Purpose. This review is concerned with the points of contact between two diverse literatures: first, the association between childhood abuse and the development of violent conduct; second, the effects of involvement in the perpetration of acts of violence.
Method. The empirical literature in the two areas of concern is considered along with complementary explanations for the extant evidence.
Results. There is a weight of evidence indicating that childhood abuse is associated with later violence alongside a literature that considers this association in terms of the traumatic effects of abuse. The perpetration of violent acts can have debilitating effects on the individual offender: these effects have also been considered in terms of trauma.
Conclusion. It is suggested that there are potential advantages to adopting a trauma-based framework to inform practice with violent young people. This suggestion raises several areas for research to inform the development of evidence-based practice that are presented in outline form.