Violence: Meaning and Types

Worldwide, violence is a rather typical sort of human behavior. Anyone can be aggressive, but older teens and young adults are more likely to act violently. Children are particularly vulnerable to the harm caused by violence, which has a multitude of harmful repercussions on those who see or experience it. Fortunately, a number of programs have been effective in avoiding and reducing violence.

For every violent death, there are dozens of hospitalizations, hundreds of trips to the ER, and thousands of doctor's appointments. Violence can also hinder social and economic progress and often has long-term effects on both physical and mental health as well as social functioning.

Meaning of Violence

Violence, prima facie, is an act under which physical forces are used to damage persons or property. It also restricts the freedom of affected people. Likewise, the term “violence” is taken from the Latin word ‘violentia,’ which comes from the root ‘vis’ and it means force. Usually ‘violence’ signifies great force, excessive or constraint. In present context, violence is an illegal action taken by an individual or group of people that may affect a single person or even society at large.

Types of Violence

There are various subcategories of violence. Nonetheless, the WHO classifies violence into three basic categories −


Suicidal behavior and self-abuse are two categories under which self-directed violence is classified. Suicidal behavior falls under the first category, along with suicidal thoughts and attempts (also known as parasuicide or intentional self-harm in some cultures). The act of self-mutilation is an example of self-abuse.

Collective Violence

In contrast to the other two major categories, the subcategories of collective violence offer potential explanations for why larger groups of people or states might choose to perpetrate violence. Mob violence, terrorism, and organized group crimes of hatred are a few examples of collective violence committed to further a certain societal objective. Political violence covers acts committed by armed groups, such as state violence, war, and other violent conflicts, and comparable incidents.

In such circumstances, there may be several factors that contribute to violence against civilians. Attacks carried out with the intention of interrupting economic activity, restricting access to necessities, or causing economic division and fragmentation are all examples of economic violence.

Interpersonal Violence

In terms of interpersonal violence, there are two subcategories: Violence involving family members and intimate partners, usually but not always occurring in the home, is referred to as family and intimate partner violence. Community violence is defined as conflict between strangers who may or may not know one another and usually occurs outside the house. Intimate partner violence, abuse of the elderly, and child abuse and physical punishment are all included in the first category.

Factors of Violence

Violence cannot be exclusively linked to risk or protective variables. When it comes to the overall prevention, intervention, and treatment of violence, both of these factor categories are equally crucial.

  • Poor behavioral control, severe expressive stress, low IQ, and disruptive views or attitudes are all personal risk factors.

  • Authoritarian parenting styles, inconsistent punishment methods, a lack of emotional attachment to one's parents or other caregivers, and low parental income and engagement are all considered family risk factors.

  • Social risk aspects comprise being rejected by others, doing poorly in school, not caring about education, and becoming a member of a gang or hanging out with other troublemakers.

  • Poverty, a lack of community involvement, and limited economic possibilities are all neighborhood risk factors.

The precise causes of violence are complicated due to the numerous conceptual components that exist at various levels in the lives of those affected. The ecological, or social ecological, model is frequently used to depict this complexity. In the investigation of violence, the ecological model with four levels is frequently employed −

  • The first level identifies biological and individual characteristics, including demographics (age, education, and income), heredities, intelligence lesions, personality ailments, substance exploitation, and a history of experiencing, perceiving, or engaging in violent behavior, that affect how people behave and increase their likelihood of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence.

  • The second level is where close bonds with family and friends are emphasized. For instance, in cases of juvenile violence, a young person's likelihood of being a victim or an aggressor is increased if they have friends who use or support violence. At this level of the paradigm, marital conflict or strained relationships consistently serve as a marker for intimate partner violence. Stress brought on by the history of the connection between the victim and the caregiver is a significant component of elder abuse.

  • The community context, including local workplaces, neighborhoods, and schools, is examined at the third level. The presence of a local drug trade, the lack of social networks, and areas of extreme poverty are just a few examples of the variables that may have an impact on risk at this level. There is evidence that each of these factors plays a significant role in various forms of violence.

  • The fourth level examines the broad societal factors that influence whether violence is encouraged or discouraged, including political instability, the responsiveness of the criminal justice system, social and cultural norms regarding gender roles and parent-child relationships, income inequality, the effectiveness of the social welfare system, the social acceptability of violence, the accessibility of weapons, and exposure to violence in the media.

Prevention of Violence

The majority of violence prevention initiatives focus on young people because the propensity to behave aggressively emerges in childhood. Although some of these programs involve the family or the community, many of them are school-based. The programs that target all children, not just those who are thought to be at risk for violence, are the most effective at preventing violence. Additionally, school-based programs with engaged instructors and programs that include parent education have had the best results.

Many different programs have been created to lessen or stop violence in people who have already demonstrated an inclination toward it. For instance, a number of prison-based initiatives make an effort to lessen both violent and nonviolent criminals' propensity for reoffending. These programs frequently have a number of different parts.


One of the most difficult problems our society is currently dealing with is the rise of violence on the streets of our cities. Violence is most frequently defined as animosity toward something or someone expressed by physical or verbal actions, which frequently results in pain for the victim.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the meaning of Communal violence?

Ans. The perpetrators of communal violence feel solidarity for their own communities and select their victims based on membership in those organizations. Communal violence can cross ethnic or community boundaries. The phrase refers to disputes, riots, and other acts of violence between groups belonging to different ethnic or religious backgrounds.

Q2. What do you mean by Domestic violence?

Ans. Domestic abuse refers to any form of abuse that takes place in a marriage or other intimate relationship. Intimate partner violence, which can occur in relationships or between ex-spouses or partners, is frequently referred to as "domestic violence" to describe acts of violence done by one of the parties to an intimate relationship against the other.

Q3. What is Legislative violence?

Ans. In a broad sense, legislative violence refers to any violent altercations between members of a legislature, frequently on the floor of the house and brought on by contentious subjects and close votes. Such battles have taken place in numerous nations over the years, and major events continue to happen often.

Updated on: 11-May-2023


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