Domestic Violence Fatality Risk Factors

domestic violence

A frustrated upset couple in a quarrel not talking after the fight, offended, stubborn, insulted, the jealous man sitting silently on the sofa at home with a sad, depressed, disappointed woman.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone at any time. However, there are some risk factors that make it more likely in some homes than in others. If you are at risk, seek out care immediately from this life-threatening situation.

It’s important to remember that the behaviour of one domestic abuser can be significantly different from others. However, realizing that you are at risk could help you to realize, it is time to get help. Working with domestic violence advocates is the best way to get insight into your own circumstances.

What Makes a Person More Likely to Abuse?

Consider the following risk factors. These common risk factors for domestic violence can be a common sign it is time to get help. You could be in a situation where only one is true. Or, there could be numerous.


Abusers may threaten to take actions that would cause physical harm to another person. This includes threats against others, such as homicide, but also threats to themselves. Some threaten suicide as a tool to control the behaviours of others.


Stalking does not mean just physically following a person. It also can include situations where the abuser follows the movements of an individual online, at work, with friends, and with family. They have a constant need to know where their victim is.

Previous Assaults

Statistics indicate that individuals who have a history of domestic violence are likely to be violent again. However, some people have a history of assault that does not involve the same individual or may involve friends, strangers, children, or even pets.

Access to Firearms

When there are firearms, or other types of weapons, in the home, there is an increased chance that an individual will use them against loved ones. Firearms can provide a tool for threatening.

Depression and Mental Health Concerns

Many individuals who struggle with mental health conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety are at a heightened risk to abuse others. This does not mean all individuals with depression are a risk.

Jealousy and Possessiveness

Many abusers are continuously jealous of their victims. This can include constant questions about where they are and what they are doing. It also includes possessiveness in not wanting their victim to spend time with third parties.

Drug and Alcohol Consumption

Drugs and alcohol can be a tool to break down inhibitions, but in some, they can also create aggressiveness and encourage reckless behaviour. Individuals who are using drugs or alcohol are more likely to abuse than those that do not.

Lack of Respect for the Law

Individuals who have been involved with law enforcement previously, including those who have charges of abuse, are more likely to abuse than those who do not. If they do not respect police officers or any type of governing body, this can be a risk factor for abuse.

Previously Traumatized Individuals

Some individuals struggle with previous traumas or violence impacting them from childhood. Those who are abused as children are more likely to abuse victims in their own adulthood.

Many other factors can increase the risk of a person becoming an abuser. This includes things like unemployment, pet abuse, controlling behaviours, and destruction of property. Seeking out care is essential for any abused individual who sees these signs in their abuser.


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