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  • Adult Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
  • Runaway & Homeless Youth Toolkit
  • Prevent Intimate Partner Violence
  • Violence Against Women Resource Library
  • Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Project
  • Building Comprehensive Solutions
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Establishing cause: Intent versus co-occurring issues

Determining the history of violent behavior and the intent behind it are both critical elements in addressing domestic violence without solely linking its causes to the acquired disability. Separating violent behaviors when they are motivated by power and control from those which might be a direct result of brain injury or trauma will assist survivors, the anti-violence field, the criminal justice system and others in their response to these difficult situations.

To understand these differences, it is imperative that domestic violence survivors are provided with the opportunities to remain actively involved in the processes of establishing causation and history. At the same time, regardless of the intent and intensity of the abuse, it is crucial to support and respect survivors’ choices while they safety plan and make decisions that improve their quality of life, as defined by each individual in response to his/her own situation.