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Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence

The term "Intimate Partner Violence" describes physical, sexual or psychological harm done to an individual by a current or former partner or spouse.

Despite adverse mental health consequences associated with Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), the mental health needs of IPV survivors often goes unmet. Lack of universal screening, stigma, and fear of retaliation by intimate partners may prevent survivors of IPV from disclosing their situations to mental health providers. IPV survivors often have immediate needs for safety and resources to improve their ability to cope, establish independence from their abusive partners, and engage in treatment.


"Intimate Partner Violence" describes physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. Approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Although IPV affects individuals across race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic background, minority women experience IPV at disproportionately high rates (see table below).

Other risk factors for IPV include socioeconomic deprivation (low income and lower educational status), exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), young age, unemployment, and being a member of a sexual minority.


The impact of IPV affects survivors differently. Some may exhibit adaptive and resilient responses to abuse, while others may develop psychiatric symptoms.

Approximately 20% of IPV survivors reported experiencing a new onset of psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a wide range of substance use disorders.

Survivors often internalize the verbal abuse from their partner. They may blame themselves for their situation, experience fear, as well as anger and resentment towards themselves. Chronic abuse may result in compulsive and obsessive behaviors and lead to self-destruction or suicide.

After enduring abuse, trauma reactions may lead survivors to experience difficulties in new relationships. IPV-associated abuse may affect emotional regulation, facial interpretation, and reading of social cues.


The most common physical symptoms include injuries, headaches, insomnia, chronic pain, choking sensations, hyperventilation, and gastrointestinal symptoms, chest, back, and pelvic pain.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and nonfatal strangulation (choking) are often unrecognized forms of IPV and can lead to significant short and long-term neurologic sequelae.

IPV can also result in unplanned pregnancies and pregnancy complications for the mother and child. IPV survivors are disproportionately affected by comorbid HIV/AIDS with substance use disorders

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