Caution: Comparing any abuser's behavior to the list below might help victims realize if their safety is at risk. But, the presence or absence of any or all these factors is not a guarantee of lethality or safety. These risk factors are not ranked in any order. Trained domestic violence advocates are available in every county to discuss safety and options.
- Threats of homicide or suicide
- Previous physical assaults
- Access to firearms
- Strangulation during previous assaults
- Access to victims
- Public display of violence toward victim
- History of sexual violence
- Destruction of property
- Jealousy and possessiveness
- Controlling of victim's daily activities and contacts with others
- Drug or alcohol consumption
- Prior calls to police
- Pet abuse
- Lack of respect for the law
- Obsessed with partner or family
- Witnessed intimate partner abuse as a child
- Acute mental health problems
- Victim has children who are not the abuser's
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If you fear for your immediate safety, call 9-1-1 or your local police.
Contact the domestic violence program in your area for free and confidential help.
Other victim programs are available to help you and your family.
Any attorney helping a domestic violence victim may contact the PCADV legal department at 888-235-3425 for information on law and legal procedures. (This is not a helpline for victims.)
The information provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided under this topic is not legal advice, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is not a substitute for contacting an experienced attorney. Read our full legal disclaimer.
- When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2008 Homicide Data (Violence Policy Center, 2009)
- American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the United States (Violence Policy Center)
- The Facts on Guns and Domestic Violence (Family Violence Prevention Fund)
- Facts on Firearms and Domestic Violence (Violence Policy Center)
- Fact Sheet: Firearms and Intimate Partner Violence (Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University)