What Is Domestic Violence?
• Nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.
• IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) resulted in 2,340 deaths in 2007—accounting for 14% of all homicides. Of these deaths, 70% were females and 30% were males.
• The medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity (e.g., time away from work) cost of IPV was an estimated $8.3 billion in 2003 for women alone. These numbers underestimate the problem. Many victims do not report IPV to police, friends, or family. Victims may think others will not believe them or that the police cannot help.
How does IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) affect health?
IPV can affect health in many ways. The longer the violence goes on, the more serious the effects. Many victims suffer physical injuries. Some are minor like cuts, scratches, bruises, and welts. Others are more serious and can cause death or disabilities. These include broken bones, internal bleeding, and head trauma.
Not all injuries are physical. IPV can also cause emotional harm. Victims may have trauma symptoms. This includes flashbacks, panic attacks, and trouble sleeping. Victims often have low self-esteem. They may have a hard time trusting others and being in relationships. The anger and stress that victims feel may lead to eating disorders and depression. Some victims even think about or commit suicide.
IPV is also linked to negative health outcomes, such as chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, activity limitations, and poor physical and mental health.
IPV is also linked to harmful health behaviors. Victims may try to cope with their trauma in unhealthy ways. This includes smoking, drinking, taking drugs, or having risky sex.
How can we prevent IPV?
The goal is to stop IPV before it begins. There is a lot to learn about how to prevent IPV. We do know that strategies that promote healthy behaviors in relationships are important. Programs that teach young people skills for dating can prevent violence. These programs can stop violence in dating relationships before it occurs.
We know less about how to prevent IPV in adults. However, some programs that teach healthy relationship skills seem to help stop violence before it ever starts. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life—therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.
If you are someone you know is effected by any form of domestic abuse or violence we encourage you to download or share the free resources below providing information on how help can be found.