The Study of Domestic Violence
The study of domestic violence in the Dominican Republic yields to several difficulties. There are hardly any records of reports of domestic violence prior to 1997, because it was not even a crime. Thus, crimes went unreported and have no records within the Policia Nacional. Even today, many women are unaware of laws against domestic violence and many current crimes go unreported. Each statistic presented regarding murder or acts of violence do not reflect the large quantity of crimes that continue to go, not only unreported, but completely disregarded by the Policia Nacional or by the society as a whole . Probably the greatest factor to interfere with any official reports of domestic violence is that the records kept with the Policia Nacional might reflect inaccurate and distorted information. In addition, only 2% to 10% of all acts of domestic violence are even reported to the police.
Thus, the largest amount of information available comes from organizations that are focused on stopping domestic violence. These organizations may manipulate forms of data freely because of the lack of information provided by the government. Lastly, the evidence provided in any study of domestic violence must take in consideration that women still lack the incentive to report these crimes, which have been illegal for less than 10 years.
According to a study by Dominican Today, out of 3,400 women, approximately 44% have been victims of domestic violence, with domestic violence defined as both physical and nonphysical abuse. When disregarding the possible errors of sampling of these 3,400 women, the prospect that approximately 50% of these women have been victims of domestic violence reinforces the seriousness of the problem. However, it is important to note that Dominican Today does not supply with any information of how these 3,400 women were selected for the study.
Also, out of a certain Dominican barrio, over 90% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 claim to have been victims of domestic violence. Furthermore, in about half of these very same cases, the aggressor has been the female’s husband or boyfriend . Again, the location of this particular barrio, may truly affect the data, especially since the exact location of the study is not clear. Regardless of the location, however, the fact that so many women are victims of domestic violence in a specific barrio makes it clear that the problem has not been solved in the past 10 years.
Yet certain studies show a decrease in the amount of women that are victims to domestic violence. The same study by Dominican Today states that within the last five years, 15% of women had been victims of domestic violence while in the past year, the figure lowered to 8% of women being affected . Domestic violence, as seen in the figures above, are generally concentrated in the countryside’s of the Dominican Republic and less in the cities, such that the statistics relating to surveys of women are greatly impacted by where and who the surveyors contact.
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