Different approach needed to tackle domestic violence

Violence is a learnt behaviour. Studies have shown that if a person is exposed to a lot of violence through the media or their families, they are also inclined to turn violent over time (Family abuse: Men need to know violence is unmanly; May 19).

Adults and parents should, therefore, lead by example, otherwise children will mimic what they see.

We need to do more to deal with the problems of domestic violence.

Many victims do not speak out because they accept their abusive family member's apology and believe it won't happen again.

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If people were better educated about such problems, and more go for counselling, then fewer people would be abused.

We should take a different approach to the problem.

There needs to be a shelter for male victims as well as for women and children.

The state should approve more funding for programmes that ensure better monitoring of at-risk households.

Children must be educated to understand how harmful abuse is.

We must acknowledge that it is a national health problem, as victims of domestic violence may miss work or need medical care, costing the economy millions annually.

It could also traumatise young victims, causing them to become violent later in life or commit other crimes.

If a person is violent because of mental issues, then we should hospitalise and help the abuser.

Since victims within a family often do not press charges because of shame or the Stockholm syndrome, the state should be able to charge the offender, even against the wishes of the victim.

As a society, we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to watch out for those who are in relationships that are not safe for them.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline 'Different approach needed to tackle domestic violence'. Print Edition | Subscribe