Know the Warning Signs

This page covers information about domestic violence and sexual assault. If you feel you are in immediate danger Call 911. To discuss your issues and situation please call the Domestic Abuse Crisis Line Toll-Free at 1-877-977-0007 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. For TTY service call 1-888-987-2829.

Are You Being Impacted by Violence in Your 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, 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 violence or increasing violence. There are lots of other risk factors that are equally important and that you must take very seriously.

Spotting the Signs

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.

The information provided is for your general information only. We strongly suggest you speak 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

The warning signs in each situation will vary depending on who the offender is and the type of behaviour patterns that have shown up in the past. Here are some of the more common signs that violence may happen:

  • After the abuser has been drinking or has taken drugs
  • If the abuser has had a bad day at work or unemployed
  • 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 that the abuser does not like
  • If the abuser sees you on the street with someone that the abuser doesn’t know
  • When the abuser gets news that is unwanted or does not want to hear i.e.: you have filed for divorce, petitioned for custody of the child(ren), or have a new romantic partner

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:

  1. Being out of the house when your partner arrives home
  2. Letting a friend or neighbour know that a violent situation may occur so they can check on you and call 911 if necessary
  3. Have your cell phone in your hand or your pocket so you can dial 911 quickly

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.







Thank You to the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC) for their generous contributions and willingness to share their expertise for the content on this page.

Together we make a difference.

Please visit EVA BC’s website at