Dispelling the Myth that Domestic Violence is a PRIVATE MATTER: The Impact on Barbados Society

Impact on Society

Domestic Violence in its many forms has serious physical and psychological consequences on the victims, as well as on their families and the community as a whole. It is a grave human rights issue that affects all areas of society including health, economic, political, educational and developmental sectors. A socio-economic impact of Domestic Violence on Eastern Caribbean countries has never been conducted extensively. Domestic Violence hampers the realisation of harmonious human development, thus hindering the achievement of a quality labour market and cutting short economic growth prospects. One study exists on the cost of sexual abuse and domestic violence in Trinidad and Tobago. The cost of sexual abuse and domestic violence in 2005 was estimated at TT$487.7 million or 0.51 percent of Gross Domestic Product (UWISTA; 2008). This represents approximately US$76 million (at the September 2013 exchange rate).
A public health issue affecting the physical, reproductive and emotional 
health of the victim
Physical impact include but is not limited to chronic complaints such as headaches, abdominal pains,muscle aches, chronic pain syndrome, seizures, gastrointestinal problems, permanent disability. Reproductive health is impacted with issues such as genealogical problems, vulnerability to HIV and other STD, early pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, maternal death. Emotional health troubles include but are not limited to sleeping and eating disorders, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, self-harm, behavioural disorders, antisocial personality disorders, harmful use of substance and drugs, risky sexual behaviour, substance misuse, psychological distress, stigma, violent behaviours, suicide.
An economic burden for the Government and break to sustainable economic
Domestic Violence has a cost reflected in social spending and functioning of the legal system with medical care, social and legal guidance, psychological counselling and police and magistrate training. It also impacts on the overall economic situation and Human Resource Development of the country. Domestic Violence cause loss of productivity and thus prospects of economic growth. Victims of Domestic Violence who decide to quit the abusive relationship and lead a single-headed household are generally more vulnerable to poverty.
It affects the quality of the education system with children and students victims of Domestic Violence generally experiencing discrimination, educational disparity and difficulties at school (UNICEF;2012).
3.3 A risk for political participation and health of democracy
Victims of Domestic Violence tend to reduce their participation in the political life of the community, national and international affairs as they are victims of a mechanism of power and control causing isolation and desocialisation. As a large majority of victim of Domestic Violence are women, it can affect gender-equality and parity in politics, affecting in the long-term the good health of democracy.
3.4 A national security issue with increased levels of violence
Domestic Violence is a form of violence taking place in the private sphere but having consequences inthe public area. It participates in mainstreaming a culture of violence and male-dominated violent behaviours. Victims of violence carry this violence with them which takes different expressions in society such as being prone to substance abuse, taking part in gang-violence and illicit trafficking.

via report by Margot Mesnard prepared for the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, 2013
-Tru Focus-

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