People who engage in domestic violence-type behaviors can stop and save the relationship, but it requires changing both their behaviors and thinking patterns. According to the study, for the person engaging in DV (power and control, or coercive control) behaviors, they need to remove external stressors and instability in their life, and develop a supportive environment. In our view, one of the main challenges is discovering what the “external” stressors are, because they likely involve internal stressors related to their experience as a child. It is not easy to discover and address these stressors.
We believe it would also be necessary for the person to develop new understandings of what constitutes danger to them, new strategies for how they respond to perceived danger, and new thinking patterns for how they perceive the world. What these changes would look like will be different in any individual case. Absent such fundamental changes, we remain concerned about the likelihood of significant changes in power and control behaviors and the underlying thinking patterns.
The Process of Primary Desistance From Intimate Partner Violence
Kate Walker, Erica Bowen, Sarah Brown
Violence Against Women, First Published August 15, 2017 Research Article
This study examined the interaction between structure and agency for individuals in the first or early phase of primary desistance (1 year offending free) from intimate partner violence (IPV). Narrative accounts of perpetrators, survivors, and IPV program facilitators were analyzed using Thematic Analysis. Changes in the self and the contexts, structures, and conditions were necessary to promote desistance. Perpetrators made behavioral and cognitive changes taking on different identities (agentic role) by removing external stressors and instability within the confines of a supportive environment (structural role). Findings provide a theoretical framework of desistance from IPV that integrates social processes and subjective change.