Autonomy In Domestic Violence

1779 Words 8 Pages
Introduction: Luckily for me, domestic violence is not something I have ever had to deal with personally. However, it is still something that needs more attention. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV), on average every 9 seconds a women is being domestically abused. If you do that math that is 9,600 women in one day. In State College particularly, there has been two deaths in the past three months according to the Centre County Women’s Research center. These statistics are shocking, but unfortunately domestic violence is not something that is addressed enough. Beverly Gooden, a domestic violence survivor, recently gave a moving speech at Penn State University. She bravely stood up in front of a crowd and told …show more content…
However, when dealing with a client who is suffering from domestic abuse, promoting autonomy could be difficult. It is a difficult task for a counselor to remain neutral and not impose their own value systems, which could break the client’s autonomy. By being understanding and sympathetic toward the client in a domestic abuse situation, which supports autonomy, could promote a furtherance of dealing with the abuse. Sally Hunter addresses the five theoretical models and the ethical predicaments that revolve around domestic violence. Person centered approach and the feminist approach directly relate to the ethical issue of autonomy. Person centered approach relates to addressing domestic violence while keeping autonomy in mind. This approach was seen to be dangerous because the counselor would only discuss domestic violence incidents if the couples were okay with talking about it (Hunter, 2001). Also, counselors were unlikely to break confidentiality because it broke autonomy as well (Hunter, 2001). Feminist approach surrounds the theory that men are abusive because they have a desire for control over women (Hunter, 2001). The aim in this approach is to help women realize the problem, motivate them to get away from the problem, all while keeping their freedom of choice, or autonomy, intact (Hunter, 2001). The problem with this theory is that is seems to alienate men. The sole focus is to …show more content…
There is a correlation between domestic violence victims who also have children who are abused (Lewis, 2003). When women have children it is to be expected that the women has the best interest of her child at heart. However, domestic violence cases can be an exception. While it is assumed that the client should be able to make independent and autonomous decisions regarding the well-being of her child, it is important to keep the beneficence of the child. A women who decides to stay in a domestic violence relationship is putting her child at risk as well (Lewis, 2003). Therefore, a therapist faces the dilemma to report lack of protection to Child Protected Services (CPS) or not report to keep the autonomy of the client (Lewis, 2003). If therapists feel a child is being neglected or in danger in any way, they are legally obligated to report this. Child Protected Services views the decision to stay is an indicator of an unfit mother (Lewis, 2003). Therefore, a mother could face the possibility of losing her child to CPS. Mandated reporting can not only break the client’s autonomy but also breaks the therapeutic relationship (Lewis, 2003). Therapists face the ethical issue of keeping the autonomy of clients or keeping the safety of a child at first

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