Tracing Violent Behaviors in Domestic Abuse

Recognizing the signs of abuse and violence can help prevent further harm within a family and in the community. Risk factors that can lead to violent behavior should be recognized as well. Listed are several identifiers that are found among perpetrators of domestic violence pointed out in our Violence Against Women textbook.

Alcohol Abuse

Several studies show a strong correlation between IPV and alcohol abuse, either by the abusing partner or both. Alcohol can be traced back to violent behaviors within a relationship and can be explained using different models based on socioeconomic status, relationship quality and argument styles, and personal aggression. These models illustrate that in combination with these factors and an alcohol problem abuse can arise.

Inter-generational Transmission of Violence

Social learning theory suggests that childhood exposure to violence leads to IPV as a risk factor later in life. For children who grow up in families that are violent, the following are more likely to occur:

  • disruption in children’s attachment processes
  • hindrance in the ability to properly distinguish between love and violence
  • warped perception of what constitutes an unhealthy and dangerous relationship
  • perceived notion that violence is a productive conflict-solving strategy
  • a lack of alternative models of conflict resolution

Social and Economic Factors

Social and economic factors include education, employment, income, and poverty, all of which can influence possible violence from an intimate partner. According to resource theory, when a partner feels as if they’ve lost control of job prestige, income, education, community standing, or interpersonal skills to name a few, the partner typically lashes out in violence, whether in the form of physical force or threats.

Marital Status, Relationship Quality, and Number of Children

In circumstances of non-marriage relationships and relationships with no children or multiple children, intimate partner violence could surface in several ways. According to social exchange theory, social interactions are based on cost and reward exchanges. For non-marriage relationships, less social control, more arguments over boundaries, and less worry of a break-up can increase the likelihood of the occurrence of violence. In a relationship where children are present, it is less likely for women to leave and there is an open door for violence. The reward in these situations in the eyes of the abuser would be control and dominance.

Even with these increased risks present, the implementation of intimate partner violence, or any form of violence, is unacceptable.  Our Violence Against Women textbooks offer information that will aid the multidisciplinary team in identifying, investigating, and preventing domestic violence from making any greater impact than it already has.

If you are someone who helps those who have experienced abuse, maltreatment, or neglect, our books can offer valuable information to you in your work. For more information on what we do, check out our website or subscribe to our newsletter.


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