Charges of domestic violence can have serious consequences, as we frequently point out on this blog. Everybody deserves a strong defense against these charges, regardless of who they are.
That said, real domestic violence is something that needs to be addressed. In some cases, those charged with domestic violence have deeper pathologies that they carry around with them. Getting treatment for these pathologies, to the extent possible, is a good thing.
Researchers have found that substance abuse, depression, obsessive and possessive behavior and estrangement on the part of an abusing spouse are among the various risk factors that may increase a battered woman's risk of dying at the hands of her partner.
Sometimes, though, both partners suffer from mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result. These women sometimes have grown up in households where they were abused or witnessed abuse.
In some cases, those who are abused gradually ease into relationships involving domestic violence, and mental health experts continue to study how some people can be predisposed to such relationships. Battered women may have a tendency to date men that pay attention to them, but who later begin to slowly limit their behavior and social interactions, in the name of loving them. The controlling partner may then begin to lower the other's self-esteem. Eventually, physical abuse enters in.
In these cases, women may have a difficult time getting out of the relationship because they have slowly been socially isolated, told they are stupid and undesirable, and they doubt their own worth, fearing what would happen to them if they left. Sometimes women are afraid of what may happen to the children if they leave the relationship.
There is no doubt that cases of domestic violence can be complex. One or both partners may be chronically abusive to one another, while only one experiences legal consequences.
Again, these situations can be complicated and those accused of domestic violence may themselves need treatment for mental illness or substance abuse. Sometimes those who are charged with domestic violence are ble to secure an agreement where seeking out treatment is part of a plea deal. In any case, it is important for them to seek out an attorney to help them build a defense.
Source: Fox News, "Domestic violence and mental health: How are they intertwined?," Rheyanne Weaver, June 19, 2012
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