By Yossi Sheriff

Violence, אלימות is an aggressive behavior that has extreme harm as it's goal. The violent behavior is intended to cause harm to another individual when it is understood that the target is motivated to avoid such harm [1], [2].

This definition purposely excludes accidental harm, which is not aggressive because it is not intended, as well as harmful acts the victim does not wish to avoid. Aggression and violence are usually further distinguished based on the extent of physical harm inflicted [3]. Therefore, while all violence is aggression, not all acts of aggression are violent ([4]).


  1. Berkowitz, L. 1993. Aggression: Its causes, consequences and control, New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Bushman, B. J. and Anderson, C. A. 2001. Is it time to pull the plug on the hostile versus instrumental aggression dichotomy?. Psychological Review, 108: 273–279.
  3. Anderson , C. A. and Bushman , B. J. 2002. Human aggression. Annual Review of Psychology, 53: 27–51.
  4. Howells, K., Daffern, M. and Day, A. 2008. “Aggression and violence”. In Handbook of forensic mental health, Edited by: Soothill, K., Rogers, P. and Dolan, M. 351–374. Devon: Willan Publishing.