Clearly, the person being hit, intimidated or humiliated and bullied in their own home is a victim. But IPV takes its toll on others as well. Individuals close to the one being abused are caught in the crossfire, and communities bear the cost.
Who else does IPV hurt?
- The children – Children or teens of a victim inevitably feel the effects, whether they directly witness the violence or whether they experience the depleting effect it has on their parent. Children are awake and aware far more than parents usually assume, and research shows that even (perhaps especially) young infants are affected by the trauma.
- Family members – The whole extended family may be rocked by an abusive partner. They may see the behaviour and not want to be around it, or they may not see it and fall prey to the abuser’s manipulation. The abuser’s threats and abuse may spill over and be directed at family members, especially as they try to support the victim’s independence.
- Friends – Like family members, friends may be hurt by apparent rejection from a victim whose abuser uses tactics of isolation. Too often, families and close friends are at a loss and give up on their loved one who just won’t seem to leave a damaging situation. Then when the victim is ready, she or he may feel too alone to make the change.
- Workplaces – In extreme cases, intimate partner violence can compromise the safety of the workplace. More often, it takes a toll on the well-being and productivity of workers. For example harassing phone calls are both made and received at the workplace. Co-workers and supervisors are aware and uncertain what to do. Absenteeism and distraction can occur due to injuries, loss of sleep and emotional turmoil for the victim. While ethical problems with dismissing someone for being a victim of violence are obvious, employers are often not prepared to respond to the circumstances.
- Communities – As we know at Family Service Regina, strong communities are made of healthy families and individuals. A family torn by domestic violence will not be interacting and contributing as they could. Domestic violence is isolating, alienating, and it drains the confidence and energy of the victim. A quarter of all violent crime in Canadian communities is domestic violence. It’s a crime that is perpetuated through the generations, as children who are exposed to Intimate Partner Violence are more likely to perpetrate such violence themselves in later years.
- Pets – Animal cruelty often goes along with domestic violence. Pets are important to people — making them a potential support for victims but also a potential hindrance to getting out, as victims tend to consider the welfare of their companion animals and it is often difficult to take them to a shelter or new apartment.
To find out about services and information for children, concerned family and friends, workplaces, community groups and agencies and even pets, please Contact Us.