Violence is taught by example. The abuser may have a background of violence having grown up in an abusive environment. The root causes of spousal abuse/intimate partner violence may include behaviours learnt in the abuser’s childhood used in the abuser’s family as a means of maintaining control.

This may lead to the continuation of a generational cycle of abuse and violence for the abuser who grew up in an environment where control was maintained through verbal threats, intimidation and conflicts escalate into physical violence. A person who was raised with abuse and violence may have very little self-worth and poor self-esteem.

Other causes may include mental illness, criminal history or tendencies, alcohol and drug abuse. Economic downturns, financial difficulties, job loss or lack of genuine love. Other risk factors are lack of income, financial dependence and the issue of the headship of man and household chores.