A survey of domestic violence data in Australia revealed that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced at least one incident of violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15.” [1]

In fact, there are a significant number of recorded incidents, with 264,028 recorded family violence incidents in Australia[2] and one in four children being exposed to Domestic Violence [3].

This raises the concern that there are still many perpetrators who are practising their power and control against vulnerable people, including children.

Understand the perpetrator of Domestic Violence

What makes someone become a perpetrator of Domestic Violence (DV)?

Some factors that contribute to being a perpetrator of DV include, but are not limited to:

  • Patriarchal traditions – causing men’s beliefs in the need to secure and maintain their power and control over their partners
  • Cultural or religious beliefs – where man is superior over woman and children
  • Sense of entitlement – their masculinity and expecting of authority over their partner
  • Superiority – seeing their partner as stupid, unworthy and sex objects
  • Possessiveness – seeing women and children as property
  • The belief that a “real” man should be tough and powerful
  • Insecurity issues – to compensate his poor self-image
  • The vulnerability behind the anger
  • Etc.

Remember that violence occurs not because the other person has provoked, but it is the choice of being violent that is often the issue. Often people blame alcohol and their resulting choices in dealing with their frustration and anger. Alcohol may exacerbate the violence, but again the violence is the core of the issue and it is important to closely look at the choice the perpetrator has made.

Domestic Violence also occurs regardless of cultural background, level of family income or spiritual beliefs.

Is a highly conflicting relationship classified as a Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is different from a heated domestic argument. Domestic Violence is persistent or ongoing use of one or more of the varying types of abuse, which include physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, social, economic, psychological and spiritual abuse, resulting in chronic fear and damage to the victim. A highly conflicting relationship is still upsetting but does not result in fear or create damage to the other person.

How counselling can be of help

Nowadays, there are many resources to assist the perpetrators of abuse. However, coming forward to get some help is not always an easy step for both the perpetrator and the victim. Some of the hindrances to getting some help include shame, guilt, embarrassment, cultural issues, spiritual beliefs, etc.

Counselling can definitely help the perpetrator of abuse!

The goal of working with the perpetrator involves: 

  • Understanding their cues and triggers of their abusive behaviours
  • Working through their frustration and anger
  • Working on the core issues of their abusive behaviours, their frustration and their anger
  • Promoting self-responsibility of their feelings and behaviours
  • Changing their beliefs system
  • Planning new actions to prevent relapse

Can a perpetrator of Domestic Violence change for good?

The answer is YES, it is possible for perpetrators to change for good, providing they:

  • show remorse
  • genuinely want to change
  • are prepared to deal with the core issues that relate to their abusive behaviour
  • are willing to put in practice the new ways of dealing with their frustration and anger
  • are prepared to repay the “damage” that they have caused to their partner/victim of abuse and their children to bring some healings, so it is not just stopping the abusive behaviour, but goes beyond it
  • are committed to the counselling process for a long period of time, for at least 18-24months on a regular basis
  • get the right professional help from an experienced professional who is competent in dealing with perpetrators of DV

In my over 21 years of experience in helping perpetrators of DV, I have seen many of them turn around and successfully change for good after they have dealt with their abuse and its core issues, therefore rescuing their relationship/marriage.

You are welcome to write a comment or to pop in a question in the column below if you are unsure how to change your abusive behaviour.

[1] “Partnerships Against Domestic Violence (PADV) begins – Timeline”. 2 March 1997. Retrieved 31 August 2016

[2] Australian police deal with domestic violence every two minutes” 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-08-24