Skip to Content

Being Abused: What Puts You at Risk?

Skip to the navigation

Topic Overview

If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number.

Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to read about this topic. Use a safe computer such as one at work, a friend's house, or a library.

Physical abuse can happen to anyone. But certain things can increase your risk of being abused.

Things 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.
  • 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


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine

Current as ofOctober 10, 2017

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Health Library