Florida: Domestic Violence (344)Page 3 of 10

2. Risk and Protective Factors for IPV

Risk and protective factors for domestic and family violence include individual, relationship, community, and societal issues. Understanding these multilevel factors can help identify opportunities for prevention.

In a review of by the World Health Organization of risk and protective factors in low- and middle-income countries, individual-level factors were age, education, employment, alcohol, or substance consumption, and past exposure to violence and abuse. Women’s and men’s past experience of—and exposure to—violence consistently increased the odds of abuse in the present. Consumption of alcohol or substances by the male partner consistently increased risk of partner violence (Ghoshal et al., 2023).

Relationship-level factors that increased partner violence included justification of violence against women by either partner, marital status, ages at exposure to sexual experiences, suspicions of infidelity, and level of gender inequity in the relationship. Married women had higher odds of abuse than those in an intimate relationship but not married. Men who learn that women and girls are not equally respected are more likely to abuse females in adulthood (Huecker et al., 2023).

Gender equitable relationships with shared or equal decision-making lowered odds of abuse. Household-level factors showed that smaller-sized families were a protective factor against abuse. Compared to women with no children, those with more children had higher risks. At the community level, it was found that women living in rural areas had reduced risks compared to those in urban areas (Ghoshal et al., 2023).

Children who are victims or witness domestic and family violence may believe that violence is a reasonable way to resolve a conflict. Women who witness domestic violence as children are more likely to be victimized by their spouses. Abusers learn violent behavior from their family, community, or culture. In other words, they see violence and are victims of violence (Huecker et al., 2023).

Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence

Individual factors

  • Low self-esteem
  • Aggressive or delinquent behavior as a youth
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Depression, anger, hostility, psychological aggression
  • Antisocial or borderline personality traits
  • Prior history of being physically abusive
  • Having few friends, isolation
  • Emotional dependence and insecurity
  • Belief in strict gender roles
  • Desire for power and control
  • Being a victim of physical or psychological abuse
  • Poor parenting as a child

Relationship factors

  • Marital conflict
  • Marital instability
  • Dominance and control by one partner over the other
  • Economic stress
  • Unhealthy family relationships and interactions

Community factors

  • Poverty and associated factors
  • Lack of institutions, relationships, and norms
  • Weak community sanctions against IPV

Societal factors

  • Traditional gender norms