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Domestic Violence (cont.)

Risk Factors for Domestic Violence

A number of studies have looked into identifying individuals who are most at risk for domestic violence. The most common feature is an imbalance of power and control. However, neither those who experience domestic violence nor the partners who abuse them fall into distinct categories. They can be of any age, ethnicity, income level, or level of education. The following are examples of situations that are common among people who experience domestic violence. It is important to understand that anyone can be abused.

  • Individuals at risk:
    • Planning to leave or has recently left an abusive relationship
    • Previously in an abusive relationship
    • Poverty or poor living situations
    • Unemployed
    • Physical or mental disability
    • Recently separated or divorced
    • Isolated socially from family and friends
    • Abused as a child
    • Witnessed domestic violence as a child
    • Pregnancy, especially if unplanned
    • Younger than 30 years
    • Stalked by a partner

Although the abusers also share some common characteristics, it is important to note that abusers choose violence to get what they want in a relationship. Risk factors may point to an increased likelihood of violence in a relationship, but the person is not destined to become violent because of the presence of certain risk factors. The violence is not justifiable because it happened while the abuser was in a blind rage that he or she was powerless to control. The following factors may indicate an increased likelihood that a person may choose violence:

  • Abuser risk factors:
    • Abuses alcohol or drugs
    • Witnessed abuse as a child
    • Was a victim of abuse as a child
    • Abused former partners
    • Unemployed or underemployed
    • Abuses pets

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