Thank you for your interest in The Law Offices of Andrew M. Weisberg. Please fill out the form below and we will be in touch soon

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

*Indicates Required Fields




(773) 908-9811

(773) 377-4310





(773) 908-9811



Aggressive. Experienced.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

blog_homeBlog Home

The Psychology of Chicago Domestic Violence and Your Defense

Over 1,000 women are murdered each year in America due to domestic violence. It is an epidemic that affects men, women, and families regardless of race, socio-economic status, religion, or family structure, creating a traumatic experience for every member of the family, whether they are a victim, witness, or abuser.


If you are charged and convicted, you face jail time, heavy fines, and other penalties that can seriously affect your ability to lead a productive life, be a parent, or positively contribute to society.


So, why do people engage in domestic violence? Understanding the psychology behind these types of behaviors not only provides a potential way to break the cycle of abuse, but also explain the actions of an alleged abuser in court in an attempt to focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.


Psychology behind Domestic Violence: Why It Happens


Psychologists have conflicting theories on what exactly causes certain types of domestic violence, but they can agree on one thing: a victim never causes domestic violence.


In order to break the cycle of abuse, abusers need to understand where violent acts and thoughts come from. This process can be traumatic in itself, and may require the help of a mental health professional.


What Triggers Violence?


Violent acts are “triggered” by certain events or feelings. These triggers vary for different people. Examples of triggers include:


  • Disagreements and arguments
  • A partner threatening to exit the relationship
  • Stress due to financial obligations and unemployment
  • Jealousy, desperation, inadequacy, and other negative feelings within the relationship
  • General feelings of failure within the abuser’s own life

Everyone experiences hardships and stress. So why are some people more affected by these triggers than others? Again, the answers vary.


Some abusers witnessed abuse in their own households and grew to believe that violent behaviors were acceptable. Others act with impaired judgement due to alcohol or drug abuse. Cultural expectations, including the expectation to “be a man” and be in control of their household, may also contribute to overall stress and anxiety. Women may act out based on other cultural expectations and stressors.


These factors can all create an inner dialogue that is overwhelming and destructive.


Abusers may use violence to appear more powerful, but inside, they are seriously struggling. If someone has not learned healthy ways to cope with stress and their inner dialogue, they are more likely to lash out in violent ways.


How This Can Play into Your Defense Strategy


We are not offering these explanations to justify domestic violence, but to put alleged abusers on a path to breaking the cycle. Since many abusers experienced abuse themselves from a young age, they may need outside help and rehabilitation to manage anger, face triggers without engaging in violence, and build a non-violent partnership.


Punishment without rehabilitation is less likely to help break the cycle. The rehabilitation process, however, can only begin with the abuser taking responsibility for their actions and taking steps toward a better future. This is where your defense comes in.


Talk to your lawyer about how you can ask a judge for a sentence focused on rehabilitation. Judges may reduce an offender’s jail time or sentence them to things such as anger management counseling and substance abuse rehabilitation – but only if they believe that the offender is going to take rehabilitation seriously. This proof may come from visits to a mental health professional, following the terms of protection orders, or reaching out for other forms of help.


Chicago Domestic Violence Attorney

Don’t let past mistakes and trauma get in the way of a positive and productive future. End the cycle of abuse by taking the right steps toward rehabilitation with your criminal defense lawyer.



About the Author: 


Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.


Our Blog

Understanding Illinois Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Charges

Sex Crimes | Sexual Abuse | Sexual Assault

In our state, sexual abuse and sexual assault laws are stringent, covering a range of non-consensual acts. These offenses are classified based on the nature of the act, the age of the victim, and the presence of aggravating factors such as force or threats.

This post will include in-depth breakdowns of criminal sexual abuse, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. Being convicted for any of these requires [...]

The Role of Police Misconduct in Chicago Resisting Arrest Cases

Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest charges can be contentious and complex, especially when allegations of police misconduct or excessive force are involved. In Chicago, as in many other cities, cases of resisting arrest often intersect with concerns about police behavior and civil rights violations. Understanding the dynamics of how police misconduct can influence resisting arrest cases is crucial for both defendants and legal advocates.

Allegations of Police Misconduct

In recent years, allegations of police misconduct and excessive force have garnered significant attention in [...]