Basic Warning Signs for Professionals 
Domestic violence is not limited to “certain groups.” It is difficult to predict who may be a batterer and who may be a victim of domestic violence. There are no typical characteristics or profiles of abusers or victims. Abusers may appear very charming or may seem like angry, explosive individuals. Victims may seem passive or extremely frightened or they may be very angry about what is happening.

  • The most obvious signs of domestic violence will be evidence of severe, recurring, or life-threatening abuse (broken bones, repeated bruises, threats with weapons, etc.)
  • Domestic violence may also be emotional or psychological abuse where one partner continually degrades, criticizes, or belittles the other or accuses the other of being stupid, unattractive, unfaithful, a bad parent, etc.
  • Many batterers use the legal system to punish their partners for taking steps to free themselves of the abuse.
  • Batterers use issues arising from custody and visitation cases to try to re-establish control over their partners.
  • Batterers frequently display extreme jealousy
  • Batterers often discourage their victims from seeking help. People who have difficulty making or keeping appointments may be trying to avoid letting their abusers know they are seeking help.
  • Batterers frequently insist on accompanying their victims to appointments even if they are not involved in the case. The batterer may refuse to leave the victim alone and may try to speak for the victim in order to control the information the victim shares.
  • Batterers harass, stalk and keep tabs on their victims. If someone reports constant phone calls, text messaging, etc. at home or at work to keep track of their whereabouts, this could be a sign of domestic violence.
  • Batterers try to isolate their victims from emotional support systems or sources of help.