Why Do Victims Stay?

While a variety of reasons exist, it is very possible the abuse victim might be locked into a cycle of violence. There may be a combination of situational and emotional factors. Below are some of the most common reasons why abuse victims stay with their abuser.



  • The abuse victim fears the abuser. Often threats are made against the victim; for example, the abuser threatens to kill them or their family if the violence is reported to anyone.
  • The abuse victim fears retaliation if the abuse is reported.
  • Even if it is a neighbour who reports, the abuser may take it out on the victim.
  • The abuse victim fears greater physical danger to themselves and their children if they attempt to leave.
  • Fear of loneliness
  • Fear that partner is not able to survive alone
  • The victim stays for the sake of the children, or the abuser may make threats of violence against the children if the abused partner tries to leave. The abuser frequently threatens to take the children away from the victim. 


Isolation / Lack of Skills

  • Often the abuser is the victim’s only support system.  
  • Social isolation resulting in lack of support from family or friends and lack of information regarding support
  • The victim may be economically dependent on the abuser and, not having a marketable job skill, there is no realistic alternative to the abuser's financial support
  • Lack of money
  • Socialization and/or religious or cultural beliefs demand that the couple maintain the façade of a good marriage 



  • The victim has been taught and believes themselves to be powerless, and therefore views the situation from that perspective.
  • The abused partner may have lived in a home in which one parent beat the other and/or the children and sees violence as an inevitable part of the way in which couples relate
  • Experienced abuse as a child
  • The victim may rationalize the beatings, believing that they must have "deserved the punishment" or that the abuser was just "too drunk" to know what they were doing.


Believe it is an Isolated Incident

  • The abuse takes place during a relatively short period of time. Afterwards the abuser may be quite gentle, apologetic, loving, and may promise never to hurt the abused partner again.
  • May be convinced that this beating will be the last or will rectify the situation themselves before there is a chance of it happening again.


Housing / Special Circumstances

  • Lack of alternative housing
  • Cultural and religious constraints 
  • The victim has tried to leave before
  • They were assaulted during a prior attempt to leave
  • Their partner found them after having left
  • The abuser is their personal care attendant
  • They are unemployed or lack the appropriate skills
  • English is not their first language
  • There are mental health challenges
  • The abuser or the victim has drug or alcohol addictions. 



  • No one believes he or she is being abused
  • He or she doesn't think they are being abused