Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. It can affect men and women in both straight and gay relationships and it happens between people regardless of culture, religion, age or class.

There’s no single reason why domestic abuse occurs. It can be a combination of factors including social attitudes, community responses, and the individual psychological experiences of the abuser and the person being abused.

Each domestic abuse situation is different. Yet, all abusers use similar ways to get what they want and keep power and control. Persons can be charming, sweet and apologetic one minute and abusive the next. The abused partner can be confused and kept off-balance by these changes in the abusive persons behaviour. Sometimes survivors describe the abuser as having a Jekyll/Hyde personality.

If violence or threat of violence has happened more than once or twice, it is extremely likely to happen again. The violence usually gets worse over time, increasing in both frequency and severity. It is common for the abuse to develop into a pattern or cycle of abuse.

  • There is a build-up of tensions and a breakdown in communication
  • A trigger occurs that sets off the abuser
  • A violent event occurs
  • The honeymoon period follows. The batterer apologizes, asks forgiveness, and swears it will never happen again. He courts the partner. The survivor wants to believe the abuser will change and they make up
  • Life returns to normal until tensions begin again and the cycle continue