic violence spheres is frequently problematic because two areas function comparatively independently, with low level of general integration. Nevertheless, these two spheres should cooperate more in order to elevate both female’s and infant’s security. The current paper will analyze the case study demonstrating the issues that the individual members of the family face, risks and opportunities of this family, and social work theories that can help assess the problem and possible interventions to assist the victims of the case study situation.
The Issues the Individual Members of the Family Face
Three-year-old Peter is a son of 22-year-old Tania and 23-year-old Andrew. He has a 5-yer-old sister Kylie. His parents are constantly quarrelling and preparing for a divorce as Andrew was discharged from an assembly line in car industry due to downturn, became depressed, and started drinking heavily, while Tania was forced to find a job. The woman insisted that Andrew take care of children and the household chores, while she was working; however, Andrew refused, which caused heavy fights and Tania’s leaving together with children. Tania’s parents are from Chile; they immigrated to Australia in 1987. The woman has four siblings. Her child started wetting his bed and refused to talk. Therefore, it becomes obvious that Peter is suffering from domestic violence, while stress and anxiety have a deep and lasting impact on the child: they detain his cognitive progress, stimulate enuresis (bedwetting), prevent him from talking, and impede his overall development (Zannettino & McLaren, 2014, p. 425). The facts demonstrate that children are impacted by domestic violence, even if they are not attendants during an incendiary event (Dutton, 2007, p. 34). Children might hear the aggressiveness from another room, observe the consequences in the form of bruises, bloodstains, and fractured property, etc (Dutton, 2007, p. 34). Consequently, infants who observe or face any form of domestic violence feel insecure, insulated, irritated, depressed, aggressive, and incredulous to any type of authority figures (Ross, 2007, p. 281). Therefore, Peter demonstrates conduct and emotional issues, including a decreased self-esteem, hypervigilance, temperament issues, antisocial conduct, sleeping disorder, and rigid view on gender functions. He demonstrates cognitive and behavioral issues, incorporating pro-violence attitude, shortage of conflict resolution capabilities, acquittal for violence use, decreased level of empathy, and low cognitive functioning (Bond & Bond, 2014, p. 859). This can actually lead to longer-range problems encompassing adult depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol or drug addictions, early marriages, and realization and committing of domestic violence in adult relationships (Dutton, 2007, p. 47). On the other hand, Peter’s father suffers from depression and drinks alcohol, which makes him violent, irritable, and aggressive. His attempts to conceal depression include anger, alcohol, and domestic violence. Andrew became irresponsible in regard to financial pressure, childcare, participation in everyday household tasks and liabilities. Numerous facts demonstrate that many people drink to deal with stress, anxiety, and depressive concepts (Ross, 2007, p. 287). Therefore, the facts reveal that alcohol can become a favorite coping mechanism (Sandberg, 2010, p. 36). In general, there are two potential issues in utilizing such coping tactics (Ungar, Chazinour & Richter, 2013, p. 357). First, self-medication with alcohol can become self-conserving. Current anxiety causes extensive alcohol consumption, which alters the brain physiology and provokes an attrition of the neurotransmitters (so-called brain “messengers”), which are required to lower anxiety congenitally (Sandberg, 2010, p. 36). Consequently, the person feels more restless and disturbed and requires higher amount of alcohol to ‘numb’ the stress and depression. In the long range, this mechanism can provoke the situation in which an individual becomes tolerant of alcohol, which means that he or she will demand progressively large quantities of drink in order to experience the analogous decline in their anxiety (Sandberg, 2010, p. 36). The second issue with utilizing alcohol for self-medication regards the fact that it is extremely difficult to sustain the precise quantity of alcohol required to dismiss negative feelings (Ungar, Chazinour & Richter, 2013, p. 357). The preservation of the optimal amount of