Cycle of violence

Violence occurs in a cycle. In most cases, with time, the episodes of abuse become more frequent and the attacks become increasingly worse. If nothing is done about it, this escalation can result in life-threatening injuries, irreversible wounds, or even the victim’s suicide.

Tension rises

Communication breaks down; the abusive partner finds it difficult to express his/her feelings and disagreement; he/she becomes increasingly annoyed or wants to control everything and refuses to negotiate; the victim notices the signs of abuse and gets frightened.

The violent incident

The abusive partner lets off steam by becoming increasingly violent. The victim feels trapped, frightened and powerless, and tends to comply with the partner's demands.


The abusive partner apologises; promises not to do it again; does everything to be forgiven. The victim regains hope and accepts the apologies.
He/she downplays the acts; justifies himself/herself; conjures up other reasons (stress, etc.) or accuses the victim. The victim doubts him/herself or feels guilty and thinks that it is up to him/her to change.

Peace returns

The outburst is forgotten; the abusive behaviour temporarily stops; it's the "honeymoon" phase but it does not last long. If nothing is done about it, the spiral of violence starts again.