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1.1   Background to the study

A family is the first social community in the life of any person or group of persons. It is from this that an individual attaches and understands the values of culture, assimilates the first social roles and acquires the experience of social behavior. In the family, this person takes their first steps, experiences the first joys and sorrows, and then, leaves the family and faces a big world. Then the person returns when he feels uncomfortable out there. The family is not just a simple set of individuals engaging in their activities. It’s a complex social formation. Each member of the family is both a unique individuality and an integral part of a whole family group. The family is a small social group. Individual intra-group processes and phenomena are typical here. At the same time, the family is distinguished from the other small groups by some peculiar features. They are marital or kinship ties among its members, a common way of life, special moral-psychological and emotional-ethical as well as legal relations.

Also, the family has other features like lifelong adherence to the family group (the family is not chosen, a person is born in it). In addition, it has the maximum heterogeneous composition of the group (age, gender, personal, social, professional, and other differences of family members). One more feature is the maximum degree of informal contact in the family and the increased emotional significance of family events. Any family is created with the purpose of satisfying some important needs for its members. However, this beautiful picture of an ideal family has been threatened over time by what we have termed domestic violence of family violence. Family violence, also called domestic violence, intimate partner violence, relationship violence or inter-personal violence, is a pattern of intentionally violent or controlling behavior used by a person against a family member or intimate partner to gain and maintain power and control over that person, during and/or after the relationship. An intimate partner may be a married or dating couple or joined in domestic partnership. Some examples of “intentionally violent or controlling behavior” include: control over someone’s schedule; doesn’t allow access to the phone and/or monitors calls; limits use of the car or doesn’t allow a car; persistent calling at work to check up or not allowing someone to work; doesn’t permit use of birth control; name calling and/or threatening family, friends, pets destruction of property. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. The definition adds that domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender”, and can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic and psychological abuse (Office of Violence Against Women, 2007). Domestic violence is also known as domestic abuse, spousal above, battering, family violence and intimate partner violence. It is a pattern of abusive behaviours by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family or cohabitation. Domestic violence, so defined, has many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse otherwise known as neglect; and economic deprivation (Seimeniuk, Krentz, Gish & Gill, 2010).

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Domestic violence and abuse is not limited to obvious physical violence. It can mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, harassment and stalking (National Network to End Domestic Violence, 2011). Domestic violence occurs globally (UNICEF, 2005). Families from all social, racial economic, educational and religious backgrounds experience domestic violence in different ways. In the United States of America, each year, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner related physical assaults and rapes while men are victims of about 2.9 million intimate partner related physical assaults. In parts of the third world generally and in West Africa, in particular, domestic violence is prevalent and reportedly justified and condoned in some cultures. For instance, 56% of Indian women surveyed by an agency justified wife-beating on grounds like –bad cook, disrespectful to in-laws, producing more girls, leaving home without informing, among others.

Reports from IRIN (2007) show that 25% of women in Dakar & Kaolack in Senegal are subjected to physical violence from their partners and that very few admit that they are beaten – while 60% of domestic violence victims turn to a family member, in three-quarter of the cases, they are told to keep quiet and endure the beatings. The reports also reveal that a law passed in the Senegalese penal code punishing domestic violence with prison sentences and fines is poorly enforced due to religious and cultural resistance. In Ghana, spousal assaults top the list of domestic violence (IRIN, 2007) In Nigeria; reports reveal “shockingly high” level of violence against women (Afrol News, 2007). Amnesty international (2007) reports that a third (and in some cases two-thirds) of women are believed to have been subjected to physical, sexual and psychological violence carried out primarily by husbands, partners and fathers while girls are often forced into early marriage and are at risk of punishment if they attempt to escape from their husbands. More pathetic is the revelation of gross under reporting and non-documentation of domestic violence due to cultural factors (Afrolnews, 2007). It is the singular objective of this study to examine the effect of domestic violence as it regard family stability.

1.3   Objectives of the study

The study has the following objectives as its focus:

a.   To determine the causes of the domestic violence.

b.   To examine the effect of domestic violence on the stability of the family.

c.    To determine the economic impact of domestic violence.

1.4   Research hypotheses

The study formulated and developed for testing the following hypotheses:

H0: domestic violence does not have a significant effect on the stability of families.

H1: Domestic violence has a significant effect on the stability of families.

H0: There is no significant relationship between domestic violence and economic growth.

H1: There is a significant relationship between domestic violence and economic growth.

1.5   Significance of the study

This study will provide comprehensive details regarding domestic violence. Furthermore, it will provide a balanced view of the situation thereby allowing the reader to attain a better understanding. The study will serve as a reference point for further researches. The study is an academic contribution to numerous literatures on domestic violence.

1.6   Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study involves the time & money spent, the tools/materials and techniques used, and the number of personnel needed for the experiment to be completed. For this study, the researcher undertook a personal research work. Time was really unavailable for the study to accommodate other areas. The study is limited to Jos, Plateau state. The study encapsulates relevant and related literatures on domestic violence

1.7   Definition of Terms

Domestic: Relating to the running of a home or to family relations.

Violence: Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development, or deprivation," although the group acknowledges that the inclusion of "the use of power" in its definition expands on the conventional understanding of the word.

Family: the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children also: any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family a single-parent family.

Stability: the state of being firmly fixed or not likely to move or change.

1.8   Organization of the Study

The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.

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