Queensland Law Society

Assessing potential domestic and family violence: Risk factors

Risk factors

  • Choking of the victim by alleged perpetrator (please note that this is regarded by many practitioners and researchers as indicative of extremely high risk).
  • Sexual assault by the alleged perpetrator.
  • Use of a weapon in any past or more recent incidents of violence.
  • The alleged perpetrator exhibiting obsessive/jealous behaviour towards the victim and/or others, including viewing the victim and/or others as a target of blame.
  • The alleged perpetrator stalking the victim.
  • Actual threats been made by, or fantasies identified [ideation] in relation to, the alleged perpetrator wanting to damage property or to kill and/or physically harm a parent, child, family member, or pets.
  • Actual or threats of harm to family pets.
  • Actual or threats of harm against children.
  • Access by the alleged perpetrator to the means to carry out such plans or threats. For example, the alleged perpetrator having access to weapons, including as part of their occupation (eg police, armed forces).
  • Recent escalation or increase in the severity and/or frequency of violence or threats.
  • The alleged perpetrator threatening or attempting to commit suicide or to self-harm, including specific plans and/or threats to harm his/herself.
  • The alleged perpetrator reports having, or is reported to have, specific plans to kill or seriously harm the partner.
  • Breaches of an Intervention Order by the alleged perpetrator.
  • History of mental illness in relation to the alleged perpetrator, particularly in respect of: depression, thought disorders, paranoia, personality disorder, emotional instability, rage or angry outbursts.
  • History of substance abuse and/or excessive use of alcohol that would reduce the alleged perpetrator’s capacity to appropriately manage angry impulses.
  • The alleged perpetrator recently experiencing separation, a significant loss or other stressful life event [e.g. unemployment, eviction, financial difficulties, disruption to other significant relationship/s, loss of contact with children].
  • The commencement of a new relationship by the former partner of the alleged perpetrator, or the birth
  • of a child to either the alleged perpetrator or the alleged perpetrator’s former partner now in a new relationship; any threats to kill the new partner.
  • Pregnancy with which either the victim or the perpetrator is concerned.
  • The alleged victim expresses fears for his/her own or his/her child/ren’s safety.
  • The time of separation is a very high risk time for women.