Violent encounters don’t happen at random. Attacks follow a cycle. This cycle is broken down into six stages: target selection, observation of the target, attack planning/training, execution, escape, and exploitation. The six stages fall into three phases: Pre-Attack, Attack, and Post-Attack.
There is no set time frame for an attacker to complete the cycle, and it is the attacker who chooses when to move forward or backward in stages. The time it takes to complete each stage will greatly depend on a number of factors, such as, type and goals of an attack, experience of the attacker and the victim, to name a few. For example, a snatch and grab robbery may go through Pre-Attack and Attack phases within seconds, but domestic violence may stay in the Attack phase for years.
The diagram below gives a visual of the stages and phases.