Domestic Violence Intervention 1 RUNNING HEAD: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: INTERVENTION WITH WOMEN IN CRISIS Domestic Violence: Intervention with Women in Crisis COUN 604 – Crisis Counseling Liberty University DLP December 17, 2009 Domestic Violence Intervention 2 Abstract Domestic Violence is a crisis that many families have experienced. Women are often caught off guard and are unprepared for the series of battering to occur; they may be unsure of how to proceed and what they will do if they decide to leave. Crisis affects each woman differently.

An individual’s personal, material, and social resources impact how a person will respond to a crisis. The individual’s resources also impact how long the person will be going through the crisis and how the person will rebuild his or her life after the crisis. The purpose of crisis intervention is to provide individuals with immediate options to deal with their crisis situations and to provide emotional, directional, or physical support if needed. There are some crisis intervention methods that are available for use when dealing with domestic violence.

Combinations of different aspects of effective crisis intervention models will provide a more holistic and personalized experience for each individual. This paper will present a crisis intervention method designed specifically for domestic violence. Domestic Violence Intervention 3 Domestic Violence: Women in Crisis Crisis Defined The term crisis can be interpreted in many different ways. According to Kanel (2007), a crisis is composed of three parts which are a precipitating event, perception of the event that causes distress, and failure of an individual’s usual coping methods.

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Gerald Caplan, an important contributor to the field of crisis intervention, defines a crisis as “an obstacle that is insurmountable for a time by using customary problem solving methods” (Kanel, 2007, p. 1). Crisis can also defined as a crucial stage or turning point in the course of something. Regardless to which interpretation a crisis worker chooses to use, it is understood that a crisis is a situation that can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. The term crisis is often used to describe a situation that causes panic, loss of control, or an emergency.

That type of usage is not always correct. Crises can also be stressful events that are a normal part of life that change the lives of individuals. Every individual undergoes a crisis situation of some sort during the major changes of life (Kanel, 2007, p. 2). Five types of stress producing situations exist that may cause a crisis to develop. Those five situations are: family situations, economic situations, community situations, significant life events, and natural elements.

Examples of crises include: marital problems including separation/divorce, loss of employment, natural disasters, neighborhood violence, car accident, major illness, death, child or spousal abuse, and rape (Gentry, 1994, p. 4) When an individual experiences a crisis, it is often unexpected and causes the individual to experience an array of emotions. When in crisis, some individuals are able to react positively and locate and utilize available community resources to assist them in working through the crisis and return their lives back to as much of a state of normalcy as possible.

Other individuals react negatively and experience a range of emotions from psychological problems to illness, to death (Kanel, 2007, p. 3 ). When individuals are experiencing crisis situations feelings of bewilderment, confusion, desperation, helplessness, and extreme discomfort, or danger may overcome them. Typically Domestic Violence Intervention 4 individuals experiencing a crisis situation undergo psychological effects of crisis such as disorganized thinking, preoccupation with insignificant activities, dependence, impulsiveness, hostility, emotional distance, and a threat to their identity (Gentry, 1994, p. ). According to Gentry (1994), seven phases of crisis are often present; some which may overlap, intertwine, or some may not appear at all. The seven phases of crisis are: the precipitating event, perception, disorganized response, seeking new and unusual resources, a chain of events (which may cause another crisis), previous crises linking to current crisis, and mobilization of new resources/adaptation. Crises usually last from four to six weeks. During that time, early intervention and problem solving is very important to prevent a breakdown in relationships and the ability to function normally (Gentry, 1994, p. ). When crisis intervention begins, it is important for the crisis worker to be sensitive to the cultural diversity of the individual. The counselor should be sensitive to cultural backgrounds, alternative lifestyles, people with disabilities, and religious differences (Kanel, 2007, p. 38). Equally important, the crisis worker needs to be familiar with the various norms and traditions specific to the individual so that they are able to help without the client feeling disrespected or offended.

The counselor should be able to help the individual without revealing any bias or judgment toward the person or his or her lifestyle. It is important for the counselor and the individual in crisis to make a connection so that they will be able to work cohesively towards resolving the crisis. Many models of crisis intervention exist. Three models were chosen as catalyst for the P. R. O. V. E. Model for intimate-partner abuse which will be used in crisis intervention for women who are victims of domestic violence.

