Towards a Common Understanding
Family violence occurs within a family context and can involve spouse-to-spouse violence, parent-to-child abuse, and adult family members to elders.
Spousal abuse occurs in a variety of relationships, including marriage, common-law, dating and co-parenting (when living separately), and can continue when a relationship ends. In fact, the risk for escalating abuse is highest in the weeks and months immediately following the end of the relationship.
Family violence and spousal abuse involves an imbalance of power within intimate relationships. It involves the abuse of power of one partner or family member over another, in order to control the partner or family member. Attitudes and beliefs (such as a sense of entitlement) give rise to and reinforce abusive behaviour.
Family violence is not caused by stress, anger, substance abuse, poverty or mental illness. It may be exacerbated by these circumstances.
Even though statistically, men tend to be abusers and women the abused in spousal abuse, most men are not abusers. In fact, men have a central role in helping to prevent domestic violence in all its forms.