Violence against Hispanic Women in Santa Clara

Intimate Partner Violence against Hispanic Women in Santa Clara


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America prides itself as a highly progressive country where property rights, human freedoms, and the rule of law are adhered to. Yet, as much as policymakers are focused on building an ideal society where the incidence of vices is minimized, it has become apparent that some depravities are deeply rooted in traditions and cultural practices. Mitigating and eliminating them will require a concerted effort from relevant stakeholders. One of the most prevalent vices that are both universal and has survived the test of time is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). One can describe it as the physical aggression of one or both partners in a relationship. IPV is a major societal issue due to the detrimental effects it exposes the victims and community at large to. This proposal examines IPV incidence among Hispanics in Santa Clara County. It examines effects in the community and identifies possible solutions that would minimize it.

Research Problem

The rate of intimate partner violence against women in the United States has escalated to become a major public health concern in the county. Studies show that spousal violence majorly ends in a situation where the woman is the victim. In fact, cases of male victims only contribute a mere 5-10% of the overall domestic violence cases (Office of the District Attorney, 2017). Moreover, studies have shown that women are 9 times safer outside their homes in the United States (Office of the District Attorney, 2017). Empirical studies have also revealed that at an average of every nine seconds, women undergo spousal assault in the United States.

Although the problem is countrywide, Santa Clara has lived to witness rampancy min domestic violence cases. In 2006, reports on domestic violence revealed that there was an average of 4 IPV-related deaths every day in the United States (Office of the District Attorney, 2017). However, Santa Clara reported to be having 6 IPV –related deaths every day.


Several surveys have revealed that the number of families affected by intimate partner violence is at uncomfortably high levels. Physical aggression by an intimate partner may manifest itself in different ways. Forms of IPV include sexual coercion, coercive control, and non-consensual stalking. Although the literature reveals that the effects of the public health issue are felt across most counties in the United States, it is disproportionately concentrated among Hispanic communities such as Santa Clara County (Messing, Vega, & Durfee, 2017). Research conducted by the World Health Organization revealed that 35% of women in the world are exposed to intimate partner violence by their male counterparts. Further, 38% of these cases lead to the death of the victim (WHO, 2017). Intimate partner violence is concentrated among low-income households in urban centers. These groups are also likely to be minorities who face various forms of institutional racism, and as such, do not have any access to the opportunities that the dominant groups enjoy. Another survey also revealed that although both genders are at risk of experiencing IPV, the female gender is disproportionately affected. From the computational results of a research conducted by a task force to determine the gender that is most susceptible to intimate partner violence in Santa Clara, 11% of Hispanic women in the county bear the repercussions of domestic violence. In comparison, only 2% of the male population in the same setting is affected by the same.

Partner violence has a range of universal cumulative detrimental effects on the physical and mental wellbeing of the female victims in Santa Clara. Hispanic women have reportedly sustained physical injuries such as bruises, back and neck injury, fractures, damage of hearing ad sight organs, and thoracic and abdominal injuries. In addition, physical injuries are also known to cause other maladies with non-specific treatment procedures such as irritable bowel syndromes, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain syndromes. Homicides and suicides are also related to partner violence. Other issues associated with domestic violence include stillbirths and contraction of HIV and AIDS. In addition, Hispanic women subjected to IPV have been reported to as sinking into depression, self-medicating with alcohol and other substances, experiencing lethargy, and having suicidal thoughts. Violence during pregnancy is associated with stillbirths, low birth weight, and miscarriages. Lastly, children living with families that experience partner violence have also reportedly shown poor academic performance, high levels of anxiety, and development of long term addictive behaviors (The County of Santa Clara 2018). Furthermore, partner violence has also affected male perpetrators in some ways. For instance, a study revealed that men are also susceptible to IPV-related deaths due to depression and rare cases of retaliation by their female counterparts. Having analyzed the impacts of intimate partner violence, it is important to design a comprehensive counter-strategy that will create a safe atmosphere for women in Santa Clara and redeem the affected families.


Various organizations and community groups have committed their resources in a bid to mitigate intimate partner violence in Santa Clara. One of the most vocal technical team, The Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Death Review Team (DVDRT), proposes possible recommendations that would make the county IPV-free.

Firstly, there is a need to integrate the Lethality Assessment Tool during trials. The Lethality Assessment Tool is used to provide insight, particularly where a victim of an IPV case is not sure what information to share with law enforcers that would channel the course of a case. Therefore, it seeks to help law enforcers to identify cases that require swift referral to a domestic violence agency, provide information to the prosecutors, particularly regarding filing charges, and contributes in the issuance of custody status to cases (Santa Clara county domestic violence death review team). This tool mainly relies on the yes/no factor in order to reduce the anxiety from the victim and streamline law enforcement. In this regard, the Lethality Assessment Tool is important in determining high-risk cases that require maximum attention to guarantee the safety of the victim. The effective administration of this tool is expected to counter the rampancy of IPV in Santa Clara.

Secondly, there needs to be the enlightenment of mental health agencies on domestic violence. The Santa Clara community needs to be enlightened on the resources they can access regarding domestic violence. These resources include, but are not limited to, mental health agencies. A study by the technical team revealed that perpetrators and victims of domestic violence tend to interact more with mental health professionals just before the committal of domestic violence. Some are even willing to be placed on a 5150 hold. With this culture of good communication between the mental health professionals and the victims and perpetrators, it becomes easy to tame the perpetrator by leveraging law enforcement agencies. Therefore, this prompts for streamlined communication among victims, mental health agencies, and law enforcement agencies. Proper cultivation of this culture will most probably eliminate or mitigate IPV in Santa Clara County.


IPV in Santa Clara County is a major concern in the county. The examined statistics and literature reviews on the topic prove that violence among intimate partners is a public health issue that requires attention by policymakers. IPV has physical as well as psychological effects on the victims. It also affects the perpetrator and the children psychologically. Technical teams have proposed the use of the Lethality Assessment Tool during trials. They have also suggested the establishment and cultivation of a culture that would see victims, mental health professionals, and law enforcers to communicate effectively in order to counter IPV.








Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Death Review Team. (2018). 24th annual report. Santa Clara County.

The County of Santa Clara. (2018). Report on women experiencing homelessness in Santa Clara County.

Messing, J. T., Vega, S., & Durfee, A. (2017). Protection order use among Latina survivors of intimate partner violence. Feminist Criminology12(3), 199-223.doi:10.1177/1557085116678924

WHO. (2017). Violence against women. Retrieved from int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women”>

Office of the District Attorney. (2017). Domestic Violence Unit of The Family Violence Division. County Of Santa Clara SCC Gov. Retrieved From

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