alcohol to lower the level of anxiety is practically impossible due to the impact of alcohol on the brain: after the primary ‘excitement’ or incitement from the first drink, alcohol operates as a sedative and the sensation of stress and depression might promptly return (Sandberg, 2010, p. 38). A significant amount of the alcohol consumed to cope with those sensations provokes a fast elevation of alcohol level in the blood and might turn to be counter-productive. Frequent and repeated drinking alters the chemistry of the brain and exhausts “the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin” (Sandberg, 2010, p. 39). The latter is known to be a brain chemical responsible for depression. Therefore, the person appears in the cyclical process of consuming alcohol to alleviate depression and later becomes more depressed because the levels of serotonin get more exhausted (Ungar, Chazinour & Richter, 2013, p. 357). Finally, Peter’s mother, Tania, suffers from domestic violence as her husband is unable to find a new job, which makes him aggressive and stimulates to conceal depression with alcohol. Tania had to find a job because of financial pressures, while her husband neglected household and childcare responsibilities. Therefore, replicating uncertainty, substance addiction, and physical abuse appear as obvious reasons why Tania decided to escape and initiate divorce. Her level of marital distress is high. High level of distress in marital life can ultimately lead to dissatisfaction, which makes people start searching for methods to escape from the institution of marriage (Dutton, 2007, p. 54). In addition, Tania needed help with raising and educating her children, which was impossible in the reality of domestic violence and the depressed husband who did not look for ways to improve his life and secure his family. This family requires serious help as currently there is little-to-no chance that it can survive (Zannettino & McLaren, 2014, p. 428).
The Risks and Opportunities
Domestic violence is currently known to be a central stage in Australia in regard to infant abuses and neglecting (Dutton, 2007, p. 34). This puts children at risk of evolving longer-range issues, incorporating depression, trauma-connected symptoms, decreased self-esteem, and substance abuse (Hamel, 2008, p. 146), combined with short-range emotive and conduct issues (Hansen & Ainsworth, 2009, p. 431). In addition, women living in the state of domestic violence can suffer from serious health consequences as they appear to be at an elevated risk of developing psychological issues incorporating depression, stress, post-traumatic disorders, self-detriment conducts combined with substance abuse (Ross, 2007, p. 287). Moreover, numerous physical traumas can also result in physical or mental disabilities, death from homicide, or attempted homicide (Hansen & Ainsworth, 2009, p. 431). Domestic violence is currently known to be a prevailing form of infant abuse in Australia (Hansen & Ainsworth, 2009, p. 431). When the child witnesses interparental violence, it turns into a highly distressing setting for him or her and can be connected to clinical levels of child emotional and conduct issues as well as clinical levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms (Overbeek, Schipper, Lamers-Winkelman & Schuengel, 2014, p. 297). The current family faces more risks than opportunities. The chances that Tania will divorce Andrew are really high as her husband does not demonstrate any attempts of improving the current situation, combating his dependence on alcohol, searching for a job, or caring for children or household. Peter’s witnessing his father’s violence against Tania presents a high risk of developing behavioral, somatic and emotional problems, similar to those experienced by actually physically abused children. His enuresis and destitution of desire to talk are linked to childhood stress in the form of marital problems and domestic violence. Peter is at high risk of becoming aggressive, fighting with siblings and schoolmates, and having temper tantrums (Overbeek, Schipper, Lamers-Winkelman & Schuengel, 2014, p. 299). On the other hand, Kylie, who is 5 years old, might become passive, clinging, and withdrawn. Male children who observe or hear the abuse of their mothers by their fathers are more probable to become adults who batter in the future than those male infants whose homes are free of aggression and violence (Doumas, Pearson, Elgin & McKinley, 2008, p. 626). In addition, children are