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The cycle of violence is typically associated with violence that occurs in the context of interpersonal relationships. It is a theoretical model used to explain the patterns of behavior on the parts of the victim and the aggressor. This lesson will explain the steps in that cycle.

Cycle of Violence

If you are a fan of the hit drama series Law and Order: Special Victims’ Unit, you’ve likely seen episodes that center around violence in relationships.

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The cycle of violence, also dubbed the cycle of abuse by some textbooks, is a theoretical model used to explain the patterns of behavior by both the aggressor and the victim in a relationship that may or may not involve marriage. It was first proposed in 1979 by Lenore Walker and has since been modified in some sources. This model emerged at a time when many studies were focusing on victims of crime and how victimization occurs. The cycle of violence is associated with domestic violence and breaks down into three stages: the honeymoon phase, the tension-building phase, and an acute explosion. These phases are depicted to center around denial by both parties in the relationship that the problem exists, or is as severe as it is.

Cycle of Violence Diagram
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