Warning Signs

  • May be apologetic and make excuses for their behavior or becomes aggressive and angry

  • Is nervous about talking when they are there

  • Seems to be sick more often and misses work

  • Tries to cover bruises

  • Makes excuses at last minute and why they can’t meet you or tries to avoid you on the street 

  • Seems sad, lonely, withdrawn and is afraid

  • Uses more drugs or alcohol to cope

  • Puts them down

  • Does all the talking and dominates the conversation

  • Tries to suggest that they are the victim and acts depressed

  • Tries to keep them away from you

  • Acts as if they own them

  • Lies to make themselves look good or exaggerates their good qualities

  • Acts like they are superior and of more value than others in their home

  • “Outing” a partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Abusive partners in LGBTQ relationships may threaten to ‘out’ victims to family members, employers, community members and others.

  • Saying that no one will help the victim because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or that for this reason, the partner “deserves” the abuse.

  • Justifying the abuse with the notion that a partner is not “really” lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (i.e. the victim may once have had/may still have relationships, or express a gender identity, inconsistent with the abuser’s definitions of these terms). This can be used both as a tool in verbal and emotional abuse as well as to further the isolation of a victim from the community.

  • Monopolizing support resources through an abusive partner’s manipulation of friends and family supports and generating sympathy and trust in order to cut off these resources to the victim. This is a particular issue to members of the LGBTQ community where they may be fewer specific resources, neighborhoods or social outlets.

  • Portraying the violence as mutual and even consensual, or as an expression of masculinity or some other “desirable” trait.

  • Isolation: Preventing the victim from learning English or communicating with friends, family or others from their home countries.

  • Threats: Threatening deportation or withdrawal of petitions for legal status.

  • Intimidation: Destroying legal documents or papers needed in this country such as passports, resident cards, health insurance or driver’s licenses.

  • Manipulation Regarding Citizenship or Residency: Withdrawing or not filing papers for residency; lying by threatening that the victim will lose their citizenship or residency if they report the violence.

  • Economic Abuse: Getting the victim fired from their job or calling employers and falsely reporting that the victim is undocumented.

  • Children: Threatening to hurt children or take them away if the police are contacted.

Futures Without Violence and Casa de Esperanza. (2020). Abuse & Immigrants. National Domestic Violence Hotline. https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-and-immigrants/

Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the Government of
Nova Scotia. (2020). Recognizing Signs and Symptoms. Nova Scotia Domestic Violence Resource Centre. https://nsdomesticviolence.ca/recognizing-signs-and-symptoms