Causes of physical violence

Causes Of Emotional and Physical Violence

Vistelar Blog

Building Safe And Respectful Workplaces

If you have been following this blog, you are probably quite familiar with Vistelar’s structured methodology for effectively managing conflict so it doesn’t escalate to emotional or physical violence.

What you may not be familiar with is our explanation of the causes of conflict that’s the basis for the non-escalation, de-escalation, and crisis management tactics we teach.


The origins of this explanation date back to 2011 when Vistelar collaborated with several non-profit organizations in Milwaukee to apply to be one of the Community Partner Teams within Medical College of Wisconsin’s Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI). Through a competitive process, our team was selected to be one of four VPI teams.

In our research for the application we learned about the list of risk and protective factors for youth violence published by the Centers for Disease Control (view the complete list here).

This list includes individual risk and protective factors, family risk and protective factors, peer and social risk and protective factors and community risk factors.

What struck us at the time was the amount of resources and time that would be required to address any of these factors.

We wanted to have a more immediate impact on youth violence in Milwaukee so, as part of our application, we put together a chart to explain the causes of conflict at the point of impact — the short period of time when a tense situation can escalate to emotional and/or physical violence.

Vistelar’s conflict management methodology was designed to prevent and manage conflict at the point of impact so we created the chart to explain to the VPI selection committee why our methodology was so effective.

We wanted to give credit to the research on youth violence so we included the risk and protective factors from the CDC. But, otherwise, the rest of the chart was focused on what happens at the point of impact.

All conflict starts with some form of disagreement. That’s why conflict is an inevitable part of life — because disagreement is inevitable. People have different viewpoints on things and that’s OK.

In fact, most of the time disagreement and conflict are healthy aspects of being human — and often lead to positive outcomes (think innovation, problem solving, new ideas).

Recognizing Triggers

The problem arises when any of these universal triggers are present, which can result in an impulsive reaction.

  • Stress — from such factors as relationship difficulties, financial problems, work demands, drugs and alcohol, job insecurity, and physical threats — that can heighten the risk of conflict escalating.
  • Indignity — that results from insults, put-downs and humiliation — that can provoke retaliation and revenge.
  • Vulnerability — being perceived as less-than by others — that can result in being the target of bullying, verbal abuse and harassment.

All of these triggers can lead to impulsive reactions, such as closed-mindedness, prejudice, resistance, retaliation and aggression — and, ultimately, to a verbal/physical altercation.

It is this understanding that formed the basis for our structured methodology for addressing conflict.

Many conflict management programs focus on trying to resolve disagreements by finding shared values. However, this approach breaks down in situations where conflict is most likely: when personal beliefs, cultural norms and ethical frameworks clash. Therefore, a universal bridge is need to manage conflict — and, as we’ve discussed in other blogs, treating people with dignity is that bridge.

Allen Oelschlaeger / About Author

Allen is a conflict expert with a focus on creating safe and respectful workplaces. He is a creator of the Confidence in Conflict book series and podcast, leader of the company’s e-learning initiative, and authority on how to best train the psychomotor skill of conflict management. His background includes Wharton School MBA, University of Wisconsin faculty member, and leadership roles in the healthcare industry.

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What are the Causes of Violence & How to Respond?

What is Violence?

Recently, it seems as if some members in our communities have lost their sense of reason. As the riots, which started in London, spread to other cities in the UK, the general public seemed to get the impression that the random and uncontrolled violence was due to something in the air, when the causes of violence may have been due to other factors such as boredom and poverty. The Encyclopaedia of Psychology defines violence as “an extreme form of aggression, such as assault, rape or murder.

There are many causes of violence including “frustration, exposure to violent media, violence in the home or neighbourhood and a tendency to see other people’s actions as hostile even when they’re not. Certain situations also increase the risk of aggression, such as drinking, insults and other provocations and environmental factors like heat and overcrowding ” (American Psychological Association’s website).

Intentionally causing harm to other individuals or property is a serious problem today. For example, the recent video of the Malaysian man whose jaw was broken and then robbed when someone was trying to help him comes to mind. These recent violent events give rise to the question, just what are the causes of violence and what should be done when you are faced with violence?

