Alcohol Abuse And Domestic Violence

Even though an overwhelming majority, ninety-two percent, of attacks take place when the abuser has used alcohol or drugs the same day, this does not mean alcohol is simply the cause (T., 2011). This paper will analyze whether or not domestic violence offenders who also abuse psychoactive substances should be incarcerated, receive substance abuse treatment, or both.

Domestic violence can very easily be blamed on a substance abuse problem, but recent research may suggest otherwise. While many individuals have used alcohol or drugs the day of an attack. In addition, although many abusers drink alcohol, the majority of high-level drinkers do not abuse their partners. It seems as though the statistics could be swayed either way to provide evidence for either side of the argument. Research into the complex dynamic of domestic violence does not suggest alcohol is a cause. Often times the abuser is seeking control over the victim, and alcohol would limit their ability to do so. Alcohol may worsen attacks, cause an attacker to misinterpret their victim, or be used as a coping mechanism in response to the attacks, but it is unlikely to be the cause.

The complexity of domestic violence cannot be fixed simply through substance abuse treatment, incarceration or both. Incarcerating abusers does little to solve the problem, but is necessary purely for punitive and accountability reasons. Offenders must be punished for the acts they commit. Removing the offender may give the victim the ability to more safely and confidently get out of the abusive situation. In addition to incarceration, a multidisciplinary approach should be taken to ensure the victim’s safety, to educate the victim, and to reduce the likeliness the abuser will reoffend. If alcohol use ceases, this does not mean the violence will. However, many recovery programs aim to help the individual in all aspects of their life. Individual counseling, group counseling, and anger management classes may all be advantageous. If possible, it is best to treat the two issues independently because both are so complex in nature (“Alcohol and domestic violence”, 2003).

In conclusion, alcohol abuse does not cause domestic violence. Domestic violence is a complex social issue that must be treated independently of other similar problems. A clear dynamic is often present in an abusive relationship. Alcohol may intensify abuse but generally is not the cause. A multidisciplinary approach should be taken to help domestic violent offenders become accountable, handle anger, reduce alcohol and drug use, improve cognitive skills and learn to live a healthy lifestyle. This may include incarceration, substance abuse treatment, and treatment for the abuse itself.

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