Causes of domestic abuse
Many people will try to blame domestic abuse on a variety of factors, and although these factors may increase the likelihood of domestic abuse, they are not the cause of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is a matter of choice for perpetrators. They choose to exert power and control over their victims.
False Causes of Domestic Abuse:
Abused as a child
Many people who are abusive towards their families or partners come from families with no history of abuse. Many families in which abuse occurs do not produce abusive men or women. The family is not the only formative influence on behaviour. Blaming abuse on a person’s own experience can offer an excuse for it, but it denies the experiences of the majority of individual survivors of abuse who do not go on to abuse others.
Lack of control
Most violent people are able to control themselves not to abuse in public or in front of other people, not to cause injuries where they will show and only to be abusive within their family. This is not uncontrolled behaviour. Domestic abuse is not just about physical violence. It is a systematic pattern of controlling behaviour ranging from controlling household finances to not allowing their family member to leave the house.
Drugs and alcohol
Domestic abuse cannot be blamed on drugs or alcohol consumption. Some perpetrators may have been drinking or taking drugs when they are abusive, but many have not. Also they are not generally abusing everyone; they are able to control their behaviour so that it is only towards their partners or family members.
Domestic abuse is far more prevalent however in households where alcohol or drugs are being misused and it is common for alcohol or drugs to be used by victims of abuse as a coping strategy to deal with the abuse they are experiencing.
Much like drugs and alcohol, stress is not a cause of domestic abuse. Abuse is a choice, intended to gain power and control over the victim. Generally perpetrators of domestic abuse, regardless of how stressed they are, are able to limit their abusive behaviour to their chosen victim/s. There are also many extremely stressed people who are not abusive, and many perpetrators who are not stressed!
Mental health problems are more likely to be caused by domestic abuse than the other way round.
Like the other factors listed here, mental health issues are not the cause of domestic abuse if the abuse is planned, controlled and limited only to a specific person or small number of people within the family setting.
Some mental health problems do lead to violent behaviour but this is uncontrolled and unpredictable. This does not make it acceptable and victims of abuse in this way still need to be offered safety and protection.
People with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it.