Know the Warning Signs

If you are in immediate DANGER or fear for your safety, please CALL 911. If you are not in immediate danger, call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 for information about services that are available throughout BC.


If You are Impacted by Violence in a Relationship

There are two kinds of warning signs that you should be aware of if you are living in or have left a violent or abusive relationship.  They are:

  • Risk factors for future violence
  • Warning signs that violence is about to happen right now.

Risk Factors for Future Violence

There are warning signs that you are generally at risk of experiencing more serious violence. These warning signs are often called risk factors. These include such things as:

  • The person abusing you has a history of violence against you or against other people.
  • The frequency or severity of the violence has recently increased.
  • The person abusing you has history of alcohol or drug use.
  • The person abusing you has violated a court order in the past.
  • The person abusing you is depressed.
  • The person abusing you has threatened or attempted suicide recently or in the past.
  • The person abusing you owns or has access to weapons such as guns or knives.

These are only a few of the warning signs that tell you that you may be in danger of future – and perhaps increased – violence. There are lots of other risk factors that are equally important and that you must take very seriously.

Domestic Violence Risk Factors
Looking at relationship history, a woman’s own perception of her risk levels, the history of the abuser and his access to weapons and firearms, are all significant factors that contribute to identifying a woman’s risk level.

To download a 2-page information sheet about risk factors, see this Summary of Domestic Violence Risk Factors from the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

The information provided is for your general information only. We strongly suggest you work with a community worker who will be able to assist you in identifying risks and making a safety plan that meets your specific needs.

Warning Signs of Violence About to Happen

There are warning signs that violence is about to happen right now. These warning signs will vary depending on your situation, who the offender is, and what kinds of patterns have developed in the past. But here are some common ones. Violence may happen:

  • After the abuser has been drinking or taking drugs.
  • If the abuser has had a bad day at work.
  • When you return after being out with your friends or a visit with your family.
  • If you are paying a lot of attention to your children.
  • If you return home later than usual from work.
  • If you do something that the abuser has told you he does not like.
  • If the abuser sees you on the street with someone that he doesn’t know.
  • When the abuser gets news that he does not want to hear, such as that you have filed for divorce or custody of your children, or have a new boyfriend.

The list of things that may trigger the violence is endless. And NONE OF THEM ARE YOUR FAULT. If you are aware of what might trigger violence from your partner or ex-partner, you can take extra precautions, such as being out of the house when he comes home, or letting a friend or neighbour know the situation so they can check on you and call 911 if necessary, or having your cell phone in your hand or your pocket so you can press 911.

Talk to a victim support person about the warning signs in your particular situation and some actions you might take in those circumstances to protect yourself and your children.