Signs of immediate danger
There are a few signs of extreme danger. You should check this list regularly, especially when something has changed, like if the person causing harm has been confronted, or the person being harmed has left the relationship or has a new partner. The most dangerous times are when the person causing harm feels like they are losing control of the relationship.
Signs of extreme danger:
- Threats to kill or suicide
- Using weapons, threatening to use weapons, or talking about using weapons (like guns, knives, a car, poisons)
- Choking (strangulation or putting hands around a person’s neck)
- Using intimidation and fear (like threatening violence, punching holes in a wall, shouting in a person’s face, sharpening knives, cleaning a gun)
- Intense, violent possessiveness—like owning a person, controlling who they talk to, where they go, jealousy
- Other controlling behaviour to cause fear (like controlling what a person wears, who they can see, where they can go, controlling their money, keeping them away from friends or whānau)
- Forced sex or sexual violence
- Stalking or surveillance (including in person, by phone or social media, checking a person’s phone, emails or social media)
- The violence is getting worse or more often
- The person harmed feels scared or in danger (if they aren’t scared that doesn’t mean they aren’t in danger—sometimes people cope with extreme, ongoing stress by denying it, even to themselves)
- Others are worried that the person harmed is in danger.
Take these signs seriously. If one or more of these are true, get help and act now.
Think about the best way to get safer. If you don’t already have good support, think about what you can do—there are organisations you can call anytime to help you with that and to help with safety (see Resources).
If you have good support, the fastest, safest path might be using that support with tools on this website (there are tools and information in How do you stay safe for the person harmed, person causing harm and allies). You might feel safer with the help of an organisation—there are organisations you can call anytime for help (see Resources [link to Resources: helplines]).
If you are the person harmed, who can help you work out how to get safer (see Who can help?)? If you don’t know who to turn to, there are numbers you can call anytime for help (see Resources). See How do you stay safe for tools and information about safety.
If you are an ally, can you safely tell the person who is being hurt that you will support them if they need help? Are there other people you can safely talk to about what you see happening (see Who can help?)? Think very carefully before confronting the person causing harm, especially if you haven’t talked with the person they are hurting and don’t have a safety plan. You may make things worse. See How do you stay safe for tools and information about safety.
If you are the person causing harm, stop. Get help (see Who can help?). Call or text 1737 anytime to talk to a trained counsellor, or see Resources for organisations that can help. Take responsibility for lowering the danger—get rid of any weapons, get yourself away from the situation, find people who can support you to be safer. See How do you take accountability for tools and information about taking responsibility for the harm you are causing.