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The likelihood of an individual being a perpetrator of family, domestic and sexual violence is also of interest. Measurement of this risk is more challenging as reliable information about perpetrators is scarce. Many incidences of family, domestic and sexual violence go unreported and unrecorded, thus perpetrators may not be detected and not counted in official agency records, either within the justice system or through services related to health and welfare. It is also the case that, even when a perpetrator does come into contact with the civil or criminal justice system or other formal process, the incident may not be identified and recorded as family and domestic violence and therefore the perpetrator is not identified.
Individual level risk factors
At the individual level, personal history and biological factors influence how individuals behave and their likelihood of becoming a victim or a perpetrator of family, domestic or sexual violence. These factors include maltreatment as a child, psychological or personality disorders, alcohol and/or substance abuse, and a history of behaving aggressively or having experienced abuse (Chan 2005). Personal relationships such as those with family, friends, intimate partners and peers may also influence the risks of becoming a victim or perpetrator of family, domestic or sexual violence.
The contextual factors outlined in the previous chapter can increase or decrease an individual’s risk of being a victim or perpetrator. The risk and protective factors are also aspects of the Impacts and Outcomes element discussed in Element 5.
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