The theory of the cycle of abuse was propagated by Dr Lenore Walker in 1979. She interviewed 1500 women who were domestic violence survivors.

She found a recognizable cycle of how the abuse occurred and used this to develop the cycle of abuse theory.

In an abusive relationship, abuse does not occur continuously. There are periods of calm and even a honeymoon stage which makes it quite difficult for a victim to leave as they believe the good times will come again. Unfortunately, the cycle is repeated over and over again and the abuse becomes more severe while the Honeymoon phase becomes shorter and shorter and sometimes may disappear completely.

The longer the cycle is allowed to continue, the more dangerous it is for the person being abused and the less strength they have to break away from the cycle and leave the abusive relationship.