at high risk of developing models of marital conflict fights, tensions, and other struggles (Overbeek, Schipper, Lamers-Winkelman & Schuengel, 2014, p. 301). They have a very good chance of developing marital instability, ending with divorces or separation; Peter can get used to male dominance and control of relationships, which will definitely lead to unhealthy family relationships and interactions in the future. Children easily learn emotional and behavioral attitudes while being raised at home with domestic violence. These children understand that ultimatums and aggressiveness allow them to get what they desire and will not lead to any negative consequences (Bond & Bond, 2014, p. 859). They also get used to the fact that unequal relationships are normal as the person should be either the victim or the perpetrator. Finally, they get used to the fact that the world is a dangerous place and no one can protect them; thus, they should constantly think and plan their personal protection. In fact, infants who live in homes where domestic violence is a norm require particular understanding and nurturing, which can assist them in recovering from traumas (Bond & Bond, 2014, p. 861). They require understanding that the abuse cannot be regarded as their liability and that a single person does not deserve to be abused, regardless of all life circumstances. These children need assistance to help them feel safe (Christine, Day, Carson & O’Leary, 2009, p. 376). These children can be supported by boosting their self-esteem and individual authority to make positive life decisions. Tania is at high risk of suffering from low self-esteem, inability to financially support and educate her children and initiate successful and healthy relationships. Andrew demonstrates a high risk of becoming chronically depressed alcoholic, which will deprive him of an opportunity to get a new position, return his family, and meet his children. This can induce him to commit suicide or manipulate by this possibility to make Tania stay and cancel the divorce process. The current situation demonstrates that separation and divorce are the only opportunity for this family to cease domestic violence (Christine, Day, Carson & O’Leary, 2009, p. 376). This can aid in stabilizing children’s physical and mental state and disaccustoming them from noxious schemes and models of conduct (Long & Sephton, 2011, p. 108).
Social Work Theories
There are numerous social theories and frameworks which can aid in assessing and dealing with the current problem (Long & Sephton, 2011, p. 108). Numerous scholars attempt to analyze and describe the intergenerational transmission of intraparental violence manifestation with the help of a multitude of theoretical frameworks (Nash, Munford & O’Donoghue, 2005, p. 45). These frameworks incorporate the social learning theory, dose hypothesis or cumulative risk model, and attachment theory. The first one, the social learning theory, expounds domestic violence and its consequences for a child while demonstrating that people acquire a skill how to obtain what they desire by observing family members’ violent and abusive conduct (Nash, Munford & O’Donoghue, 2005, p. 47). As infants observe reiterated violence, they start to view aggressiveness and abusiveness as congruent and adequate feature of intimate relationships. Since they are constantly exposed to such a style of conflict solution, infants never acquire a knowledge regarding options to issue solving and pursue to resolve problems aggressively during their whole life. Therefore, the theory explains that parents’ conduct serves as a model for hostility and aggressiveness (Nash, Munford & O’Donoghue, 2005, p. 48). In addition, it allows a child to observe and regard the abuse as legitimate, which makes him or her adopt this conduct in the future. This model helps see that Peter demonstrates a high risk of adopting his father’s conduct in critical situations. He can also have unequal apprehension of gender roles, thus abusing his future wife and neglecting household responsibilities. In addition, his father’s consumption of alcohol may evoke interest in experimenting with the substance. Considering that the child already demonstrates psychological issues, he may try to imitate his father in dealing with his problems (Nash, Munford & O’Donoghue, 2005, p. 58). In fact, the social learning theory can be viewed as a primary theory to expound the intergenerational passing of domestic violence (Nash, Munford & O’Donoghue, 2005, p. 61).
