Domestic Violence Risk Factors for Lethality or Severe Injury

Share Button

Risk Assessment for Lethality in Domestic Violence Cases

  1. Leaving an Abusive partner
  2. Leaving an Abusive partner for another partner
  3. Stalking: One Study indicated that 76% percent of female intimate partner murder victims had reported being stalked to the police.[1]
  4. Rape or other forms of Forced Sex[2]
  5. Intimate partner physical assault
  6. Threats to Kill
  7. Prior Attempts to Strangle
  8. Escalating Physical Violence over Time
  9. Threatening partner with a knife or a gun
  10. Multiple forms of abuse
  11. Presence of firearm in the house
  12. Threatening to shoot pet or person the victim cares about
  13. Cleaning, holding, or loading a gun during an argument or during time when tension is high
  14. Firing a gun during an argument
  15. Short Courtships
  16. Male abuser not the father of children in the household
  17. Abuse during pregnancy
  18. Use of Illegal Drugs[3]
  19. Estrangement from a controlling partner
  20. Separating from an abusive partner after living with them, especially If abusive partner is highly controlling
  21. Highly controlling partner
  22. Injury to family pet [4]

Risk Markers for Severe Injury

  1. Alcohol or other drug use
  2. Intermittent Employment or Recent Unemployment

In all domestic violence cases, there is a significant overlap of domestic violence and other criminality, both violent and non violent.



  1. Under optimal conditions, with prompt response by officials and continued oversight, a prior arrest for a domestic violence charge can have an inhibiting effect.
  2. Having never cohabitated with partner.
  3. Electronic Monitoring of Abuser[5]


[1] McFarlane, J., J. Campbell, and S. Wilt. “Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide.” Homicide Studies 3(4) (November 1999): 300-316, NCJ 179872.

[2] National Institute of Justice. “Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges.” (Published April 2009):

[3] Jacquelyn C. Campbell, PhD, RN, et al. “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From a Multisite Case Control Study,”(2003 July; 93(7): 1089–1097, Am J Public Health.

[4] Danger Assessment,

[5] Connecticut restores a program that used GPS to track high-risk domestic-violence offenders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *