There is no way to know for sure how dangerous an abusive person is, and survivors should never assume they are not in danger. However, one or more of these situations or behaviors indicate higher risk and should be taken very seriously:
- Do you believe the abuser might or will kill you?
- Have you left the abuser after living together during the past year?
- Is the abuser unemployed?
- Does the abuser have mental health problems?
- Has the abuser ever threatened or tried to kill themselves?
- Has the physical violence increased in severity or frequency over the past year?
- Has the abuser ever tried to choke you?
- Have you ever been beaten by the abuser while pregnant?
- Has the abuser ever forced sex on you?
- Does the abuser have access to a gun?
- Has the abuser ever used or threatened to use a lethal weapon against you?
- Has the abuser threatened to kill you or your children? Have they specified a detailed plan?
- Does the abuser abuse alcohol or drugs?
- Has there been a recent increase in the abuser’s alcohol or drug use?
- Does the abuser have a history of violence toward other family members or others?
- Has the abuser ever abused pets or other animals?
- Has the abuser destroyed property, particularly your personal property?
- Has the abuser followed, staked out or otherwise stalked you?
- Has the abuser contacted or threatened your relatives, friends or co-workers?
- To what extent does the abuser fear or respect the law enforcement/criminal justice system?
If you are worried about being in danger, call our 24-hour Helpline to talk to someone who can help you make a safety plan and talk about options you have, like filing a Protection Order.
Adapted from the Salvation Army Domestic Violence Program.