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International Women’s Day: Most domestic violence cases are dismissed, leaving the victim vulnerable
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International Women’s Day: Most domestic violence cases are dismissed, leaving the victim vulnerable

Looking at the important role that women play in the society, authorities and various organizations need to sit up and create an atmosphere where they feel safe and respected. Thus, a concerted effort is needed to address women-related issues like femicide, sexual harassment and domestic violence so that women are accorded the respect and recognition that they deserve. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the incidents involving domestic violence are rising.

A report presented by the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Domestic Violence in June 2016 for New Jersey said that in 2014 alone approximately 79 percent cases of domestic violence were dismissed. This number was much higher compared to 46 percent dismissal of cases of other disorderly persons. Nicole Mercolla, director of public policy for the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, said that regardless of the impending risk of another attack by the perpetrator, the dismissal rates did not shift much in New Jersey ever since the report was released, which also comprised 30 recommendations for improvising the state’s response toward cases of domestic violence.

Following the suggestions made by the committee, multiple bills concerning domestic violence training requirements for law enforcement, judicial personnel, judges and prosecutors were approved by the assembly in mid-February. Further, the committee recommended an expanded role of domestic violence advocators in court proceedings. Morcella stated that there was a gap in the availability of services for the victims at the local level. She further said that when the victims get involved in the procedures and the system, they faced the risk of further abuse where the defendant in the case is not held accountable or detained.

“It’s important that victims have access to an advocate who can help them plan their safety, help prepare and keep them informed of the process as it goes forward,” Morcella said. Advocates are also pushing for an assessment tool to screen defendants for dangers they pose before the commencement of the trial. According to the data received from the New Jersey state police, in 2015, only 31 percent arrests were made in a total of 61,659 reported cases of domestic violence.

Looking at the grave situation, the need of the hour is to spread awareness about gender equality. To honor the role that women play in various fields, every year, March 8 is observed as the International Women’s Day across the world. This year, it is a global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. It is equally important for women to recognize the fire within which can help them fight all odds and emerge victorious.

Rebuilding life after domestic violence

When a victim reports domestic abuse to the law enforcement authorities, she or he takes the first crucial step toward escaping the abusive relationship. However, one needs to rebuild his/her life after breaking away and this may get overwhelming. Listed below are a few tips, which can help the survivors rebuild their lives.

  • Connecting with supportive people: Domestic violence can seriously scar a person’s self-esteem. The first step should be to connect with family, friends or co-workers who genuinely care for the victim and can provide ample love, empathy, and guidance.
  • Seeking practical help: It is important to start taking steps toward a secure future by getting a job, investing money, renting a place to live, arranging a babysitter if one has children, etc.
  • Giving back to others: Giving back to others can help alleviate the mental agonies of a survivor of domestic violence. Volunteering may help one attain satisfaction, while distracting her or him from the painful memories.
  • Not jumping into another relationship: Many survivors of domestic violence end their relationship with the abuser only to be hitched again. These are normally rebound relationships, which do not last long.

Dealing with domestic violence

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), nearly 20 people experience violence by an intimate partner, every minute, in the United States. Domestic violence could be so prolonged and intense that one might develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or/even depression and anxiety. In such cases, it is important to connect with professional support groups, which can help one recover.

Sovereign Health supports women dealing with trauma after domestic violence. Our mental health professionals specialize in providing domestic violence treatment in a safe and secure environment. Call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our trained professionals get more information regarding treatment of domestic violence.

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