Are You In A Highly Lethal Relationship?
Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges (National Institute of Justice, June 2009).
Risk factors that help determine if the abuser will kill the victim. The list below is a combined list from various resources.
__ Threats by the abuser to kill the victim, children or self
__ Fantasies of homicide or suicide
__ Accessibility to weapons
__ A high familiarity with or the use of guns
__ A fundamental belief by the abuser that the victim is owned by the abuser
__ Separation (greatly increase risk)
__ Abuser is obsessive about victim/family and can’t live without them
__ Mental disorders, especially depression, a sense of no hope without homicide and/or suicide
__ Repeated calls to the police and an increase in violence
__ Takes the victim and/or family hostage
__ An increase in the frequency of the cycle of violence, with police involvement in the prior year
__ An increase in the severity of injuries inflicted, with the victim possibly needing medical treatment
__ Abuser used a weapon in prior incidents
__ Abuser caused life-threatening injury in prior incidents
__ Abuser has threatened to use weapons against the victim
__ Abuser has either threatened to or has killed or maimed pets
__ Abuser has raped the victim
__ Abuser beat the victim while she was pregnant
__ Abuser physically abused a child
__ Victim has threatened to commit suicide
__ Recent unwanted separation where the victim obtained an abuse order or filed for divorce
__ Change in custody arrangements and the abuser has limited access to children and partner
__ Victim has entered a new relationship
__ Recent symbolic violence (destroying family pictures, marriage license or other property)
Surviving Lethal Domestic Violence
Surviving lethal domestic violence may be the most heroic thing you do in your lifetime. Everyone should know the signs of possible lethal domestic violence that are common in most lethal situations. Domestic violence can turn lethal without any signs. This list should not be used as a measurement of your situation. If you are suffering from domestic violence, there is no reason to wait for these signs before getting out.
The below list is a culmination of common factors, or indicators from victims murdered by their previous, or current intimate partners compiled over the last two (2) decades by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women . I highly recommend reading through this report. It is sobering and heartbreaking at the same time.
Signs of Possible Lethal Domestic Violence
Control of Daily Activities
Separation – It’s not over because you leave.
Lengthy History of Domestic Violence/Violence
Pregnancy – Domestic Violence increases during pregnancy!
Threats/Fantasies of Suicide
Threats/Fantasies of Homicide
Access To Firearm/Weapons
Threats To Use A Weapon
Domestic violence is not an accident. It does not go away because your intimate partner cries, begs forgiveness, and promises it won’t happen again. Domestic violence must be taken very seriously as it could cost your life and possibly the lives of those you love. If you have seen any of these signs of possible lethal domestic violence in your relationship, move forward with caution to protect yourself and those you love. Let’s honor the previous victims of domestic violence by learning from them… not joining them.
If you are experiencing any of these signs of possible lethal domestic violence, this season in your life doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Please treat this situation with the seriousness it demands and be careful!