What is the issue?
Many survivors of domestic violence face further discrimination and victimization because of the mental health issues that often stem from violence and abuse they have survived. For example, some survivors of domestic violence lose custody of their children because they are dealing with untreated depression, anxiety, or PTSD and find themselves unable to care for their kids without receiving the care they deserve. The U.S. justice system has come a long way in understanding Battered Women’s Syndrome, but much work remains to be done in curbing domestic violence and rectifying its effects on the victim and their family.
Why is this important?
If survivors, who are often unwilling or unable to obtain help because of the stigma surrounding mental illness and domestic violence, face further trauma based on this discrimination, healing can never be achieved. Furthermore, their ability to carry out daily tasks and care for their children may be affected. Individuals who are affected by domestic violence should not be further victimized through legal, administrative, or penal systems. Rather, they should be provided with the support and help they did not receive at home.
How does iustitia advocate and educate on this issue?
iustitia encourages the use of programs for domestic violence survivors dealing with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. It encourages trauma-informed practices in local judicial systems that take into account the trauma history of domestic violence survivors and consider programs that rehabilitate rather than punish.
iustitia represents individuals that have been discriminated against in the legal system due to a history of domestic violence that has triggered a mental illness. Although women are statistically the primary victims of domestic violence, men, transgender, and gender nonconforming individuals also suffer from domestic violence and resulting mental illness. iustitia represents all individuals that have faced domestic violence regardless of gender.
- May 2016: Women with an intellectual disability are almost 70 per cent more likely to be victims of domestic violence, but they are often overlooked by shelters and support services because their needs are seen as too complicated.
Mental Health Service Providers:
- Barrier Free Living
- National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health
- People with Disability
Read more on our blog.
- Afraid to Leave: A discussion of the mental health consequences experienced by survivors of domestic violence and their families