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Includes factors that increase risk as a result of relationships with peers, intimate partners, and family members. These are a person’s closest social circle and can shape their behaviour and range of experiences (WHO, 2010).

  • Marital conflict: fights, tension, and other struggles
  • Marital instability: divorces or separations
  • Dominance and control of the relationship by one partner over the other
  • Economic stress
  • Unhealthy family relationships and interactions (CDC, 2016)

While these factors increase the risk for experiencing violence, reducing them can prevent abuse. One of the most powerful ways to combat violence is to model healthy relationships to children, youth, and the community.

Josh Driver, founder of Open for Service, shares his story of witnessing his parents in a healthy and loving relationship.

I am an only child with parents who are still married to each other. Rarely do I hear of these relationships anymore. They started dating in high school and then got married in college. I admire that they made that commitment to each other before actually getting out into the real world. Since then, my parents have grown a business together, had a child, and become philanthropic pillars within their community. They truly are each other’s best friends. It hasn’t always been easy, and romance has always been a secondary priority for them. I think their bond is strong because of their selflessness. Both of them have allowed each other to grow and focus on personal goals. They both have always made decisions that benefited them both. They’ve also sacrificed for the other quite a bit. I envy the security that they have within each other. No matter how hard it has gotten, the other one has automatically picked up the slack or they made the right choices to make a better future for themselves. The temptations of today do not seem to burden them. They know how they want their lives to be, and they focus on meeting that goal. I’m proud of them — they worked it out when they had problems. They forgive each other for the mistakes each make. They found the silver lining when it seemed insurmountable. I think that, also, is what keeps them together. They have beat the odds and really can’t imagine life without the other (personal communication, 2016).