The ABC Model of crisis intervention is a problem-focused approach which is most effective within four to six weeks of the crisis. Step A focuses on developing and maintaining rapport between the counselor and client. The counselor develops productive communication with the client by displaying attending behavior, asking open-ended and appropriately worded questions, paraphrasing to verify or clarify, reflecting feelings, and summarizing to help the client Domestic Violence Intervention 5 organize his or her thoughts. Step B centers on identifying the problem.

The counselor identifies the events that caused the crisis, explores to find the meaning of the event to understand the client’s perception of the event, evaluates the individual’s level of distress and if they are impaired in any aspect of their life. The counselor then assesses if any ethical matters are present, inquires about substance abuse, then spends the largest amount of time providing the client with supportive statements and helpful information to help him or her develop coping skills and begin the crisis recovery process (Kanel, 2007, p. 70 -87) .

Step C concentrates on exploring and developing past, present, and future coping behaviors. The counselor discusses past coping methods, guides the individual in the development of new coping mechanisms or behaviors and presents alternative methods of coping such as support groups, shelters, medical and legal referrals, and bibliotherapy. The last characteristic of the ABC Model is to obtain a commitment from the client that he or she will follow through with the resolution process that was agreed upon and cement the agreement in writing; if necessary.

In some situations, it may be necessary to refer the client to outside agencies or individuals. In these cases, the client must understand how the referral fits into the overall plan of crisis recovery (Kanel, 2007, p. 88). Another method of crisis resolution is comprised of 12 steps that must be followed in order in their entirety to be effective. The Survivor Therapy Empowerment Program, S. T. E. P. Model includes: labeling and validation of abuse and safety planning, cognitive restructuring, recognizing danger and building strengths, reducing stress and PTSD symptoms, cycle of violence, PTSD, impact on children, grieving relationships and letting go, emotional re-regulation, rebuilding new relationships, pleasing behaviors and compliance issues, termination. (Walker, 2004, p. 391) This model is essentially comparable to the ABC model, the only differences are that the S. T. E. P.

Model explicitly defines the steps that are encompassed in the three steps of the ABC Model and it incorporates the trauma aspect of treatment; which intimate-partner abuse is a traumatic experience. It appears that most crisis intervention models apply the same principals but change a few details or suggested activities to make them different. The ABC Model and Domestic Violence Intervention 6 the S. T. E. P. Model can easily be combined to provide a more comprehensive crisis intervention experience. The Five R Model for crisis intervention is primarily used in Christian counseling. The five R’s used in this model are: elating, releasing, recognizing, redirecting, and reflecting. This method is commonly used in church based crisis intervention because it provides the counselor or minister with opportunities to integrate scripture and evaluate the individual’s relationship with God. The counselor uses examples from the scripture to illustrate and guide each phase of the crisis intervention process. The ultimate goal is to repair or renew the person’s relationship with God in conjunction with recovering from the crisis by providing examples of how Jesus and other biblical figures overcame major adversity (Bailey, 2005, pp. -3). The combination of the ABC, S. T. E. P. , and Five R crisis intervention models will offer Christians experiencing a crisis situation an experience that will heal their mind, soul, and spirit; and prepare them to move forward to a new chapter in their lives. Domestic Violence Defined The term spousal abuse or intimate-partner violence may seem self-explanatory. In the purely definitional sense it refers to the abuse of one of the individuals in an intimate relationship. Usually the relationship is that of a marriage, other times that of a domestic partnership.

Slapping, hitting, kicking, burning, punching, choking, shoving, beating, throwing objects, locking out, restraining, and other acts designed to “injure, hurt, endanger, or cause physical pain,” to one’s spouse would come under the definition of abuse. (Berry, 1996, p. 3) The term also encompasses emotional abuse, such as a spouse consistently ridiculing or demeaning their partner, refusing to let their spouse seek work outside the home, see friends or handle money, or threatening to hurt or abscond with the children.

