Domestic Violence – Pre-Incident Indicators

This tip lists reliable pre-incident indicators associated with spousal violence developed by Gavin De Becker.  De Becker states if there are several of these indicators occurring there is cause for concern. For this reason, when working with the families we serve, it is important to be aware of them and to document any of the indicators observed.

š When the potential victim has intuitive feelings of being at risk.

š In the beginning of the relationship the potential batterer accelerated the pace, prematurely placing on the agenda things such as commitment, living together or marriage.

š The potential batterer resolves conflict with intimidation, bullying or violence.

š The potential batterer is verbally abusive.

š The potential batterer uses threats and intimidation to control or abuse. This includes threats of harm, defamation, embarrassment, abandonment and restricting freedom.

š The potential batterer breaks or strikes things in anger.  Also using symbolic violence like ripping photographs.

š The potential batterer has a history of battering.

š The potential batterer uses alcohol or drugs with adverse effects such as memory loss, hostility or cruelty.

š The potential batterer uses alcohol or drugs as an excuse or explanation for the hostile conduct.

š The potential batterer has a history of encounters with the police for behavioral offenses.

š The potential batterer uses money to control the activities, purchases and behavior of the potential victim.

š The potential batterer becomes jealous of anyone or anything that takes the potential victim’s time away from the relationship and keeps a ‘tight leash’ on the potential victim.

š The potential batterer refuses to accept rejection.

š The potential batterer expects the relationship to go on forever.

š The potential batterer projects extreme emotions onto others (hate, love, jealousy) even when there is no evidence to warrant it.

š The potential batterer minimizes incidents of abuse.

š The potential batterer derives their own identity from the potential victim.

š The potential batterer has stalked the potential victim.

š The potential batterer believes others are out to get them.

š The potential batterer resists change and is described as inflexible, unwilling to compromise.

š The potential batterer identifies with and compares themselves to violent people in films, news stories, fiction or history characterizing the violence as justified.

š The potential batterer suffers mood swings or is sullen, angry or depressed.

š The potential batterer consistently blames others for problems of their own making, refusing to take responsibility for the results of their actions.

š The potential batterer refers to weapons as instruments of power, control, or revenge.

š The potential batterer has or talks about guns and collects weapons.

š The potential batterer makes all the decisions in the house and acts like the master.

š The potential batterer has experienced or witnessed child violence.

š The potential victim fears they will be injured or killed by the potential batterer.