Secondly, the cumulative risk framework has the objective of defining the hazardous agents connected with a particular outcome or socio-cultural agents which negatively impact a specific sphere (Nash, Munford & O’Donoghue, 2005, p. 61). This framework is less of a theoretical basis and more of a supposition, which postulates that the higher is the periodicity and seriousness of abuse a child undergoes or witnesses, the greater is the chance of this child to transmit this abuse to others in the future and in adulthood (Long & Sephton, 2011, p. 109). The framework takes into consideration contextual agents, which agglomerate and the added impact of which is damaging to the consequence (Bond & Bond, 2014, p. 858). These hazards can incorporate the family size, minority character, general education levels, poor domestic setting, and decreased societal and economic character among others (Nash, Munford & O’Donoghue, 2005, p. 66). This framework is typically used to support numerous other societal work theories, incorporating the social learning theory and the attachment theory. Therefore, the current situation demonstrates that Peter grows in a family with low education, poor domestic setting, and low societal and economic character. His father Andrew never actually finished high school and started an auto apprenticeship being 19 years old. Andrew was dismissed from work, which caused his wife Tania search for job due to financial pressures. As Tania had to work, she did not have the possibility and probably capacity and physical strength to look after their children and household chores. The facts demonstrate that Andrew neglected these responsibilities, concealing his depression with a copying mechanism, the consumption of alcohol. Children were neglected, not appropriately fed, physically and mentally exhausted, and probably abused.
Thirdly, the attachment theory equips an ethnologic, biologic, and psychoanalytical framework for detecting how human infant attachment to their caregivers is connected to the attachment character in their adulthood relationships (Bretherton, 1992, p. 759). This framework demonstrates that defunct or under-evolved connections between a child and a parent equip numerous attachment schemes and models for upcoming and prospective connections and relationships through puberty into adulthood (Corvo & Johnson, 2012, p. 97). Such attachment schemes or models are probably to be analogous between generations due to passing from a parent to his or her infant (Corvo & Johnson, 2012, p. 97). Various attachment characters in a romantic relationship can result in either a felicitous safe connection or a hazardous uncertain connection, which is more receptive in regard to intraparental violence (Schuengel, 2014, p. 301). Attachment theory is typically utilized to the analyzed adult romantic attachment problems, which may also result in partner and domestic violence (Sandberg, 2010, p. 37).
Fourthly, the practice-orientated collaboration theory and framework encourages an assiduous analysis of the complicated problems frequently endured in collaborative endeavors, incorporating trust, identifying shared objectives, the management of authority, and communication (Bond & Bond, 2014, p. 858). In addition, the attachment theory can help with family violence (Sandberg, 2010, p. 37). The theory has led the field of the transmission of family violence across generations to explaining and testing the hypotheses concerning the connection between the early experience of domestic violence and later evolvement (Riggs, Paulson, Tunnell, Sahl, Atkison & Ross, 2007, p. 283). There is a common acceptance regarding the fact that actions which parents realize have long-range consequences for their infants. Attachments evolve from the earliest stages of life and direct infant’s apprehension of oneself and other people. Since an infant develops attachments in regard to his or her parents, parental attachment is significant for infant’s future attachments occurring in his or her own intimate relationships (Riggs, Paulson, Tunnell, Sahl, Atkison & Ross, 2007, p. 283). Premature attachments may be safe or hazardous in regard to their character and may appear from a multitude of impacts, incorporating observation of parental domestic violence (Sandberg, 2010, p. 38). Observation of such violence typically results in uncertainty and hazardousness concerning the attachment, which impacts on relationships established later in life (Riggs, Paulson, Tunnell, Sahl, Atkison & Ross, 2007, p. 283). The relationships of the child witnessing domestic violence run a much greater risk of becoming forcible and abusive when child learns from the already developed hesitant attachment schemes demonstrated by his or her parents (Doumas, Pearson, Elgin & McKinley, 2008, p. 624). Since parental relationships become more violent, the children are more probable to observe parental violence and proceed the intergenerational passing of violence and aggressiveness (Doumas, Pearson, Elgin & McKinley, 2008, p. 624). Therefore, the current situation demonstrates that Peter depicts a high chance of developing aggressive partnerships in the future, resulting in domestic violence. Moreover, his future marriage may also end with divorce caused by similar problems, which appeared in his family (Long & Sephton, 2011, p. 109).