The term can also refer to sexual abuse (rape) or stalking, which often occurs when the abused partner attempts to leave the abusive relationship. (Berry, pp. 5-6) Domestic violence is usually a gender violence and many more women than men are victims of physical, sexual and mental abuse. Ninety-five percent of the victims of Domestic Violence Intervention 7 battering are estimated to be female under this definition of domestic violence or intimate-partner abuse. (Berry, p. 7) Many women who undergo such repeated abuse usually develop Battered Women’s Syndrome (BWS) which is a grouped under Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Classic symptoms of Battered Women’s Syndrome include: “intrusive recollections of the trauma events, hyper-arousal and increased anxiety, avoidance behavior and emotional numbing, disrupted interpersonal relationships from batterer’s control, body image distortion and/or somatic or physical complaints, and sexual intimacy issues. ” (Walker, 2009) Like other forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, symptoms of Battered Women’s Syndrome may surface after the woman is safe and out of the abusive situation.

However, many women need psychotherapy to help them regain control over their lives; just as with some individuals diagnosed with PTSD, some women may also need medication. It is estimated that on average, a woman is battered in the United States by a partner every twelve to fifteen seconds. (Berry, p. 7) According to a 1984 U. S. Department of Justice report, at least 4. 1 million cases of abuse occurred between 1973 and 1981, an average of 450, 000 per year, and FBI statistics estimate that nearly 20 percent of all murders are committed by family members. Hong, p. 8) These statistics may not be representative given the shame often attached to being an ‘abused woman. ’ Dawn Bradley Berry, author of The Domestic Violence Sourcebook writes: “Last spring while vacationing in Key West, I took a nasty spill off a bicycle and landed on my face. The result…was the biggest black eye I’d ever seen—a classic shiner…the thing that mortified me most was the idea that people might think my husband had beat me up. ” (Berry, p. ix) A recent trend is teen intimate partner abuse which is taking place at an alarming rate.

As many as 12% of youth in grades 7 through 12 have been victims of physical dating violence, and 20% of youth have suffered from psychological dating violence. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009) This abuse puts victims in danger of practicing risky sexual behavior, unhealthy eating, drug use, suicidal behaviors, as well as Domestic Violence Intervention 8 physical injury and death. These victims are also more likely to become sufferers of domestic violence as adults. Intimate-partner abuse can take place across all economic classes, races, and cultural backgrounds.

There are no stereotypes for either victim or batterer: victims are not always passive with low self-esteem, and batterers are not always violent or hateful to their partner. Regrettably, there is no easy way to know if someone is experiencing domestic violence; however, the following are signs that may indicate abuse: • Absences from Work or School: Due to the severity of the abuse, the victim may be forced to interrupt their normal schedule or arrive late to work or school. If this begins to be a common occurrence, it may be a sign of domestic abuse. •

Fear of Conflict: Often times, victims generalize their feelings of powerlessness in other relationships. Conflicts can make the victim anxious, and as a result they try to avoid conflicts by acting overly friendly for extended periods of time. • Injuries and Excuses: In order to hide bruises, the victim may be forced to call in sick or make elaborate stories or excuses for how the injuries occurred. If this happens frequently, it may be an indication that something is wrong. • Isolation and Control: A batterer will exert control by isolating his or her victim.

Examples include limiting access to telephones or insisting on always accompanying the victim. It is common for the victim to agree to these conditions to prevent future abuse • Low Self-Esteem: Among victims of domestic abuse, it is common to have a lot of confidence in some areas of their life, such as work. However, in domesticabuse situations, the victims may feel powerless and believe they are better off with their abuser as part of their lives. • Passive-Aggressive Behavior: Victims of abuse may lack the ability to identify and express their feelings.

As a result, they may express themselves in a passive, non-confrontational manner, but then react aggressively. Domestic Violence Intervention 9 • Personality Changes: Personality changes arise when the victim has learned that it is easier to act certain ways around their batterer than to experience additional abuse. As a result, they change their personality as a form of protection. • Self-Blame: Victims may take all the blame for things that go wrong. If this occurs frequently, it may be a sign of abuse. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009)

Causes of the Problem Although there is no specific cause for domestic violence, women at the highest risk for being the victim of domestic violence include those with male partners who abuse drugs (especially alcohol), are unemployed or underemployed, have not graduated from high school, and are or have been in a romantic relationship with the victim. Unmarried individuals in heterosexual relationships tend to be more at risk for becoming victims of intimate partner abuse. A mind-set that gives men power over women puts individuals at risk for becoming involved in an abusive relationship, either as a perpetrator or as a victim.

