Domestic violence and child abuse

Early Identification Guidelines

How to use this list of indicators?

Indicators of domestic violence are sometimes overlooked. This checklist is designed to draw your attention to this often-hidden problem and alert you to possible indicators.


In this checklist you will find an overview of indicators that could point to domestic violence and / or child abuse, broken down by age group. Some indicators could also point at other problems. There hardly is a situation with one single indicator. You will usually identify multiple indicators simultaneously. It’s impossible to list all indicators. Trust your own observations and intuition!

Reciprocity of domestic violence

We distinguish between victim and perpetrator to clarify indicators. However, experience reveals that reciprocity is often the case. Victim and perpetrator can both play a part in the emergence and continuation of domestic violence.

Risk factors

For every age group risk factors are listed, divided into eight different living conditions. A risk factor is not an indicator, but it may contribute to the emergence of domestic violence. If you detect two or more risk factors, be extra alert for possible indicators of domestic violence.


In this list of indicators we have made a distinction between four age groups (0-4, 4-12, 12–18 year olds, and adults) on the basis of explicit differences in indicators and risk factors per group. The tabs ‘Human trafficking’, ‘Grooming and Child Sexual Exploitation, ‘Harmful traditional practices’, ‘Derailed care’, and ‘Animal abuse’ are not age-bound and have a special position because of their specific problems. As different types of violence sometimes coexist or indicators may sometimes point out these specific types of violence, our advice would be to always consult all the various lists that could apply.

Interactive use

You can also use this list of indicators interactively. The selected indicators are collected in a form that you can save as a PDF which you can download to safe and add or specify information. In this document we also suggest possible follow up steps, based on the Dutch reporting code. More information about the reporting code can be found on the website of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports.

Abuse by professionals

If you have any indication of abuse between a professional and a client, contact the organisation in question immediately or tell your superior. In that case it is their responsibility to follow up on the indicators.