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The Danger Report: How to spot deadly red flags in a relationship

If you’ve seen the news recently, you’ve probably been struck by the deeply saddening headlines of domestic violence fatalities in Manatee County and neighboring communities. Our hearts and condolences go out to those affected by these tragedies.

Knowledge is powerful – and in this case, it could be life-saving. It’s important to be informed and aware in high-risk situations.  Author and Speaker Lundy Bancroft provides a powerful list of factors that should be taken seriously in identifying dangerous men.  

Abuse can come in many different forms, from both men and women, but the following risk factors for fatality are focused on the most common form of death as a result of domestic violence, perpetrated by a man to his, intimate female partner.

Risk Factors for Domestic Lethality

  • She is taking steps to end the relationship or has already done so.
  • He is depressed, suicidal, or shows signs of not caring what happens to him. He has, for example, threatened to kill himself if she leaves him.
  • He has killed or in other ways been violent to pets, or has used other terror tactics.
  • There are stepchildren or non-biological children involved.
  • He has access to weapons and/or he is familiar with their use.
  • He has threatened to kill her or to hurt her severely, has strangled her, or has threatened her with a weapon (including making verbal reference to using a weapon, even if he did not actually brandish it)
  • He was violence during her pregnancy.
  • He is unemployed.
  • The woman has a strong “gut” sense that the man could kill her or her children, or could carry out a serious and dangerous assault against any of them or against himself.
  • He is extremely jealous and possessive. This characteristic becomes even more worrisome when he appears to be obsessive, constantly keeping her at the center of his thoughts and appearing to be unable to conceive of life without her. He has, for example, made statements such as, “If I can’t have you, nobody will.”
  • He has a history of severe or very frequent violence toward her, or toward other individuals such as past partners.
  • He follows her, monitors her whereabouts, uses high-tech means to keep tabs on her, or stalks her in other ways. He knows where she lives and works, knows the names and addresses of her friend or relatives, or is in very familiar with her daily routines.
  • He has threatened to kill the children or the whole family.
  • He isn’t close to anyone, and no current relationships with friends or relatives are important to him.
  • He has a significant criminal history and/or he has a history of using violence or threatening violence against other people.
  • He abuses alcohol or drugs heavily, especially if his habits involve daily or nearly daily intoxication.
  • He has been violent to children.
  • He uses pornography heavily and/or has a history or perpetrating sexual violence or degradation against his partner or others.
  • He has exhibited extreme behaviors when his current partner or past partners have made attempts to leave him.

While these predictive factors of dangerous abusers are important to understand, there are documented instances where men didn’t exhibit these risk factors prior to killing. It’s important to trust your intuition and consult with a trained professional if you’re experiencing any kind of coercive control. HOPE offers qualified advocates to assess and build strategic safety plans for you to take control of your life. We’ve created a safety plan and encourage you to check it out.

Finding HOPE

If you, or someone you know, has experienced ANY of these behaviors or ANY signs of abuse from an intimate partner, please reach out to us to keep you–and your children–safe. Our services are completely free and confidential–designed to bring you empowerment and HOPE.

Whether you need to talk, need counseling for you or your children, need to escape to our Emergency Safe Shelter; we’re only a phone call away and ready to serve you and anyone affected by domestic violence in Manatee County.

More than a shelter… A place for HOPE

At HOPE Family Services, we’re dedicated to providing services and empowering survivors of domestic violence (DV) by helping them stay safe, gain strength, and evaluate their options throughout Manatee County.

While we provide an Emergency Safe Shelter in the Bradenton area for those looking for safety, we have plenty of resources available for those dealing with other types of difficult situations.

 

Advocacy

Our advocacy services are designed to assist clients in identifying and overcoming barriers in their life.

The advocacy department addresses emergency issues such as financial concerns and housing, food and clothing needs. There’s also viable information regarding information and referrals to other incredible organizations that can be of assistance.

Advocates also assist participants with job training opportunities and issues surrounding economic justice.

