What are some warning signs of domestic conflict?
Warning signs will differ from person to person. Some individuals will exhibit many warning signs and others may not exhibit any. The following list provides some examples of warning signs to look for.
For victims they…
- have physical injuries like bruises, cuts and sprains.
- dress in clothing to hide injuries (ex. wearing long sleeves in hot weather, lots of makeup, or sunglasses indoors).
- have frequent injuries from ‘accidents’.
- make excuses to miss school, work, or social events.
- show changes in work or school performance such as: a need for frequent breaks, poor concentration, increased mistakes, and decreased quality of work.
- start drinking or using drugs or increase the amount they are drinking or using.
- exhibit noticeable changes such as: sadness, withdrawal, fear, tiredness, secretiveness, unreasonable anger or aggression, agitation or moodiness, loss of self-esteem, neglect of personal hygiene, and appetite changes.
- become nervous when the abuser is around them.
- make excuses when the abuser’s behaviour is inappropriate.
- may talk about the abuser’s jealousy, irritability, or possessiveness.
- receive frequent phone calls from the abuser about what they are doing.
- have limited or controlled access to a phone, money, credit cards, or a vehicle.
- face obstacles such as: living in a remote area, not speaking English or they are not a legal resident of Canada
For abusers they…
- blame the victim for everything that goes wrong.
- believe that violence is the correct way to solve problems.
- hold strong beliefs about a person’s roles and responsibilities in relationships.
- make rude, demeaning, and embarrassing comments and put down the victim.
- must control all finances and belongings such as vehicles.
- continuously check up on the victim and are very jealous which may lead to accusations that the victim is flirting or cheating.
- drink or abuse drugs and use this as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour.
- have been a victim of abuse or have witnessed interpersonal violence before.
- attempt to isolate the victim from family members and friends.
- think it is acceptable to force sex or they may sabotage birth control.
- make the victim feel like they are walking on eggshells due to their explosive temper that may erupt at any moment.
- claim that they are the victim
- may have a history of abusing partners, family members, children or pets.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Signs of an Abusive Partner. http://www.ncadv.org/learn-more/what-is-domestic-violence/abusive-partner-signs.
Public Health Agency of Canada. How to recognize if you or your children are being abused. 2014. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/sfv-avf/info/ha-nfnts-abus-eng.php.
Stop Violence Against Women. Warning Signs of Abuse. 2017. http://www.domesticviolenceinfo.ca/article/warning-signs-of-abuse-139.asp.
YWCA Regina. Warning Signs. http://ywcaregina.com/Programs/AbusePrevention/ViolenceAgainstWomen/WhatToDo/Warning.html.