Delinquent and criminal behaviors are on the rise especially among the youths as they undergo a transition from childhood to adulthood. The restructuring of the labor market, the extension of the period taken by young generation to depend on their families, and limited opportunities for youths to become independent has widely influenced the lifestyles, and social relationships among the young people (Young, Greer & Church, 2017). As a result, the mutual relations which ensure a smooth process of socialization are subsiding while the lifestyle trajectories are becoming diverse and less predictable imperilling one of the most valuable assets in any country. Nowadays, youths are widely subjected to individual risks such as mistreatment, illegal activities, drug addiction, and use of violence regardless of gender, country of residence or their social origin. Nevertheless, mostly the juvenile delinquency focus on young people as offenders and overlooks the fact that they are also victims of delinquent and criminal acts. The continuous threat of victimization has impacted the youths social relationships and their internalization of values and norms of the society and family. Consequently, the National Juvenile Action Plan (NJAP) has formulated some strategies to reduce juvenile violence, criminal behaviour and victimization.
From the various research conducted by Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ( OJJDP), violent delinquencies have decreased over the years, but children continue to be victims of violent crimes, child abuse, negligence and violence acts. The victimization perpetrates a series of cycles nurturing the children around in crime who later becomes the perpetrators of violence against others. For example, those children who have happened to witness violent acts their ability to adapt suffers from numerous risks and protective factors which eventually affects their characteristics. Similarly, parents who are victims of violence suffer from depression and are unlikely to provide for their childrens needs. The consequences of violence, child abuse and negligence have resulted in increased cases of homicide. In fact, in America homicides is the leading cause of juvenile death (Amanda, 2013). Fortunately, they are a variety of services and programs involving the local, national and the international communities to address youth victimization and bring positive difference for the benefit of the young generation.
The Battered Women Battered Children Project
Homes are supposed to be a sanctuary for parents and their children. However, it has become one of the most dangerous places due to the coexistence of violence against women and children. According to research by National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the United States between two and four million women, every year happens to be assaulted by their partners. Majority of them also have children who end up engaged in these form of assaults. In fact, about 60 percent of the reported domestic violence cases, child maltreatment is also present (Sullivan & Gillum, 2011). Initially, the community-based service did not have any strategy to help women living with abusive partners. For instance, in America Salvation Army, churches and homeless shelters were the only sources of refuge but happened to turn away battered women and their children blaming them for their victimization. Therefore, battered women had to share the same shelter with alcoholics, drug addicts and violent spouses who used to take advantage of their vulnerability. Likewise, children were widely exposed to violence affecting their social lives.
The first shelter to host women seeking refuge against domestic violence was developed by the feminist movement around the 1970s. The development laid a foundation for Battered Womens Shelter Movement to develop who dedicated their resources to train the public and improve services rendered to women living with abusive partners. Today they are more than 2000 domestic violence programs across America providing emergency shelter and other support services to women and their children who happen to be victims of domestic violence (Sullivan & Gillum, 2011). The operations of Battered Women and Battered Children has expanded to incorporate the role of law enforcement agencies, policies and practices. The program also offers health care services to the victims as some of the victims might be in need of medical treatment for injuries sustained or looking for psychiatric intervention. In instances where domestic violence is not sufficiently resolved cases of depression and suicide are common thus the emphasis on psychiatric evaluation and regular counselling sessions. The program has also expanded establishing overseas crisis centres in about 175 countries to serve abused American women and their children globally.
Although the shelter programs are one of the most supportive initiatives of the project the other form of services offered include advocacy facilities, group and individual counselling, programs specifically for children, financial assistance and other community-based services. For instance, the Rainbow House in Illinois and Chicago is an example of a shelter project offering some services to the victims (Amanda, 2013). Also, some of the children programs under the initiative are supported counselling, educational resources, and playrooms. Likewise, due to the interconnection between the project and the criminal justice systems, battered women can now present their cases in the court of law where perpetrators are held liable for the assaults.
The Theoretical Degree Battered women and Children Program Reduces Violence and Victimization
Women seeking for shelter shares certain commonalities which are assault or imminent danger of being assaulted. The Battered Women and Battered Children program has reduced cases of delinquency, crime and victimization through their approach to domestic violence. The violence against women and mistreatment of children is a significant social and health problem. In fact, intimate partner violence has been linked to increased social, psychological and medical morbidity (Davies, Lyon & Monti-Catania, 2014). Apart from the shelter which is more of a physical assistance the program has invested in other services aimed at uplifting the affected victims from their detrimental state of finance, health and psychology. For example, assaulted women are likely to suffer from mental health difficulties causing posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety syndromes, depression or drug and substance addiction. Unfortunately, the affected children suffer equally from victimization and direct violence. Due to a variety of services offered under shelter programs which include transitional housing, mental health and substance abuse referrals among others has reduced cases of re-victimization. The approaches used helps women to be flexible and capable of learning from other people admitted sharing similar conditions. As a result, most of this women and children develop recognizing the efforts of the programs and would help other assault victims as a way of transforming their lives.
Additionally, the legal assistance would help reduce stress and depression to victims seeking justice by setting up standards and codes to address social, psychological and physical violence. It is difficult for a woman under the shelter program to follow up the legal provisions to have her case determined as most of those who end up in these housing schemes were initially dependent to their spouses for finances. In most cases, their partners would take this advantage to lure them back to the abusive relationship due to their financial state where they are regularly violated. Nevertheless, the advocacy and legal assistance have widely helped victims of intimate partners violence from re-victimization. For instance, an abusive spouse would stand in bars to answer charges of assault through the help of the scheme. Similarly, the court of law might decide that the defendant should take full responsibilities in providing for his children which in most case affects the income of the defendant. As a result, spouses have created a conducive environment to resolve disputes as a way to avoiding violence and some of the legal proceedings which turn to be time-consuming and costly to the defendant.
The program has also provided affected women with resources and counselling not only to coexist with their colleagues peacefully but also in starting their resettlement process. Therefore, the battered woman program has been a foundation for their resettlement progress. The financial assistance and counselling sessions broaden the thinking and units women sharing similar conditions to invest and start a life away from their violent spouse. Mostly those who succeed in this have a way of giving back to the society primarily by donation to help anybody else who might be suffering similarly (Amanda, 2013). However, thou the contribution might not be sufficient to address and reach everybody living in an abusive marriage the efforts by people of good will, non-governmental organizations and those who were once victims have dramatically helped the program to reduce cases of violence.
Challenges of Battered Women and Children Programs Utility
However, the battered women and children program faces numerous challenges despite their significant influence in the society. The 2000 domestic violence programs across America and a number operating abroad are not enough to address the needs of Americans (Sullivan & Gillum, 2011). For examples, shelters in rural areas are scarce due to lack of adequate funds. In fact, most of the community-based shelters struggle to stay open despite the large turnout of victims seeking refuge. According to a study conducted by National Coalition against Domestic Violence out of four women in quest of shelter three are turned away because of lack of space and resources. Likewise, those with male children aged 14 and above are likely to lack space in the housing centres (Sullivan & Gillum, 2011).
Also, most women would only choose the shelter programs as their last resort. Most of these victims feel that the new environment does not grant them their privacy as they have to live collectively with other families going through similar situations. The majority would prefer to stay with friends and relatives or secure their homes where they would feel safe. However, these choices demand social and economic resources lacking among the victims. Similarly, the physicians and nurses entrusted to the program at times require adequate training which would be helpful in addressing the victims appropriately. Apart from the medical skills as a nurse, one has to have exceptional qualities to effectively interact with these families who often suffer from depression and emotional discomforts. In other cases, most of the physicians prefer to carry their duties in the health centres rather than solving the immense challenges faced by assault victims.
In conclusion, the community-based services for battered women and children seem to expand every day as cases of domestic violence increases. Fortunately, due to training and the society embracing assaulted victims positively, cases of intimate male violence against women and children has reduced. However, they are still a substantial number of cases which need to be resolved which calls for more funds and human resources. With continued support, the domestic violence and victimization will be an issue of the past, and the battered women and children services will no longer be necessary.
Amanda, L. (2013). Domestic Violence in Familie...
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