One ethical and legal issue that can arise during treatment for domestic violence victims is that the treatment may fail to realize who initiated the violence (Kimmel, 2002). This could occur in cases where the perpetrator of the violence could have overpowered the initiator of the violence. In such cases, treatment could fail to effectively treat both individuals as violent and sees one as the victim. Further, some treatments may fail to explore the circumstances in which the violence occurred (Kimmel, 2002). For example, a woman could push a violent partner or husband when she sees him attacking the children. The man could report the woman and she is viewed as the batterer without consideration of the circumstances that triggered her actions. In this case, the type of treatment used could focus solely on the woman as the abuser and the man as the victim. In the long run, the root of the problem is not addressed by such a treatment.

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The other ethical and legal issue that could arise in treatment of domestic abuse is when they rely on memory. Some domestic abuse treatments rely on the memory of the victims to explore and explain the turn of events. Even when a person reports the abuse, the victim would often rely on memory to explain how the abuse was perpetrated (Kimmel, 2002). This poses a problem because memory sometimes can be deceiving. A person could underestimate or overestimate the degree of violence perpetrated when relying on memory. In this way, it becomes difficult to have an accurate account of how the abuse occurred and who was responsible. For any treatment to be effective, accurate gathering of data is necessary to initiate appropriate intervention.

Another ethical and legal issue in regards to treatment for domestic abuse is when dealing with same-sex relationships. For example, given the stigma that is associated with homosexual relationships, some people may find it difficult to disclose about the abuse that they are undergoing. When treating individuals from same-sex relationships, some people may refuse to follow through with the advice given for fear of disclosing their sexual orientation (Carvalho et al., 2011). For instance, if a gay man is asked to seek support from friends and family, he may be hesitant because of fear of “coming out” as gay (Carvalho et al., 2011). In other instances, the batterer could threaten to “out” the victim and so the victim refuses to cooperate with the treatment. These threats could discourage the victim from reporting the abuse or even leaving the relationship to secure one’s safety (Carvalho et al., 2011). In this way, treatment for such an individual may not effective in helping address the domestic abuse the individual is enduring.

Finally, the other ethical and legal issue in regards to treatment of domestic abuse is discrimination against men. Traditionally, treatment programs for domestic abuse have focused on women as the victims and men as perpetrators of violence. In fact, when men report being abused by women, law enforcement agencies may not believe them. Even if a man has bruises, it could be assumed that the women caused the bruises as she was defending herself from the man (Kimmel, 2002).

This creates a problem for men because when they are abused, they do not access the appropriate and effective treatment just like women. In this way, many men may refuse to report when they are undergoing domestic abuse for fear of the stigma of being viewed as weak or a pretender. Ideally, with these challenges, treatment programs that are suitable for male victims of domestic abuse are not available. The lack of availability or their limited availability means that men who are experiencing domestic abuse do not get access to sufficient and effective treatment (Kimmel, 2002).