According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, risk factors are characteristics at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes (2015). Domestic violence is not an isolated social issue that can be addressed without understanding it in the context of the culture in which it exists. Over the past few decades, research on domestic violence has shown a commonality of risk factors shared by those who experience violence. Poverty, inadequate education, substance abuse, and the exposure to violence as a child are all risk factors for both being victimized by and perpetrating domestic violence. However, it is important to note that the presence of risk factors does not ensure experiencing violence, but it does increase its likelihood. Further, the absence of risk factors does not mean one will not experience violence, only that they are more likely to be protected from violence. Understanding and addressing risk factors is complicated, and the prevention of domestic violence must begin with decreasing risk factors and increasing protective factors.