Summary: Intimate Partner Violence

All Indicators In This Topic
Domestic Violence Calls for Assistance
Spotlight on Key Indicators: Intimate Partner Violence
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Learn More About Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence
Children's Emotional Health
Childhood Adversity and Resilience
Foster Care
Juvenile Arrests
Pupil Support Services
School Climate
Injuries
Why This Topic Is Important
Intimate partner violence (IPV) in the U.S. is a preventable public health problem that disproportionately affects certain populations, particularly pregnant women, American Indian/Alaska Native and African American/black women, and sexual minority groups (1, 2, 3). Stalking, intimidation, emotional abuse, physical assault or battery, sexual violence, and other abusive behavior between partners currently or formerly in relationships of dating or marriage can result in psychological trauma, physical injury, and even death (1). Survivors of IPV are at increased risk for long-term negative physical, emotional, and behavioral outcomes, and the effects extend beyond the direct victim (1, 4). For example, an estimated 15.5 million U.S. children live in households in which physical IPV occurred in the previous year, and children who are exposed to IPV—even if they are not the targets of violence—are at increased risk for mental, physical, social, behavioral, and developmental problems (4, 5). Child witnesses of IPV also are at higher risk of becoming abusers or victims later in life (1).

Data from a 2015 survey indicate a quarter of U.S. women—30 million—have experienced sexual, physical, and/or stalking IPV in their lifetimes and that these experiences have negatively impacted their lives (6). The same is true for 1 in 10 men (6). An analysis of 2012 data from the same survey estimated the total lifetime cost of IPV among those impacted to be $3.6 trillion, due largely to medical costs ($2.1 trillion), lost productivity ($1.3 trillion), and criminal justice activities ($73 billion) (7). For many victims, IPV begins early in life. Among survivors of sexual, physical, and/or stalking IPV, 26% of females and 15% of males experienced some type of IPV before age 18 (6). A national survey of dating youth ages 12-18 found that 66% experienced psychological abuse in their relationships in the previous year, 18% were victims of physical violence, and 18% experienced sexual abuse (8).
For more information about intimate partner violence, see kidsdata.org's Research & Links section.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  Niolon, P. H., et al. (2017). Preventing intimate partner violence across the lifespan: A technical package of programs, policies, and practices. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ipv-technicalpackages.pdf

2.  Petrosky, E., et al. (2017). Racial and ethnic differences in homicides of adult women and the role of intimate partner violence–United States, 2003-2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(28), 741-746. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6628a1.htm

3.  Gonzalez, B. (2018). Decreasing intimate partner violence during pregnancy through routine screening. Journal of Women's Health Care, 7(1), 413. Retrieved from: https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/decreasing-intimate-partner-violence-during-pregnancy-through-routine-screening-2167-0420-1000413-97821.html

4.  Anderson, K., & Van Ee, E. (2018). Mothers and children exposed to intimate partner violence: A review of treatment interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(9), 1955. Retrieved from: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/9/1955

5.  Chamberlain, L. (2018). Updated comprehensive review of interventions for children exposed to domestic violence. Futures Without Violence. Retrieved from: http://promising.futureswithoutviolence.org/files/2018/11/FWV-Comprehensive-Review-2018.pdf

6.  Smith, S. G., et al. (2018). National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 data brief. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/datasources/nisvs/2015NISVSdatabrief.html

7.  Peterson, C., et al. (2018). Lifetime economic burden of intimate partner violence among U.S. adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 55(4), 433-444. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161830

8.  Taylor, B. G., & Mumford, E. A. (2016). A national descriptive portrait of adolescent relationship abuse: Results from the National Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(6), 963–988. Retrieved from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0886260514564070
How Children Are Faring
In 2017, a total of 169,362 domestic violence-related calls were made to law enforcement in California—a rate of 6.4 calls per 1,000 adults ages 18-69. This represents a decrease of more than 30% compared with 1998, when there were 9.3 calls per 1,000 adults. The decline is evident at the county level, as well; rates fell in 36 of the 55 counties with data during this time period. Despite the decline, county rates of domestic violence calls for assistance continue to vary widely, from fewer than 4 calls per 1,000 adults to more than 15 per 1,000 in 2017.
Policy Implications
Intimate partner violence (IPV) can have serious short- and long-term health consequences for victims as well for as children who witness it (1, 2). Children exposed to IPV and teen victims of dating violence are at increased risk for numerous emotional, behavioral, and physical health problems that can last into adulthood (1, 2, 3). IPV is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults compared with older populations, indicating the importance of early prevention efforts (1). In addition to young people, certain groups are especially vulnerable to IPV, including pregnant women, American Indian/Alaska Native and African American/black women, sexual minorities, and rural and immigrant women (1, 4, 5).

