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National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

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Be Safe Prevent Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV), also called domestic violence, is common among Veterans. IPV is the most common cause of injury to women in the U.S. IPV is defined as actual or threatened emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or stalking behaviors by an intimate partner.

What's Important to Know?

It may happen once or be a pattern of events that gets worse over time. Intimate partner violence may occur with a current or former boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse of any sex or gender. Partners do not have to have sex or live in the same place. Both women and men can experience IPV.

Having one or more of the risk factors listed below does not necessarily mean you will experience or use IPV. However, many people who experience or use IPV do have one or more of these risk factors.

Risk Factors for Experience of IPV:

  • History of childhood abuse or witnessing one's parents engage in violence
  • History of experiencing violence in intimate relationships
  • Mental health issues such as substance use, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and/or traumatic brain injury
  • Financial and/or employment instability
  • High conflict in the relationship
  • Lack of social connections
  • 18-24 years of age
  • For women, pregnancy or recent birth
  • Recent separation from an abusive partner

Prevent Experience of IPV:

  • Receive treatment for mental health and substance use issues, including posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Seek employment and financial support when needed
  • Learn about healthy relationships through couples therapy or other programs
  • Build your support networks

Risk Factors for Use of IPV:

  • History of childhood abuse or witnessing one's parents engage in violence
  • History of criminal activity
  • Engaging in any type of violent behavior
  • Mental health issues such as substance use, posttraumatic stress disorder, and/or traumatic brain injury
  • Chronic pain
  • Financial and/or employment instability
  • High conflict in the relationship
  • Lack of social connections
  • 18-24 years of age

Prevent/Stop Use of IPV:

  • Receive treatment for mental health and substance use issues, including posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Receive support for managing chronic pain
  • Seek employment and financial support when needed
  • Learn healthy conflict management strategies through couples therapy or other conflict resolution programs
  • Build your support networks
  • Engage in services that focus on stopping the use of IPV

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Want to Know More?

Recommendations

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening and intervention for IPV among women of childbearing age (14 to 46), and provide or refer women who screen positive to intervention services.

Definitions

Intimate Partner Violence
Actual or threatened emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or stalking behaviors by an intimate partner.

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Resources

  1. USPSTF recommendations regarding screening for IPV.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Healthfinder: A Quick Guide to Reliable Information on Healthy Living and Other Topics.
  3. Black MD, Basile KC, Breiding MJ, et al. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2011.
  4. Johnson M. A typology of domestic violence: Intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press; 2008.
  5. Mitchell C, Anglin D, eds. Intimate partner violence: A health-based perspective. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2009.
  6. Brown R. Roadmaps for clinical practice: Case studies in disease prevention and health promotion—Intimate partner violence. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association; 2002.
  7. Moyer V. Screening for intimate partner violence and abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults: A U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(6):478-486.