Research shows that there is a link between domestic violence and risk of the victim ending their life by suicide. Domestic violence is often very stigmatized and hidden, the true link between domestic violence and suicide is not known. While murder suicides are also seen in domestic violence situations, this webpage will focus on the link between the victim of domestic violence and risk of suicide.
Due to isolation of the victim of domestic violence it may be more difficult to spot warning signs of suicide. Due to loyalty to the abuser the victim may not disclose thoughts of suicide or abuse but below are some behaviors that are warning signs:
- Social isolation
- Giving prized possessions away
- Getting documents in order such as a will and other legal documents
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
It is common for victims of domestic assualt to be isolated, and suffer from depression and anxiety which are risk factors for suicide. Due to the control that the abuser has over the victim they often don't seek help from a mental health professional to treat the mental illness. Sometimes when a victim feels trapped in an abusive relationship they see suicide as the only way to get out of the relationship. Up to 90 percent of people that die by suicide had a diagnosable mental disorder at the time of their death.
It is important to watch children exposed to domestic violence for warning signs of suicide as well. These children are at an increased risk of suicide. This is true even when the acts of violence were not directly aimed at them.