What is domestic violence/intimate partner violence?
Intimate partner violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate or dating relationship. Domestic violence includes behaviors that cause physical harm, induce fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in certain ways. It may include the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse, economic deprivation or medical abuse.
Who can experience intimate partner violence?
Persons of any race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim or perpetrator of intimate partner violence; it can affect people from all backgrounds, education levels and socioeconomic levels. The majority of victims are female, although males can also be victims of intimate partner violence.
Certain groups are at higher risk:
- Women in childbearing years
- People with disabilities
Does intimate partner violence occur in LGBTQ relationships?
Yes, abuse can happen to anyone in an intimate relationship. Victims can be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – of any sexual orientation or identification. Survivors of intimate partner violence who are in the LGBTQ+ community may feel that there are few helpful resources available.
How common is intimate partner violence?
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 10 million men and women experience domestic violence each year, which equates to nearly 20 people per minute. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
How do I know if a relationship is unhealthy?
Intimate partner abuse looks different in every relationship, so it may be difficult to detect. Sometimes victims themselves may not fully realize that they are being abused. In all cases, the abusive partner does things to have power and control over their partner. Abusers may control victims through non-physical tactics, including:
- Emotional Abuse
- Isolating partner from friends, family, support system
- Minimization, denial & blaming the abuse on the partner
- Using Children
- Male Privilege
- Economic Abuse
What can someone do to support a victim of intimate partner violence?
Victims of intimate partner violence need support; they need someone to listen to them and believe them.
Talk about it. Offer supportive messages such as “You did not deserve this,” “You are not alone,” “Help is available.” Provide education on the dynamics of abuse to help the victim understand his or her situation. Screen for abuse in the medical setting.
Document abuse. Suggest that the victim document the abuse with written records, photographs, screen shots of threatening messages and other evidence. Even if not reporting to authorities, record abuse in the medical record.
Refer for help. Connect the survivor to resources, a hotline or appropriate service providers for advocacy, counseling, shelter and legal assistance. Suggest the development of a safety plan. Encourage medical attention.