+356 9901 3629


The Domestic Violence Cycle and what keeps it going

Map Of Maltese Islands
Domestic Violence Cases in 2017 according to location (Formosa, 2018).

Domestic violence takes place where one or more members living within the same household are violent towards the other member/s. It takes different forms namely: physical (such as hitting or beating), sexual (such as forced sexual intercourse), emotional (including ridicule or threats) or controlling behaviours (controlling the finances, isolation from friends or family, monitoring controlling and movements).  Domestic Violence does not discriminate – it happens across all socioeconomic groups, genders, religious groups and cultures (World Health Organisation, 2012).

In 2017, there were a staggering 1257 reported cases of domestic violence in Malta (Formosa, 2018).  The majority of the reports, 1064 to be precise, included a female victim, while some 333 reports included a male victim (Iversen, 2018).  Below is a map visually representing the reported domestic violence cases in Malta and Gozo in 2017 (Formosa, 2018). This illustrates that domestic violence is more prevalent than we may think.  Furthermore, it is important to note that not all domestic violence situations get reported, so there may be many more cases that we just do not know about yet.


Domestic Violence tends to occur in 3-fold cycle of abuse, namely:

  • Tension building – this is when tension starts to build over household issues such as money, children or work.  Arguments and verbal abuse start. The receiver of the abuse often tries to calm the situation by giving in to arguments, avoiding or pleasing the abuser.
  • Acute explosion – when tension reaches its boiling point, the violence begins.  This is usually triggered by the abuser’s emotional state of external influence (not the victim’s behaviour).  This makes the episode unpredictable and beyond the victim’s control.
  • Honeymoon – initially the abuser is ashamed of their behaviour and they apologise profusely.  The abuser becomes loving and makes grand gestures to try to convince the victim not to leave the relationship.


Domestic Violence Cycle


The cycle varies from one relationship to another – sometimes all three stages happen in one day, other times taking months, or may be isolated to one event a year.  The generosity, kindness and promises made in the honeymoon period gives the victim a false belief that there is hope for change. However, this denial is what keeps the cycle going.

Domestic Violence Support List

Leaving an abusive relationship is not as easy as it sounds.  Although there are many reasons and/or a desire to leave, there could also be things hindering this process, including some of the concerns listed below:

  • Fear – of the partner stalking them, coming after them or their loved ones with more force, that they won’t be believed or
  • protected by loved ones and authorities
  • Isolation – from family and friends
  • Financial difficulties – which will hinder their ability to provide for themselves and their children
  • Shame – shame that this happened to them, that others could blame them for being in this situation
  • Hope – no relationship is “all bad” and many hold on to hope that things will change
  • Love – they may still love the partner


Deciding to end a relationship is never easy, and even more so when you are isolated from your family and friends, physically and emotionally broken down, financially controlled or threatened.  However, there is help out there. Any form of violence is unacceptable, so if you or someone you know if involved in domestic violence, you can seek help by contacting an agency from the support list.




Formosa, S. (2018). CrimeMalta Observatory – Crime Report 2017. Retrieved from CrimeMalta.

Iversen, R. (2018, January 23). Victim Support Malta – 1,257 reports of domestic abuse in 2017. Retrieved from The Malta Independent Online.

World Health Organisation. (2012). Understanding and addressing violence against women.

Louisa Borg Costanzi

About Louisa Borg Costanzi

Louisa graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from the University of Malta in 2013, after which she obtained a Certificate in Counselling Psychology from City University London in 2015. In 2020, Louisa graduated with Master’s degree in Gestalt Psychotherapy from the G.P.T.I.M. and is committed to continual education.  Louisa believes in a collaborative approach when working with clients and strives for people to recognise their own potential. 

TherapyPacks Terms and Conditions

1. TherapyPacks come in bundles of 5 or 10 sessions. Prices of bundles:

  • 5 sessions – €270 – must be utilised within 3 months from date of purchase
  • 10 sessions – €520 – must be utilised within 6 months from date of purchase

2. Bundles are not transferable. This means they cannot be used by, or gifted to, anyone else but the person whose name is listed as the TherapyPacks bundle holder.

3. Bundles which are purchased for Couples Therapy and Family Therapy can only be used by members of the couple or family with one therapist. If members of a couple or family decide to take up individual therapy with another therapist, the bundle will only apply to sessions with the therapist originally referred and cannot be also used for the individual sessions with another therapist. Exceptions will be made if the original therapist is unable to see the client or family and the couple or family are referred to another therapist. After referral, the same conditions will apply.

4. Bundles are valid for a limited time period, as listed above. This means that the bundles will expire once the respective time period has elapsed. Any sessions not utilised within this period will be lost. This means that a refund will not be given for unused sessions. Start date commences on date of purchase of bundles.

5. Bundles are only valid for full price sessions (charged at €60) and not for sessions with trainee psychotherapists, reports or assessments.

6. Full payment needs to be made on purchase, via bank transfer, cash or credit card.

7. Management reserves the right to terminate or suspend the use of the bundles. Reasons for such are at the discretion of the clinic.

8. Refunds or extensions of time period within which bundles may be used is at the discretion of management and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

9. Management reserves the right to modify or replace the terms and conditions. In such circumstances, clients will be given adequate notice and time to adhere to such.

10. The clinic’s cancellation policy is applicable also to bundles. Late cancellations or no shows will result in the forfeit of a session within the bundle allocation.

11. Responsibility for ensuring timely use of session bundles remains that of the TherapyPacks bundle holder or, in the case of a minor, their carer/legal guardian.