 

Preventative measures

HOPE Family Services also offers a Primary Prevention Program that is designed to teach young people the signs of an abusive partner early on, with the ultimate goal of preventing them from becoming victims or perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

If you’re planning an event, whether school or business related, we can provide you speakers and trainers to spark Social Change. Social Change allows youth, professionals, and paraprofessionals to learn how to prevent conditions that allow batterer’s controlling behavior as we work to hold community members accountable and bring peace & an abuse-free society.

 

Counseling and more

Each week, we host individual counseling sessions and support groups for survivors of DV in English and Spanish. Domestic violence has a substantial impact on the family and we’re here to help address those issues.

We also offer supportive individual and group counseling to children affected by domestic violence. The goal is to teach children who are dealing with trauma, non-violent coping mechanisms in an effort to break the intergenerational nature of domestic violence.

 

Full-time access

If you are in need of a friendly voice to talk to, we are here for you. We offer a free and confidential Help Line that is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Start the conversation by calling 941-755-6805 (V/TTY). A friendly, non-judgemental and informed person will be waiting on the other line, right here in Manatee County.

We also provide a safe place in a confidential location for victims of domestic violence to evaluate their options. The shelter is designed to allow those who need it time in a safe place to make choices that empower them to live a life safe from the controlling tactics of an abusive partner and to organize opportunities in the best interest of themselves and their children.

5 Warning Signs of Violence

Domestic abuse is defined as a “pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship”. Learning the warning signs can be life-saving. Keep reading to learn abusive actions to look out for in your relationships, and those of your loved ones.

Red flags to look for:

1. Physical abuse

Physical abuse can range from hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, strangling, hair-pulling, biting, etc. It also includes driving recklessly while you’re in the car; preventing you from eating/sleeping; denying medical care or forcing alcohol/drug use; abandoning you in unfamiliar places, and putting you in danger.

2. Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.

3. Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes but is certainly not limited to marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

4. Financial abuse

Economic abuse is making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.

5. Digital abuse

Digital abuse is when a partner utilizes technologies to bully, harass, and intimidate. It can include controlling your online activity, like who you can and can’t be friends with on Facebook, to insisting on having all of your online passwords to keep tabs on your online accounts. It can also include using technology to monitor where you are, like spyware on your GPS or phone.

Recognizing violence in our community

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone, despite age, race, sexual orientation and more. While it’s hard to know exactly what someone is going through, there are key signs to keep a lookout for. According to the National Hotline of Domestic Violence, warning signs can include:

  • Their partner puts them down in front of other people
  • They are constantly worried about making their partner angry
  • They make excuses for their partner’s behavior
  • Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive
  • They have unexplained marks or injuries
  • They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family
  • They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality



No matter what form of abuse you are dealing with, whether it is physical or digital, you deserve better. You are not alone. Last year HOPE helped over 2,000 people find safety, strength, and well-being. We offer a variety of free and confidential services to empower women in Manatee County, FL. We are only a phone call away to bring HOPE to you or someone you know. Reach our 24-hour Help Line at  (941) 755-6805 (V/TTY).

Sip, Shop, and Save Lives!

We’re counting down the days to Handbags & Happy Hour, on Thursday, October 18, 2018 from 5-7pm at Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club. Handbags & Happy Hour is a fabulous & collaborative event created with our friendly partner agencies, Women’s Resource Center (WRC) and Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Inc. (SPARCC).

Previously known as “Empower Your Purse,” this event is the same sell-out fundraiser, with even more to love! Join us for an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and the opportunity to purchase new and gently used handbags at our Pop-up Store. Participate in our raffle to win up to 12 fabulous designer handbags, jewelry and accessories!

Please consider bringing a new or gently used purse to donate to women who are working to change their lives at HOPE Family Services, WRC, SPARCC. All proceeds from this event go to programs and services directly benefiting clients from all three partner agencies.

This event helps bring empowerment to thousands of women in our community. Last year alone, WRC had 147 referrals to domestic violence agency community partners and SPARCC had 113 referrals to WRC. Also, more than 10% of HOPE clients were also receiving services from the WRC.

Call up your friends and join us for a fantastic evening of sipping, shopping and saving lives! Get your tickets before they’re gone, they’re only $40! 

Purchase tickets now!

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