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Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence/Domestic Violence

The term "intimate partner violence" describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. The goal is to stop IPV before it begins.

Intimate Partner Violence/Domestic Violence includes four types of behavior:

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
  • Threats of physical or sexual violence include the use of words, gestures, weapons, or other means to communicate an intent to cause physical harm.
  • Emotional abuse is threatening a partner or his or her possessions or loved ones, or harming a partner’s sense of self-worth. Examples are name-calling, being controlling, intimidation, giving a person the “silent treatment,” or not letting a partner see friends and family.
  • Sexual violence is forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent.

General warning signs of domestic abuse

People who are being abused may:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness

Warning signs of physical violence

People who are being physically abused may:

  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)

Warning signs of isolation

People who are being isolated by their abuser may:

  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car

The psychological warning signs of abuse

People who are being abused may:

  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal

*All of the above is a sampling/not all inclusive