Intimate Partner Violence



  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) is abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship between a former or current partner.
  • May include physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse; economic or psychological actions; stalking; or threats of actions that influence another person
  • Although women are at greater risk of experiencing IPV, it occurs among patients of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender, and socioeconomic background.
  • Synonym(s): domestic violence (DV); spousal abuse; partner abuse; family violence



  • In the United States, women experience 4.8 million incidents of physical or sexual assault annually.
  • It is estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the incidence of IPV due to exacerbations of the risk factors that influence perpetrators of IPV.


  • About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men experience a form of IPV in their lifetime.
  • Over 43 million women and 38 million men have experienced a form of IPV in their lifetime.
  • IPV is estimated to cost the U.S. economy >$10.4 billion annually (1).

Geriatric Considerations
About 1 to 2 million U.S. citizens aged >65 years have been injured, exploited, or mistreated by someone caring for them.

Pediatric Considerations

  • IPV can occur in adolescence, known as teen dating violence (TDV). TDV affects millions of U.S. teens each year.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner; females between 16 and 24 years of age are more vulnerable to IPV than any other age group.
  • About 11 million women and 5 million men reported experiencing IPV before the age of 18 years.
  • Children living in violent homes are at increased risk of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse; anxiety and depression; decreased self-esteem; emotional, behavioral, social, and/or physical disturbances; and lifelong poor health.

Pregnancy Considerations

  • IPV leads to unintended pregnancies, induced abortions, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Pregnant women who experience IPV are twice as likely to have an abortion.
  • IPV in pregnancy also increases the likelihood of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and low-birth-weight babies.

Risk Factors

  • Patient/victim risk factors
    • Substance abuse (drug or alcohol), high-risk sexual behavior
    • Poverty/financial stressors/unemployment/less education
    • Recent loss of social support, family disruption and life cycle changes, social isolation
    • Prior history of abusive relationships or experiencing abuse as child
    • Mental or physical disability in family
    • Pregnancy
    • Transgender-identifying women
    • Attempting to leave the relationship
  • Perpetrator risk factors
    • Substance abuse, depression, personality disorders
    • Young age
    • Unemployment, recent job loss or instability, low academic achievement
    • Witnessing/experiencing violence as child
    • Threatening to self or others, violence to children or outside the home
    • Owns weapons
  • Relational risk factors
    • Marital conflict or instability, economic stress, traditional gender role norms, poor family functioning, obsessive/controlling relationship

Geriatric Considerations
Factors associated with IPV in geriatric populations: female gender, immigration stress, fear, social isolation, low income, poor physical health, low cognitive functioning, absence of social support, depressive symptoms, neglect, caregiver stress, and burden

Pediatric Considerations
Factors associated with IPV in pediatric populations: transgender, adverse childhood experiences, trauma symptoms, depression, gender attitudes, and economic hardship (1)

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