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Abuse: Risk Factors for Being Abused

Topic Overview

Physical abuse can happen to anyone. Certain factors can increase your risk of being abused.

Abusive situations you cannot control

The abuser:

  • Uses alcohol or drugs.
  • Has a history of extreme impulsiveness or an increase in risk-taking behaviors, such as:
    • Drinking and driving.
    • High-risk sexual behavior.
  • Has a strong interest in guns and access to a gun.
  • Has a history of suicide attempts.
  • Has a history of violent behavior.
  • Has recently been in jail.
  • Was abused as a child.
  • Has a medical or mental health problem, such as depression or personality disorder.

Unsafe situations you may be able to avoid

You may find yourself in an unsafe situation if you:

  • Abuse alcohol or drugs.
  • Date many people at one time.
  • Accept any violent behavior in the dating relationship. There is no excuse for abuse.
  • Ignore feelings of discomfort or warning signs that someone is treating you badly.
  • Think your partner holds the power in a relationship.
  • Are alone in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Depend on your dating partner for transportation.
  • Feel that your dating partner is in control because he or she asked you out and paid for the date.
  • Are part of a group that has a higher risk for assault, such as:
    • The homeless.
    • Sex workers.
    • Substance abusers.
    • Teens.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised October 13, 2011

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