Domestic Violence in the African American Community


Domestic violence is emotional, physical, psychological, sexual, or economic abuse that involves family members, partners, or acquaintances. Domestic violence is widely experienced, with a larger percentage of women affected compared to men (Henry, 2018). Communities of African ancestry are said to experience several cases of domestic violence, but this is not conclusive as this type of violence cuts across races, religions, classes, and sex (Henry, 2018). This paper focuses on spouse problems in California and discusses why domestic violence relates to the following ethical codes: feminist ethics, the principle of non-maleficence, and criminal laws and assault. The paper also explains the applicable legal state statutes and strategies for handling domestic violence as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT).

Different cultures treat domestic violence in different ways; in the family setup, a divorce is the ultimate option for domestic violence against an intimate partner. In African culture or for Americans with African ancestry, divorce is not one of them easily acceptable ways. African culture prefers solving domestic violence by involving community help. Over time, black women in American societies have experienced racism in handling domestic violence cases (Henry, 2018). Several methods should be adopted to ensure that domestic violence is fought within the African American context with equality. Domestic violence can be eradicated with the combined effort of the community without considering divorce. Several laws can be put in place to fight domestic violence by punishing perpetrators while maintaining families.

Reasons for Domestic Violence in African American Community

Black women have suffered domestic violence mostly because of gender, race, and poverty. African Americans are limited to accessing quality education, employment, and a conducive environment to raise their young ones (Akhmedshina, 2020). Such conditions have contributed to poverty, making them be treated as a low class in the community. The poor economic conditions have fueled domestic violence in families and fighting; it has been difficult due to economic disparity (Akhmedshina, 2020). Domestic violence due to gender arises from the leadership structure containing only men. If women can rise to power, then they will be seen as an important and equal gender as well. Women in leadership will earn women’s respect, especially in African American community.

Feminist Ethics on Domestic Violence

This ethics claims that it is wrong to violate a person’s right to well-being or comfort because they are of the female gender. Taking gender as a form of one’s weakness and using it to cause harm is prohibited. Feminist ethics works to restore the value of women that has been lost and bring back the balance between men and women (Akhmedshina, 2020). Some causes of domestic violence are social and economic factors in the family setup. Feminist ethics advocates for compensation of the affected female in violence by getting part of the economic resources owned by the family. Most Men harm women in an attempt to get authority which should not be the best method to acquire power in the family (Akhmedshina, 2020). Feminist ethics strive to protect women from violence because it is always long-term suffering as the violence happens in a family setup; long-term relationship.

Non-Maleficence Principle

This principle states that domestic violence is harmful to women, men, and other associated children and relatives. Non-maleficence asserts that harming others is not allowed. Non- maleficence has the following set of rules; do not kill, do not cause offense, do any causing pain or suffering, and not deprive others of goods of life (Edwards et al., 2017). Upon domestic violence occurrence, this principle and the associated rules are violated, and action should be taken.

This principle focuses on the health effects of domestic violence on the abused. The health effects addressed by this principle are sexual diseases such as dysfunctions, physical injury such as broken bones, hearing and vision loss, and contusions (Bent-Goodley, 2017). Stress-related problems such as eating disorders, headaches, substance abuse, and depression are also addressed by the non-maleficence principle. This principle protects African American women in domestic violence cases as they used to experience poor action taken compared to other women (Edwards et al., 2017). African American women are protected from racism in case of domestic violence by this principle.

Corporal Injury and Assault

A perpetrator can and should be prosecuted in the case of domestic violence case. The approval from the victim is not necessary as the district attorney can use the gathered evidence for prosecution. The victim is usually called to give a testimony as the attorney acts on their behalf (Bent-Goodley, 2017). The evidence presented must not be a great physical injury as only an internal injury or a small wound can be considered.

California state penal code states that confidentiality is important when handling domestic violence. There are several actions that cannot be taken without the victim’s consent though a few serious conditions may breach this rule. Health practitioners are allowed to report cases such as gunshots and serious physical injuries to relevant authorities (Akhmedshina, 2020). Any information about battering cannot be reported unless this victim authorizes it through writing. All confidential information should not be disclosed as well unless with permission from the affected.

NABSW’s and Domestic Violence

The National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) focuses on fighting both social media and physical domestic violence against women. NABSW uses African principles to stand firm against domestic violence (Edwards et al., 2017). Respect should be demonstrated regardless of a person’s gender or race, even between them that stay as partners. NABSW believes that community effort can successfully fight domestic violence and that any offender can change to be good.

Child Abuse Reporting

Domestic violence affects children in several ways; stress from violent parents, neglect, lack of peace and comfort as a result of parents’ wrangles, and sexual abuse. Lack of basic provisions such as housing, food, clothing, and education by parents can be classified as child abuse as well. Child labor is not left out in child abuse cases. When child abuse occurs, physiotherapist professionals are allowed to report the case (Edwards et al., 2017). Therapists should report to CPS by filling out a report form after consultation. Both emotional and physical violence should be treated with great concern and professionally.


In conclusion, domestic violence victims need support to help them get over the emotional, psychological, or physical pain they may be going through. Black American women should receive justice for domestic violence occurrence. Perpetrators of such violence need not only punishment but also counseling. Providing counseling to abusers may be of great help in understanding the reasons for abuse to further eradicate it effectively. Marriage and family therapists (MFT) handle domestic violence by using cognitive therapy techniques to learn what patients are going through. They offer professional counseling and report what’s relevant to concerned bodies.


Akhmedshina, F. (2020). Violence against women: A form of discrimination and human rights violations. Mental Enlightenment Scientific-Methodological Journal, 2020(1), 13-23. Web.

Bent-Goodley, T. (2017). In circle: A healthy relationship, domestic violence, and HIV intervention for African American couples. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 27(2), 132-140. Web.

Edwards, K. M., Neal, A. M., & Rodenhizer-Stämpfli, K. A. (2017). Domestic violence prevention. In Preventing crime and violence (pp. 215-227). Springer, Cham.

Henry, C. (2018). Exposure to domestic violence as abuse and neglect: Constructions of child maltreatment in daily practice. Child Abuse & Neglect, 86, 79-88. Web.