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Because of many recent incidents of rape, domestic violence has become a hot topic around the world. It has been a worldwide epidemic for many years, and it is affecting a large number of families. Domestic abuse has a long history dating back to the dawn of man's life. Pennsylvania, like the rest of the country, has seen a number of incidents of domestic violence, long after it was deemed illegal. Domestic violence in Pennsylvania is described as an act of abuse that is committed intentionally, knowingly, that recklessly and results in bodily harm of some sort. Moreover, it includes intimidation, fear of bodily injury, any form of assault (sexual and not sexual) sexual abuse of minors, rape, and any stalking that puts a family member in danger. The act of harm takes place between couples, intimate partners, and family members for to qualify as domestic abuse, and it can be sexual, physical, or emotional.
Initially, men thought that they had a right to chastise their wives because nothing was being done about it. Nonetheless, times have changed as laws have been enacted to protect women from abuse from men. Yet, despite there being laws against domestic violence, there are several reported cases of domestic violence every minute every second in the United States. As a result, the domestic violence laws in the state of Pennsylvania have undergone several changes over the years to ensure everyone is protected starting with children, women, and men.
In Pennsylvania, domestic violence is considered illegal. When any form of domestic violence is reported by a victim, and it is confirmed, an arrest is made so that the perpetrator can face the law. It is always the work of the prosecutor to decide whether charges are to be pressed. Since the laws on domestic violence in Pennsylvania has undergone many changes in the recent years, the penalties for domestic abuse ranges from felony charges, incarceration, to being ordered to take counseling or anger management classes and this applies to everyone who has been found guilty of domestic abuse. The sentence enforced largely depends on the severity of the abuse or rather harm caused on the victim. Nonetheless, despite the laws surrounding domestic violence being tough, the Pennsylvania state laws are constantly changing but to take care of domestic violence victims.
It is not long ago that the formal legal systems of the state of Pennsylvania did very little to protect the rights of children and men because the state actors believed that domestic violence mostly affects women. Due to the public outcry about the laws, the laws of domestic violence have changed, and the state of Pennsylvania recently included men and children in the domestic violence laws as a way to combat violence in homes. Domestic violence in most cases affects women. However, women are not the only victims of this form of abuse, and this is why the state of Pennsylvania had to recently include men and children domestic abuse laws. Domestic violence has several effects both on the parents and on the children.
In Pennsylvania, through the Protection from Abuse Act, the victims of domestic violence are protected by the state (Johnsen and Robertson 1557). The act sets out laws that protect family members from domestic violence, and this is not limited to only physical abuse. The law protects families from any form of violence by household members and abuse from relatives. The Pennsylvania courts issues “protection from abuse orders” when there is a reported threat or abuse by household members or family members (FindLaw). Since domestic violence has adverse effects on both the parents, their children in the future, and the entire family as a whole, it is vital for the Pennsylvania state laws to protect all the victims or any other person vulnerable to domestic violence.
Men have always been the invisible victims of domestic violence in the state of Pennsylvania. In most cases, domestic violence on women is something that has been in public view for a very long time, but the honest truth is that even men are abused far more than we can think of or expect. Typically, men are perceived to be physically stronger than women and children, and so it is always assumed that they cannot be abused in a family or a relationship (Meier 17). Most men abused by their spouses have been facing several challenges getting justice because of the previous laws on domestic violence. Most men are always assaulted by their spouses, yet they are ignored by the police and the public since they considered the primary abusers. However, with the changes in the domestic violence in the state of Pennsylvania, it will be easier for them to get justice just like the women facing domestic abuse.
Just like men, children are also invisible victims of domestic violence in the state of Pennsylvania. Children are being exposed to domestic violence at an alarming rate either directly or as witnesses to the abuse and this is detrimental to their mental health and future behaviors. According to McDonald et al., children who face domestic violence always feel vulnerable and isolated because they have to hide what is happening in their homes (8). They do not even talk about it with their friends and their peers while playing for fear of being intimidated. As a result, most of them suffer silently, and most countries tend to forget that just like women, children are victims of domestic violence, only that they fear to speak about it in public. Domestic violence has adverse effects on the future life of children. For instance, Lansford et al. note that exposed domestic abuse have a tendency of inhibiting violent behaviors in their future life and even becoming delinquents (1210). Moreover, child abuse has a high correlation to physical and emotional problems in future, including, substance abuse. Children need to be raised in secure and safe homes so that they can develop into productive and caring adults in future. Therefore, since the domestic violence laws in Pennsylvania have been changing with time, the laws have accommodated children, and for this reason, they will be protected from domestic abuse the same way women are protected by the law for all these years.
It is true that the Domestic violence laws have changed over the years, but the fact remains that the acts of domestic violence are still prevalent in the state of Pennsylvania. Initially, the laws were in favor of women because it was believed that domestic violence was always against women. Nonetheless, due to public outcry, the laws have recently changed to accommodate the men and children in Pennsylvania. Domestic violence can have an adverse impact on the victims whether they are men, women, or children. The most affected because of domestic violence are the children because; they fail to get parental guidance and love from their parents due to constant fights and abuse (Meier 35). As a result, they end up exhibiting nonstandard, disobedient, aggressive, and whining behaviors in the future. Therefore, with the State of Pennsylvania including men and children in the domestic violence laws all people will be protected from the adverse effects of this form of abuse, especially children who are invisible victims.
In conclusion, in Pennsylvania, domestic violence is an act of abuse among household members or family members by inflicting bodily/emotional harm, rape, incest, physical or sexual abuse, and other acts of intimidation that can cause harm to the victim. Domestic violence affects everyone starting with the entire family, their friends, and even the community at large. In most cases, it affects women; nonetheless, they are not the only victims of domestic abuse. Today, domestic violence against men and children is common in several households, but little was being done to end it, and this is why the state of Pennsylvania had to recently include men and children in their domestic violence laws. The laws regarding domestic violence in Pennsylvania have undergone several changes in recent years to accommodate everyone. Initially, the laws were designed to protect women against domestic violence with men and children remaining the invisible victims of domestic violence in the state of Pennsylvania. Domestic violence occurs within families, and it affects women, men, and children and all of them should be protected by the law.
FindLaw. Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Laws. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017. http://statelaws.findlaw.com/pennsylvania-law/pennsylvania-domestic-violence-laws.html
Johnsen, Peter, and Robertson Elia. "Protecting, Restoring, Improving: Incorporating Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Restorative Justice Concepts into Civil Domestic Violence Cases." U. Pa. L. Rev. 164 (2015): 1557. Print.
Lansford, Jennifer E., et al. "Attitudes Justifying Domestic Violence Predict Endorsement of Corporal Punishment and Physical And Psychological Aggression Towards Children: A Study In 25 Low-And Middle-Income Countries." The Journal of Pediatrics 164.5 (2014): 1208-1213. Print.
Meier, Joan S. "Brief of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, Aequitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women, & Futures Without Violence as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent, Voisine v. United States, No. 14-10154 (US Jan. 26, 2016)." (2016):1-46. Print.
Mcdonald, Shelby Elaine, et al. "Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence: Identifying Differential Effects of Family Environment on Children's Trauma and Psychopathology Symptoms Through Regression Mixture Models." Child Abuse & Neglect 58 (2016): 1-11. Print.
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