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Victim's Program

Cycle of Violence


  • May last days, weeks or months
  • Stress builds
  • Communication breaks down
  • Victim senses growing danger
  • Minor violence/abuse occurs
  • Incidents occur more often and are more intense
  • Family denies, minimizes, and blames external factors

  • May last a few hours or several days
  • Anxiety is extremely high, explosive, and unpredictable
  • Major uncontrolled violence occurs, serious injuries, even death
  • Abuser blames victim
  • Victim believes escape is impossible
  • Victim may escape, but returns when crisis is over
  • Victim may detach from others and/or collapse emotionally
  • Intervention by a third party (police, child, neighbor, etc.) or recognition of damage done ends this phase

  • May last days or weeks
  • The family is in shock initially
  • Abuser says sorry, seeks forgiveness
  • The abuser tries to make it up to the victim
  • The victim accepts the presents and the promises to never repeat the abuse
  • Abuser seeks passion with partner
  • Fed by victim's need to trust or "fix" the partner

  • May last days, weeks or months
  • Family welcomes a return to normal
  • Abuse is minimized or denied
  • Family wants to believe abuse won't happen again
  • Children become caretakers to 'keep the peace'
  • Can become boring to those seeking excitement

  • Results of the crisis/abusive incident
  • Without consequences abusers will not change
  • Lack of consequences may shorten or erase honeymoon & calm phases
  • Examples: Arrest/jail, batterer intervention program, victim's injuries/medical treatment, victim leaving, frightened children, DSS involvement
    What consequences did you or your partner experience after the abusive incident that brought you to this program?


  • Change calm into tension
  • Increase tension
  • Problems that increase stress
  • Examples: loss of job, sick children, unexpected bill, in-law issues
    What are triggers in your relationship?


  • Verbally or mentally shrinking the severity of abuse
  • Brushing off past abuse as unimportant
  • Examples: "I just pushed a little", "I didn't mean to", "It wasn't that bad"
    What have you or your partner said that has minimized the abuse?