A Psychological Insight into the Causes of Violence

The most common motivations for violence can be viewed as inappropriate attempts to handle emotions. Often, violence is the medium used by an individual to openly express their feelings such as anger, frustration, or sadness. Other times, violence can be considered as a form of manipulation for individuals to try and get what they want or need. Aggressive behaviour can also be used as a form of retaliation; a means by which one uses to even the score. Finally, violent behaviour is sometimes caused because people grow up seeing violence openly displayed. Violence then becomes learned as an “appropriate” way to behave.

Individuals who act violently overlook healthier behaviour and safer forms of expression to deal with their emotions or to meet their needs (*see article on anger management counselling for helpful suggestions). Sometimes, individuals will choose violence as a means to manipulate others to gain control over a situation.

Other factors which can be causes of violence include:

  • The influence of one’s peers
  • Having a lack of attention or respect
  • Having low self-worth
  • Experiencing abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing violence in the home, community, or medias
  • Access to weapons

It is common for those who act violently to have difficulty controlling their emotions. For some, behaviour can be attributed to past abuse or neglect, false beliefs that intimidating others will gain them respect, or a belief that using violence will solve his or her problems. However, violent actions often work against the individual, and they often lose respect or become increasingly isolated because others view them as dangerous.

Over time, violence and aggressive behaviour often escalates when not addressed; however, there are signs that can help identify potential or immediate violence.

What are Some of the Indicators of Violence?

Signs for potential immediate or increased violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Porting a weapon
  • Pleasure in hurting animals
  • Voicing threats or plans to hurt others
  • Risk-taking behaviour
  • Use of alcohol and drugs
  • Destruction of property or vandalism
  • Loss of control over emotions

Warning signs for the potential development of violent behaviour and acts include, but are not limited to:

  • Having a record of past violent behaviour
  • Membership/affiliation with organized crime
  • Having an interest in weapons
  • Isolation
  • Harbouring feelings of rejection
  • Being a victim of bullying
  • Poor academic performance

What to do if you Recognise Violence?

So what can one do when if you recognize any of these signs? First, it should be clarified that hoping that someone else will act and take care of the problem for you is not an appropriate solution. This choice actually allows the violence to continue. Therefore, one should:

  • Be safe! Remember to be careful and do not put yourself in danger when trying to help a violent individual.
  • Share! Tell someone else if you are concerned about someone’s violent behaviour.
  • Protect yourself! If you are worried that you may be a victim of violence contact the local authorities and ask for protection.
  • Seek professional help! A key to addressing violent behaviour is seeking the assistance of professionals who specialize in violent behaviour.

If you or someone you know is at risk or displaying violent behaviour, it is important to seek professional assistance. Contacting the proper authorities, such as your local police or an abuse hotline, can help provide guidance on how to properly handle the situation. Each case of possible or actual violence is unique and addressing the issue may require different interventions. Lastly, speaking to a trained therapist can help provide added emotional support and guidance for dealing directly or indirectly with aggression or violence.


types, causes, prevention - Administration of the rural settlement Malinovsky village council

Home » Prevention of family and domestic conflicts of domestic violence and prevention of crimes committed on domestic grounds » Domestic violence: types, causes, prevention

So, what is domestic violence? These are physical, verbal, moral and economic insults and coercion that have become habitual in the family with the aim of intimidating and gaining power of some family members over others. Constant insults and humiliation, a ban on work, study, meetings with friends and even relatives, severe financial restrictions and the requirement for detailed reporting - often with a ban on earning money on your own.

Alas, domestic violence exists in all social groups without exception, it is faced regardless of the level of income, education and position in society.
What is the psychological portrait of a victim of domestic violence? This is low self-esteem, increased anxiety and suggestibility, self-doubt. In adult victims, there is a justification for the actions of the offender (“the victim is always to blame”), an exaggerated sense of guilt, a suppressed feeling of anger, and the belief that no one can really help.
The specificity of psychosocial assistance to victims of violence lies in the fact that it is aimed at positively changing the environment in which the victim of violence lives. Assistance is aimed primarily at identifying cases of physical and emotional abuse.

