Based on PREPARE/ENRICH data of over 20,000 married couples, the results found Conflicted and Devitalised couples displayed characteristics of abusive and the highest levels reported ranging above 50%. They also demonstrated lower levels of communication, conflict resolution, couple closeness and flexibility compared to non-abusing couples, and higher levels of alcohol and/or drug abuse.
On the Relationship Dynamics scale, abusing couples were more often HIGH on Avoidance and Partner Dominance and LOW on Assertiveness and Self Confidence.
If you know or suspect a couple is in a physically abusive relationship, consider the following:
- Research suggests that perpetrators of abuse can become more violent when they suspect their abusiveness has been reported.
- We recommend these couples not take the assessment at home. Instead, administer the assessment in the controlled environment of your office.
Goals in Working with Abusive Couples:
- Once you learn of abuse, you should do an individual session which includes a more in-depth assessment of abuse issues from each person’s perspective.
- Discuss and show the couple the connection between abuse and the lack of relationship skills like communication and conflict resolution.
- Help the couple to build a stronger relationship.
- If it is not possible for the couple to maintain a safe and healthy relationship, help them make decisions about how to stay safe in the future.
- If you are not trained or experienced in working with abusive couples, make a referral to persons that specialise in dealing with abuse issues.
Relevant questions to raise with abusive couples:
- What triggers violence in your relationship?
- Have you ever felt the need to seek shelter away from your household or to get away from your partner?
- If and when things turn abusive or violent in your relationship, who can you turn to for help?
For more help, referrals, and information on abuse, please visit or refer the following:
#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.