Domestic violence against women tends to be reported more often by victims who are in a relationship with a man with more conservative religious views than their own, regardless of whether or not the couple is of the same or different religions or denominations. Regular attendance at religious services is also apparently associated with less reported intimate partner abuse. Research shows that those who grew up in a household in which domestic violence took place are more likely to become either perpetrators or victims of intimate partner violence as adults.

Teenagers who suffer from mental illness are also at risk for being an abusive relationship as young adults. African American and Hispanic teens have been found to be at higher risk for being victims of teen domestic violence. Another risk factor for teen dating/domestic violence includes poor academic achievement in school. P. R. O. V. E. Crisis Intervention Model – developed by Sonja Branch-Wilson This model is designed to assist women who are experiencing a crisis as a result of intimate-partner abuse.

The initial evaluation and early sessions are designed to be individual therapy and then changes into a group therapeutic environment. It is designed Domestic Violence Intervention 10 in this manner with the thought that it would be easier to terminate the therapeutic relationship from a group setting versus an individual setting; preventing a possible traumatic experience or relapse. The goal of this therapeutic model is to focus on the woman’s strengths so that she regains the ability to trust herself and others.

Through this treatment model, consisting of 5 steps, the battered woman will “prove” to herself that she is beautiful, capable, can trust, strong, and worthy. The steps are: P- Providing a safe space and safety planning; client/counselor create a safety plan; counselor must be mindful to ask for permission to do everything because trust is broken and the victim feels violated; counselor must also continuously discuss confidentiality as a form or reassurance. During this step the counselor will also refer to a medical specialist if needed; who will decide is medication is necessary due to Battered Woman’s Syndrome.

R- Risk assessment and assessing the cycle of violence; counselor will delve into the victim’s background in the relationship, if she was previously a victim of abuse or if her abuser has a history of abuse. O- Open dialogue in group therapy; through these sessions (organized support groups) the victims will further organize support systems inside and outside of the therapeutic environment to improve their social network; victims will participate in peer role modeling and participate in stress and relaxation exercises.

The most important activities during this phase are journaling and having the victims write a letter to their abusers regarding feelings toward the abuse; of course to prevent any further experiences or episodes the letters will be kept in there file and mailed only to their new safe haven, if requested. V- Validation of victim’s strengths; the counselor should emphasize positive ways she has protected herself throughout the abuse; search for her other personal strengths that she can use as coping mechanisms.

E – Establish a treatment plan and Empower; this step allows the victim to take necessary actions to regain her life and live freely in peace. Counselor provides Domestic Violence Intervention 11 resources for victim to do goal setting and action planning, including attending long term domestic violence support groups upon termination. The ultimate goal prior to and after termination is self-efficacy and management. Biblical Connections The Bible teaches us how to have healthy relationships. God commands husbands to care for their wives and wives to do the same.

The Bible also teaches us not to seek vengeance and love they neighbor as you would love yourself. Thusly, intimatepartner violence is not of God and there are examples to support this belief. The Bible says that domestic violence is sin and wickedness and must be stopped. (The Holy Bilbe, NKJV, Malachi 2:13-16; 1 Peter 3:7; Ephesians 4:31; Matthew 5:21-22; Luke 12:45-46; Leviticus 25:17; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:1-5) The account of Abigail in 1 Samuel 25 praises the actions taken by a victim of domestic violence to protect her family from their abuser.

In the Old Testament, Abigail is praised for saving her family from the actions of her abusive husband, even though this required her to disobey his commands. The Bible is clear about marriage as a relationship of mutual support and concern. (The Holy Bible NKJV, 1 Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:21-33; Ephesians 4:32; Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 12:24b-26) In the New Testament, each account where wives are directed to submit to their husbands, it simultaneously commands husbands to love, protect, and honor their wives, and to not treat them harshly.

Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands “as is fitting in the Lord” (The Holy Bible, NKJV, Colossians 3:18), and in doing so, to fearlessly do what is right (The Holy Bible, NKJV,1 Peter 3:1, 5-6). Owing to the fact that the Bible recognizes domestic violence as sin and wickedness, God does not support submission to domestic violence. Submission is often confused with obedience, but in the Bible there is distinction between the words; there is a difference in meaning. Victims are encouraged to seek safety. The Holy Bible NKJV, Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12; 1 Samuel 20; Luke 4:28-29; Acts 9:23-25; Matthew 18:15-17) Perpetrators are directed to stop abusing and to be held accountable for their actions (The Holy Bible NKJV, Matthew 5:21-22; Ephesians 4:31; Matthew 18:15-17; Domestic Violence Intervention 12 Luke 17:3). The Bible calls the husband the head of the home (The Holy Bible NKJV, 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:23); this headship should be like Christ’s leadership of the church (The Holy Bible NKJV, Ephesians 5:23).

Christ taught and demonstrated that leaders should be servants, and lord it over others (The Holy Bible NKJV, Matthew 20:25-28; Luke 22:25-26; John 13:14-15; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:21). Some victims feel that they cannot not leave a violent marriage; no matter how dangerous it is, because they took marriage vows before God. Though the Bible teaches that vows to God are a covenant and sacred, the Old Testament law allowed vows to be annulled if they brought harm or bondage (The Holy Bible NKJV, Leviticus 27:1-25).

The Bible says that domestic violence violates the marriage covenant (The Holy Bible NKJV, Malachi 2:13 -14, 16). Christ taught his followers to rebuke and correct those who transgress against them, and provided a series of safety procedures for doing so (The Holy Bible NKJV, Matthew 18:15 -17; Luke 17:3). He taught that reconciliation may not be possible where the transgressor refuses to stop violating (The Holy Bible NKJV, Matthew 18:17). Repentance must be accompanied by righteous actions (The Holy Bible NKJV, Luke 3:3, 8-14).

Crisis intervention is very crucial to the individual experiencing the crisis. It is important that anyone considering a career in crisis intervention be emotionally and professionally capable of providing crisis intervention. Great care should be taken not to add to the crisis and especially not discount the client’s feelings. In agencies where it is possible, an concerted effort should be made to include elements of the client’s religion into the crisis intervention. During a crisis, people need someone or something to believe in.

In addition to showing them that they can depend on themselves, showing or reminding them that their God is always there for them and will never let them down gives them an additional resource; a spiritual resource. It is important for the crisis counselor to develop trust when working with victims of intimate-partner abuse but not to develop an attachment to the client or vice versa. Attachment in the therapeutic relationship could prove detrimental and place client back into a state of crisis at the Domestic Violence Intervention 13 termination of the crisis intervention sessions.

The aim of crisis intervention is not to form dependence, but to form independence, personal strength and resilience. Domestic Violence Intervention 14 References American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV TR (4th ed. ). Washington, DC: Author. Bailey, L. (2005). Caring for those in crisis. Christian Standard, 4 Bureau of Justice Statistics. Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances. US Department of Justice. http://www. ojp. usdoj. gov/bjs/ abstract/fvs. htm.

Accessed December 17, 2009. Berry, Dawn Bradley. (1996). The Domestic Violence Sourcebook. Chicago: Contemporary Books. Brewster, Susan. (1997). To Be an Anchor in the Storm. New York: Ballantine Books. Greenstone, J. L. , & Leviton, S. C. (2002). Elements of crisis intervention (2nd ed. ). New York: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. Hong, Maria. (1997). Family Abuse: A National Epidemic. Springfield, New Jersey: Enslow Publishers. Jones, Ann. (1994). Next Time, She’ll Be Dead. Boston: Beacon Press. Kanel, K. (2007). A guide to crisis intervention. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Kopala, M. , & Keitel, M. A. (Eds. ). (2003). Handbook of counseling women. London: Sage Kornstein, S. G. , & Clayton, A. H. (Eds. ). (2002). Women’s mental health: A comprehensive textbook. New York: The Guilford Press. Vecchi, G. M. (2009). Conflict & crisis communication. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 12(2), 32-39. Domestic Violence Intervention 15 Walker, Lenore E. A. (2009). The Battered Woman Syndrome. 3rd ed. New York: Springer Publishing Company. Weldon, Michele. (1999). I Closed My Eyes. Minnesota: Hazelden Information and Educational Services.


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