What is intimate partner violence?
Intimate partner violence (IPV), also known as domestic violence, is “abuse or aggression that occurs in a close relationship.” and includes physical, sexual, or psychological harm. It occurs among intimate partners of all genders and relationship constructs.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Intimate partner violence. Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html.
How widespread is intimate partner violence in the United States?
- Intimate partner violence affects more than 12 million people in the United States each year.
- One in 4 U.S. women and 1 in 7 U.S. men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
- An estimated 29.1 percent of African American women, 23.4 percent of Hispanic and Latino women, and 37.5 percent of Native American women are victimized by IPV. In a survey of Asian and Pacific Islander women, 41-60 percent of respondents reported experiencing intimate partner violence during their lifetime.
- Women with disabilities have a 40 percent greater risk of being victimized by IPV than women without disabilities.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey: 2010-2012 state report. Atlanta, GA.
 Women of Color Network. Domestic violence: Communities of color. (2006). Retrieved October 14, 2019, http://www.doj.state.or.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/women_of_color_network_facts_domestic_violence_2006.pdf.
What culture changes and public policies are necessary for preventing intimate partner violence?
Media reinforces gender stereotypes that can be harmful to the way we think about ourselves and our partners. Additionally, forms of violence displayed in media are viewed positively, and often sexualized. One way we can reduce intimate partner violence then is by insisting that media producers portray intimate partner relationships in ways that do not display violence and do display equality of power and love between partners.
As to public policy, the list of remedies is long and includes integration of healthy relationships education into school- and community-based courses and curricula, funding for healthy relationship education and counseling services, and establishment of and funding for crisis response and support services for IPV survivors.
What practical solutions are effective for preventing intimate partner violence?
Implementation of practical peaceful solutions such as nonviolent communication and behavior change campaigns can be effective at preventing IPV before it starts. Bystander intervention is an effective approach for interrupting IPV. Learn more about these practical peaceful solutions in our Choose Peaceful Practices series of information pages.
What can I do to prevent or stop intimate partner violence?
- Educate yourself on IPV—Understanding the root causes of IPV is the first step to preventing it in your own relationships as well as others. Reading this information sheet is start! And following the links provided to expert organizations is a great next step.
- Look for Warning Signs—Perpetrators of IPV often use isolation as a method of control to prevent victims from having a support system outside of the relationship. Other warning signs may include shaming, restriction on autonomy, and physical violence.
- Provide Non-Judgmental Support—Initiating a gentle conversation, without making assumptions, with someone you suspect is in an IPV situation, listening without judgment, and offering practical support may help someone in an IPV condition make their own decision to seek healing of the relationship or to leave it.
- Make a Safety Plan—If you intend to or want to be prepared to leave an IPV situation (or help someone else do so), put a plan in place if circumstances permit. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for safety planning tips and to get connected to an organization in your community that can provide or help you find your next safe place. Have pre-assembled, if possible, and take with you important items such as identification, marriage license, children’s birth certificates, medications, cash, and mobile phone. If your abuser monitors your mobile phone, be sure to turn it off or disable location services.
- In Case of Emergency—If you are experiencing or witnessing an emergency, such as an IPV incident, call 911 or try to get to a location where others can observe your distress and intervene.
Where can I find statistics about intimate partner violence?
- For data and statistics about intimate partner violence, go to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control IPV webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html.
Where else might I go to learn more about intimate partner violence?
Nonprofit organizations, research centers, and/or think tank organizations with expertise in intimate partner violence include:
- Futures Without Violence provides groundbreaking programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence affects public policy, increases understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and provides programs and education that drive that change.
- National Network to End Domestic Violence addresses the complex causes and far-reaching consequences of domestic violence.
- National Resource Center on Domestic Violence improves community response to domestic violence and prevent its occurrence. NRCDV administers the Domestic Violence Resource Network of national, special issue, and culturally specific IPV resource centers.
- The NW Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse works to end violence and abuse by building loving and equitable relationships in the LGBTQ+ community.
The Permanent Toll of Intimate Partner Violence: A Husband’s Reflection
Peace Through Action USA joins many others in calling attention to the pervasiveness of intimate partner violence in the United States and the ongoing need for concentrated action to reduce and prevent it.
To personalize this issue, we are pleased to present a story graciously and courageously prepared by “Pete,” a court professional and husband who has witnessed the devastating effects of intimate partner violence. We deeply appreciate Pete for revealing his family’s encounter with intimate partner violence. Please honor them by taking a moment to read Pete’s story here.
Page Author: Monica Short (volunteer)
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