Working with parents about child abuse. Parents seek help, as a rule, not with problems of their behavior towards children and not with a desire to change, but with complaints about the child. A child subjected to moral or physical abuse may behave as an aggressor, broadcasting cruelty towards parents, towards other people, or as a victim, “attracting” the abuse of peers and teachers. It is these manifestations that are the content of the complaint of the parents.

Based on the above, an important part of the work on the prevention of crimes related to domestic violence is the work of public formations under the administration of a rural settlement, institutions of culture, education and healthcare.
The administration of the rural settlement has developed an action plan for the prevention of crimes related to domestic violence.

Visiting families at risk During the year.
Conduct quarterly monitoring of cases of abuse. During a year.
Carrying out unscheduled inspections of the living conditions of children in foster families and families on preventive records for ill-being factors. During a year.
Advisory assistance to parents in difficult life situations. As needed
Produce and distribute booklets on abuse with penalties for parents or their surrogates. During a year.
Placement of information on the prevention of ill-treatment on information boards and on the website of the rural settlement. During a year.
Designing stands for the prevention of domestic violence. During a year.
"Psychology of child-parent relationships" conversation with parents from families on preventive records. As needed.

Types and signs of violence | Glubokoe region | Deep | News of Glubokoe | News of the Glubokoe region

Prevention of domestic violence / Types and signs of violence


Physical violence - direct or indirect impact on the victim with the aim of causing physical harm, expressed in mutilation, severe bodily harm, beatings, kicks, slaps, pushes, slaps, throwing objects, etc.

Sexual abuse - violent acts in which a person is forced, against his will, by force, threat or deceit, into any form of sexual relations.

Psychological - harm to the psychological health of a person, manifested in insults, intimidation, threats, blackmail, control.

Economic abuse material pressure, which can manifest itself in the prohibition of work or education, the deprivation of financial support, complete control over expenses.


Physical violence - marks of blows, scars, cuts on the hands, face, legs and other parts of the body, fractures or bruises, burn marks.

Sexual abuse - sexual touching a person without his consent, forcing a person to undress, forcing him to have sexual contact with him.

Psychological abuse constant shouting and threats towards a person, swearing and using obscene words, humiliation, insulting a person, intimidation, establishing control, etc.

Financial exploitation - denial of livelihood, strict financial control, unexpected financial problems or loss of money, concealment of income, use of a bank card when an elderly person cannot walk, economic dependence on his abuser.

All types of violence are closely interrelated. If the aggressor in the family practices physical violence, of course, this causes mental trauma, and not just physical pain. Economic violence is often based on manipulation and control. There are usually physical injuries and consequences behind sexual assault. As a rule, it is difficult to imagine a situation where the aggressor uses only one type of violence, often the victims suffer from the simultaneous manifestation of its various types.
Rising tension in relationships
Dissatisfaction in relationships increases and communication between family members is disrupted. On the part of the aggressor, planning and “preparation” take place. He/she can visualize the next attack. He/she enjoys the power of fulfilling his/her fantasy. In most cases, the perpetrator is not aware of this internal "preparation" for various reasons. One of them may be the learned "script" of relations in the parental family.

Violent incident
There is an outbreak of verbal, emotional or physical abuse. Accompanied by rage, arguments, accusations, threats, intimidation.

The abuser apologizes, explains the reason for the abuse, shifts the blame to the victim(s), sometimes denies what happened or convinces the victim(s) of exaggerating the events.
It is difficult for the victim, and sometimes it is unbearable for the rapist to be in a state of tension associated with the fact of violence. Therefore, in order to get rid of the "heavy burden" of responsibility, he / she takes some action. The abuser makes excuses and blames the victim for the reason for their behavior. As a rule, the victim is blamed for her behavior. For example, "If you had cleaned the house, I would not have had to hit you" or "If you had cooked dinner on time, I would not have had to hit you.

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