The way we talk about domestic violence needs to change: Researcher

A researcher says the way we help domestic violence victims and perpetrators heal needs an overhaul.

by KAITLIN LEE 660 News
Posted May 19, 2016 7:59 am MDT

Calgary police revealed Wednesday, they’ve seen a 10 per cent spike in domestic violence calls in the past year and a 70 per cent jump in assaults at home involving weapons.

While economic woes are definitely a factor, the disturbing trend may not end when oil prices go back up.

Stephanie Montesanti, assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s School of Public Policy says it’s not enough to acknowledge the problem, the way we treat it may be victimizing people even further.

She says often women fleeing domestic violence end up in shelters.

“But that’s only a temporary solution. There’s anecdotal evidence and indication that women in those shelters are subjected to violence as well,” Montesanti said.

Leaving violent home situations can often mean becoming homeless, which can perpetuate the cycle of abuse.

She says this needs to be viewed as a public health problem, with many root causes equally contributing to the issue at hand.

“We might uncover that the perpetrator is suffering from alcohol or substance abuse — that doesn’t tell us though why that individual is suffering from alcohol and substance abuse. Are they facing forms of discrimination within the workplace? Did they lose their job?” Montesanti said.

Lack of access to treatment could also be triggering violent events.