Financial Stress and Domestic Violence: The Startling Link - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1301 Words
Date:  2023-03-01


Following the devastating economic recession of late 2007, the issue of domestic violence concerning financial stress has gained renewed momentum in the US. According to reports by domestic violence agencies, the number of cases of battered women has increased rapidly since then. The pieces of evidence indicate that households experiencing more financial strain has a possibility of 9.5% to be faced with domestic violence compared to a domestic violence probability of approximately 2.7% for a family having less financial problems (Renzetti & Lakin, 2009). Despite these studies not providing entirely conclusive statistics of these social issues, studies done on the various economic indicators in our life has outlined how the economic situation can impact on domestic violence. Concurrently, research also shows how domestic violence also contributes to the financial pinch that is felt by domestic violence victims, thus escalating their situation even more. This article will evaluate how various features of economic hardships and strains may raise the risk of domestic violence in families. The aspects of considerations include employment issues, mental and physical health problems, institutional faults present in social service systems like temporary assistance to needy families (TANF), and social and community support networks.

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We begin with a closer examination of how domestic violence rates vary across individual social classes of women. Studies have demonstrated how the outcome of domestic violence is inversely proportional to the financial status of women liable to face such victimization. It means that secure economic women are less likely to meet the challenge of being battered by their husbands as compared to financially unstable others. This study is misleading, though, because people of all classes feel domestic violence occurrence. It should not be assumed that middle-class and wealthy women dare not the victims of domestic violence. The reasons being that many sample reports available are for women who access the social services to safeguard themselves (that is, women who are impoverished and living low standard lives). For the richer women, they afford resources to hire private physicians and not necessarily seek shelter in social services institutions. Through the availability of this resource, these women are capable of concealing information regarding domestic violence from public scrutiny. In spite of this possibility, consistent studies samples and methods indicate how the tendency for domestic violence occurrence is highly dependent on the financial status of families. (Renzetti & Lakin, 2009)

Employment is one of the vital indicators of individual stability and financial health. Based on intuition, it is highly expected that a stronger and stable economic status will result in a decreased likelihood of domestic violence to occur. Although assumptions are always that employed women will less likely face domestic violence as compared to their unemployed counterparts, studies have demonstrated a complex domestic violence-employment-relationship regarding this issue. According to the pieces of evidence, women who are victims of domestic violence have the same employment desire to work or their current job status as those who have never been battered in their lives (Renzetti & Lakin, 2009). However, the severity and recency of this domestic violence victimization, coupled with other factors like childcare social services availability, may have its toll on causing major employment problems to women. Employed women who are victims of domestic violence exhibit physical, mental, and psychological health problems, which negatively result in employment issues like unexplained and frequent cases of absenteeism and difficulties in sustaining their jobs (World Health organization, 2019). This domino effect of the matters relating to employment and continued domestic violence results in more aggravated forms of violence. It is because a lack of employment removes the protective effect for a woman (psychological power like self-esteem and social support provided by jobs), which would have aided her to fight this abusive tendency.

Additionally, documented studies have also demonstrated how women batterers use tactics, often referred to as economic abuse, to remove the domestic violence fighting power from a woman, which is mainly provided by employment (Renzetti & Lakin, 2009). Financial abuse tactics are tactics that are aimed at sabotaging an individual's chances and efforts in finding and maintaining jobs. Economic abuse will often result in women losing their employment, therefore, reducing their financial stability and consequently lose their ability to cope or fight domestic violence. Some level of paid work for a woman (especially one grater than her partner) may be perceived as threatening in the standard form of patriarchy, therefore, prompting some men to turn to violence to regain control. Studies indicate that the economic status of both partners and the factor of male dominance is essential in analyzing the relationship between domestic violence and employment.

Societies with more financial stress experience higher domestic violence than the affluent ones because of the norm of male dominance. Economically disadvantaged men always feel the stress of less masculine power enjoyed by wealthy men. Most patriarchal communities view financial success as the ultimate power over women (Postmus et al., 2018). When male members of such male members are unemployed or underemployed, they usually see violence as the best form of dominance. They will continuously devalue and abuse women, deeming them as legitimate victims for such violence. It shows how the economic situation of traditional patriarchal abiding males results in domestic violence against women today.

Reports also demonstrate that social support networks impact the victimization and perpetration of domestic violence. Studies show that the survivors of domestic seek emotional and other forms of support, such as housing from friends and family members. With the continued economic difficulty being experienced in our economy, the capability of concerned friends and family have significantly reduced (American Psychological Association, 2019). As a result, battered women are more stressed when seeking shelter and assistance after domestic violence. It ultimately forces the women and their children who survive domestic violence to become homeless or receive substandard shelter facilities.

The economic recession seems to be worsening and unemployment rising each dawn. As a result, social services like TANF (temporary assistance for needy families), have seen increased demand by the survivors of domestic violence. The PRWORA (personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act), mandates states to exempt domestic violence survivors from TANF requirements via FVO. The many elements to be included in the waiver stipulated under PRWORA seems complicated, which prompts domestic violence survivors to shun disclosing domestic violence as the primary concern forcing them to apply for TANF. As a result, the intended appropriate application of TANF does not benefit the intended initially groups. (Renzetti & Lakin, 2009)


In conclusion, the economic situation of Americans is a major contributing factor to domestic violence today. Domestic violence is prevalent among all social classes of women but more predominant with those women having low living standards. Employment among women has been demonstrated as a protective measure for women against domestic violence and at the same time, an escalating effect on domestic violence. Jobs can curb domestic violence by empowering women by bettering their living standards. On the other hand, payment employment escalates domestic violence by creating a social status challenge for men who follow the patriarchal system and view violence as a way to gain control over the perceived female. Additionally, how social services like TANF are provided also intensify the challenges of domestic violence.


American Psychological Association. (2019). Violence & Socioeconomic Status. Retrieved November 18, 2019, from

Postmus, J. L., Hoge, G. L., Breckenridge, J., Sharp-Jeffs, N., & Chung, D. (2018). Economic Abuse as an Invisible Form of Domestic Violence: A Multi-country Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse. doi:10.1177/1524838018764160

Renzetti, C. M., & Larkin, V. M. (2009). Economic Stress and Domestic Violence. Center for Research on Violence against Women, 1-16. Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (2019). the economic dimensions of interpersonal violence. Retrieved November 18, 2019, from

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Financial Stress and Domestic Violence: The Startling Link - Essay Sample. (2023, Mar 01). Retrieved from

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