Primary risk factors refer to violence or intimidation that is recent or escalating. They indicate that the perpetrator is already engaged in violence or is thinking about it. Primary risk factors encompass the following:
- Violent thoughts (images, fantasies, urges)
- Violent threats (may be vague such as If I can’t have her nobody can; or explicit such as I’m going to kill her)
- Violent acts (actual or attempted physical or sexual harm)
- A pattern of fear inducing behaviour such as stalking or ongoing intimidation
Secondary risk factors are circumstances or conditions related to the individual or the relationship that may contribute to increased risk and violent or abusive behaviour.
Victim-focused risk factors are related to the victim/survivor’s vulnerability and include her innate sense of danger and the complex network of needs, problems and social circumstances she faces. These factors can contribute to elevated risk for victims who already experience vulnerabilities. Although the factor “extreme fear of perpetrator,” does not meet the criteria of a primary risk factor, is particularly important to pay attention to and should carry the same weight as a primary risk factor.
|Primary Risk Factors (escalating or recent)||Secondary Risk Factors||Victim Focused Risk Factors|
Some risk factors may be dynamic in nature meaning that they can change over time (eg., perpetrator’s mental health, substance abuse, employment). Changes in dynamic risk factors can elevate or decrease the level of risk.