Domestic Violence

Materials  |  Audio  |  Poll  | Links to Principles of Democracy |   Resources


Should our democracy require health care providers to report domestic abuse to the police?

Imagine you are in a relationship. In a rage, your partner hits you. These blows injure your face. You want to go to the hospital for treatment. But you know that doctors are required by law to report this violent incident to the police. You wonder: Will a report prevent more abuse by holding your partner accountable? Or will a police report lead to retaliation from your partner?

Materials (pdf)

Domestic Violence — Lesson:







Links to Principles

The nature of democracy changes and grows along with its citizenry, but it’s always based on principles that help citizens modify, uphold, and strengthen their democracy. Visit the DDA Democratic Principles and Activities page to learn more about the principles underlying democracy and gain access to activities that help students understand the complexity of democracy. 

We’ve identified some democratic principles addressed in this lesson “Should our democracy allow national referendums?” What principles might you add to the list below?

Please click here for the pdf of the fourteen principles handout on our Democratic Principles & Activities page.


In a democracy all individuals are valued equally, have equal opportunities, and may not be discriminated against because of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Individuals and groups maintain their rights to have different cultures, personalities, languages, and beliefs. All are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law without discrimination.

Human Rights

humanrightsHuman Rights
All democracies strive to value human life and dignity and to respect and protect the human rights of citizens.  Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

Movement: Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of his or her country. Everyone has the right to leave and to return to his or her country.  (Article 13, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Religion: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.  This right includes freedom to change his or her religion and to worship alone or in community with others. It also includes the right to not worship or hold religious beliefs.  (Article 18, UDHR)

Speech: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.  This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information with others. (Article19. UDHR)

Assembly: Everyone has the right to organize peaceful meetings or to take part in meetings in a peaceful way. It is undemocratic to force someone to belong to a political group or to attend political meetings or rallies. (Article 20, UDHR)


Selected Resources

World Health Organization and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Preventing Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence against Women (Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, 2010).

Charlotte Bunch, “The Intolerable Status Quo: Violence against Women and Girls,” The Progress of Nations 1997  (Geneva, Switzerland: UNICEF, 1997), p. 41.

Quoted in “Mexico: Women Reject Normalisation of Gender Violence,” Violence Is Not Our Culture (November
24, 2011), ttp://

Quoted in Ariella Hyman, Mandatory Reporting of Domestic Violence by Health Care Providers (San Francisco, CA: Family Violence Prevention Fund, 1997), p. 6.

Quoted in Ariella Hyman, Ariella, Mandatory Reporting of Domestic Violence by Health Care Providers (San
Francisco, CA: Family Violence Prevention Fund, 1997), p. 2.

Travis Fritsch, “Mandatory Reporting of Domestic Violence: Making It Safe and Effective,” Intimate Partner Violence and Surveillance and Research Project (Lexington, KY: 2004).