We often tend to understand violence only on an individual level, but it is helpful to understand violence from a broader perspective. The so-called social-ecological model describes four levels which are relevant to understanding domestic violence. The model is also helpful in order to understand the abuser's perspective.
On the individual level, personal history and biological factors influence how individuals behave, and increase their likelihood of becoming exposed to or a perpetrator of violence. Among these factors are being a victim of child maltreatment, psychological or personality disorders, alcohol and / or substance abuse and a history of behaving aggressively or having experienced abuse.
Personal relationships such as family, friends, intimate partners and peers may influence the risks of becoming exposed to or a perpetrator of violence. For example, having violent friends may influence whether a young person engages in or becomes exposed to violence. Having violent parents may influence parenthood in adult life and marital challenges. Low socioeconomic status may be a risk factor as well.
Community arenas, in which social relationships occur, such as schools, neighbourhoods, workplaces as well as affiliation to a particular group in society, may also influence violence. Relevant factors include the level of unemployment, population density, mobility and crime rates.
Societal factors influence whether violence levels are high or low. Such factors include economic, legal and social policies that maintain socioeconomic inequalities between people. But it also includes social and cultural norms such as gender stereotypes, and norms promoting violence as an acceptable method to resolve conflicts, whether between state and citizen, husband and wife or parent and child.
Visit Violence Prevention Alliance (external link opens in new browser)