Will he change?

It is natural to hope that your partner will change, or that the abuse will stop. But the truth is that domestic violence usually gets worse over time.

It is possible for an abusive man to change his behaviour. But first he must:

  • Face the truth. He must admit that his behaviour is unacceptable and take responsibility for his actions
  • Stop blaming you, or alcohol, drugs, stress or unemployment for his actions. These are excuses for violence
  • Accept that you have a right to live your life without being dominated and controlled
  • Learn to respect you and treat you as an equal partner
  • Recognise that violence is a choice that he makes, for which he alone is responsible

Abusive men have learned to use violence and abuse to control their partner. What they have learned can be unlearned.

Counselling of any kind will not work unless a man accepts the basic fact that his violence is about his wanting to be in control. It is not the relationship that must change, but his behaviour.

There are perpetrator programmes for men who want to take responsibility for their violence and change their behaviour. Respect – the national association for domestic violence perpetrator programmes and associated support services – can help your partner find a programme. You can learn more about perpetrator programmes here.