The family, meaning Tania and her two children, requires access to a range of advocacy, support, and other interventions that relate to their specific and current situation. She has to recognize and acknowledge that her family is a victim of domestic violence, which negatively affects her and her children (Schuengel, 2014, p. 398). The first and most significant intervention for mother in regard to children is to appeal with the problems concerning security for the family. This typically incorporates working with the victim of violence in order to discuss the options she may consider to elevated security. The first intervention toward assisting is protection of the abused caregiver (Schuengel, 2014, p. 298). The second intervention regards the child and family therapies. There is a broad scope of counseling and mental health interventions accessible to families impacted negatively by domestic violence. Such families typically require more than simple therapy; they need case management and advocacy (Dutton, 2007). It is important to provide the mental health treatment in the context of comprehensive support for the children and their abused parent (Schuengel, 2014, p. 301). In regard to children, interventions incorporate groups, individual therapy, and dyadic treatment with their mother. A significant constituent of intervention with children concerns the antecedence of supporting and enforcing the connection between the abused parent and his or her child (Dutton, 2007). In fact, a solid connection with a parent is a major agent to assist a child in healing from the impacts of domestic violence (Schuengel, 2014, p. 302). The selection of treatment should depend on the child’s age, the character and seriousness of the traumatic repulse, and the setting in the family (Schuengel, 2014, p. 303). This intervention will provide Tania with more knowledge regarding childhood reactions (explaining Peter’s bedwetting and reluctance to speak), which can assist in normalizing their experience and lowering their feeling of isolation.
The current paper demonstrates that intraparental aggression and domestic violence can have numerous serious negative affects on the children’s future. The attachment theory suggests that defunct or under-evolved connections between an infant and his or her parent result in specific attachment models for the future and prospective connections and relationships through puberty into adulthood. These models appear to be analogous between generations due to passing from a parent to the infant. Therefore, if children witness or observe domestic or family violence, they become agents who pass intergenerational aggressiveness. The family requires specific interventions that can aid in breaking the violence circle, treating the existing problems and fighting with infant’s feeling of isolation.
Three-year-old Peter is a son of 22-year-old Tania and 23-tear-old Andrew. He has a 5-yer-old sister Kylie. His parents were constantly quarrelling as Andrew was dismissed from work and started to conceal his depression with alcohol, neglecting his family responsibilities, which resulted in domestic violence and numerous problems regarding his children. Peter is at high risk of becoming aggressive, fighting with siblings and schoolmates, and having temper tantrums, while Kylie may become passive, clinging, and withdrawn. In addition, children are at high risk of developing models of marital conflict fights, tensions, and other struggles. They have a high chance of experiencing marital instability, ending with divorces or separation; Peter can get used to male dominance and control of relationships, which will definitely lead to unhealthy family relationships and interactions in the future. Children easily learn emotional and behavioral attitudes while being raised at home with domestic violence. These children understand that ultimatums and aggressiveness allow them to get what they desire and will not lead to any negative consequences. The attachment social work theory demonstrates that defunct or under-evolved connections between a child and a parent equip numerous attachment schemes and models for upcoming and prospective connections and relationships through puberty into adulthood. The attachment theory, which is used as a basis for analysis in this paper, demonstrates that acceptance regarding the fact that actions that parents realize have long-range consequences for their infants. Attachments evolve from the earliest stages of life and direct infant’s apprehension of oneself and other people. As an infant develops attachments in regard to his or her parents, parental attachment is significant for infant’s future attachments occurring in his or her own intimate relationships. Since parental relationships become more violent, the children are more probable to observe parental violence and proceed the intergenerational passing of violence and aggressiveness. Therefore, the current case study indicates that Peter demonstrates a high chance of developing aggressive partnerships in the future, resulting in domestic violence. This family requires productive interventions that may resolve the existing emotional, behavioral and mental problems, give parents more knowledge regarding childhood reactions, normalize their experience, and lower their feeling of isolation.