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 suspicion, insecurity, provocation, infidelity, toxic in-laws, mental illness, criminal history or tendencies, alcohol and drug abuse. Other risk factors are economic difficulties, job loss, prolonged unemployment, financial dependence, lack of genuine love and the issue of the headship of man and household chores.