Many systems and services address aspects of IPV, but they are most effective when they work collaboratively towards the same goals. Policymakers, child welfare agencies, family and dependency courts, criminal justice systems, schools, medical and mental health care providers, public health agencies, and community-based organizations all can play a role (1, 5). Comprehensive approaches focusing on both prevention and targeted intervention for high-risk groups are most likely to be effective (1, 5).

Policy and program options that could help prevent and address IPV include:
  • Supporting evidence-based, school-wide programs for middle and high school students to improve knowledge, attitudes, and norms regarding dating violence, and to help youth develop skills to build healthy relationships; such programs should be culturally appropriate and address how to recognize and respond to violence (1, 3)
  • Setting policies to foster safe, supportive environments, such as improving school climate, workplace climate, and neighborhood social and physical characteristics (1)
  • Strengthening economic supports and financial security for families, as poverty and financial stress are risk factors for IPV (1)
  • Promoting effective early identification of IPV, including training for health care providers, school professionals, and others who work with children and families on how to detect IPV and children exposed to it, as well as how to respond appropriately and connect families to services when needed (4, 6, 7, 8)
  • Ensuring that evidence-based prevention and early intervention services are adequately funded and accessible for families, such as parent education, family relationship programs, preschool with family engagement, and early childhood home-visiting programs, particularly for high-risk groups including women around the time of pregnancy (1, 2, 4, 5)
  • Promoting state and local cross-system collaboration to ensure access to appropriate services for adults and teens experiencing IPV, as well as for child witnesses; community responses should be comprehensive and coordinated, integrating law enforcement, courts, child welfare, health and mental health care, schools, domestic violence services, housing services, and others (1, 5)
  • Promoting policies to institutionalize trauma-informed care (specifically designed to address the consequences of trauma and facilitate healing); as part of this, formalizing trauma-informed practices for professionals who work with children, teens, and families, such as doctors, nurses, educators, social workers, and juvenile justice staff (1, 5, 6)
  • Supporting efforts to study and advance effective services to prevent and address IPV, especially among diverse populations (e.g., communities of color and LGBTQ, rural, and immigrant groups), as well as services for children exposed to violence (1, 2, 5)
For more information related to intimate partner violence, visit the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Break the Cycle, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also see Policy Implications under the following kidsdata.org topics: Childhood Adversity and Resilience, Child Abuse and Neglect, and Bullying and Harassment at School.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  Niolon, P. H., et al. (2017). Preventing intimate partner violence across the lifespan: A technical package of programs, policies, and practices. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ipv-technicalpackages.pdf

2.  Anderson, K., & Van Ee, E. (2018). Mothers and children exposed to intimate partner violence: A review of treatment interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(9), 1955. Retrieved from: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/9/1955

3.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2019). Preventing teen dating violence. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/tdv-factsheet.pdf

4.  Gonzalez, B. (2018). Decreasing intimate partner violence during pregnancy through routine screening. Journal of Women's Health Care, 7(1), 413. Retrieved from: https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/decreasing-intimate-partner-violence-during-pregnancy-through-routine-screening-2167-0420-1000413-97821.html

5.  Chamberlain, L. (2018). Updated comprehensive review of interventions for children exposed to domestic violence. Futures Without Violence. Retrieved from: http://promising.futureswithoutviolence.org/files/2018/11/FWV-Comprehensive-Review-2018.pdf

6.  California Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity. (2015) Action plan to address childhood adversity in California. Retrieved from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57df1ab3d2b857cdad0c8d64/t/5802e6f6414fb5e45ce5bb2b/1476585206686/4CA_Action+Plan.pdf

7.  Swailes, A. L., et al. (2017). Intimate partner violence discussions in the healthcare setting: A cross-sectional study. Preventive Medicine Reports, 8, 215-220. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335517301602

8.  Khubchandani, J., et al. (2017). Preventing and responding to teen dating violence: A national study of school principals' perspectives and practices. Violence and Gender, 4(4), 144-151. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320838013
Websites with Related Information
Key Reports and Research
County/Regional Reports
More Data Sources For Intimate Partner Violence