Warning Signs


  • May be apologetic and make excuses for their behavior or becomes aggressive and angry
  • Is nervous about talking when they are there
  • Seems to be sick more often and misses work
  • Tries to cover bruises
  • Makes excuses at last minute and why they can’t meet you or tries to avoid you on the street 
  • Seems sad, lonely, withdrawn and is afraid
  • Uses more drugs or alcohol to cope


  • Puts them down
  • Does all the talking and dominates the conversation
  • Tries to suggest that they are the victim and acts depressed
  • Tries to keep them away from you
  • Acts as if they own them
  • Lies to make themselves look good or exaggerates their good qualities
  • Acts like they are superior and of more value than others in their home


  • “Outing” a partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Abusive partners in LGBTQ relationships may threaten to ‘out’ victims to family members, employers, community members and others.
  • Saying that no one will help the victim because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or that for this reason, the partner “deserves” the abuse.
  • Justifying the abuse with the notion that a partner is not “really” lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. For example the victim may have had/may still have relationships, or express a gender identity, inconsistent with the abuser’s definitions of these terms. This can be used as a tool in verbal and emotional abuse. It can also further isolate of a victim from the community.
  • Monopolizing support resources through an abusive partner’s manipulation of friends and family supports. Their goal is to generate sympathy and trust to cut off these resources to the victim. This is a particular issue for the LGBTQ community as there may be fewer specific resources, neighborhoods or social outlets.
  • Portraying the violence as mutual and even consensual, or as an expression of masculinity or some other “desirable” trait.


  • Isolation: Preventing the victim from learning English or communicating with friends, family or others from their home countries.
  • Threats: Threatening deportation or withdrawal of petitions for legal status.
  • Intimidation: Destroying necessary legal documents such as passports, resident cards, health insurance or driver’s licenses.
  • Manipulation about Citizenship or Residency: Withdrawing or not filing papers for residency. Lying by threatening that the victim will lose their citizenship or residency if they report the violence.
  • Economic Abuse: Getting the victim fired from their job or calling employers and falsely reporting that the victim is undocumented.
  • Children: Threatening to hurt children or take them away if the police are contacted.
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