What Is Intimate Partner Violence?

Intimate partner violence is a pattern of behaviors used by an abusive person to gain control over an intimate partner. Emotional, physical, sexual, and economic abuse are all tools batterers use. Such abuse often leaves survivors feeling hopeless, worthless, and afraid. It also creates significant barriers for survivors who wish to leave abusive relationships.

Intimate partner violence is one of the most common and least reported crimes in the United States. It does not discriminate. People of all economic, racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds may be victims of intimate partner violence. It occurs in all age groups and happens at the same rate in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

Click here to read our IPV booklet – a quick guide to what it is, how to recognize it, and what you can do about it. If you or someone you know may be facing intimate partner violence, go to our help page for immediate assistance.

MYTH: Alcoholism and stress cause Intimate partner violence.
FACT: Alcohol use increases the level of physical danger and stress may trigger abusive incidents, but abusive patterns of power and control are the core of domestic violence.

MYTH: Partners who nag provoke the abuse.
FACT: NO ONE deserves to be abused. Nothing the victim does causes the abuse. Abuse is an issue of power and control.

MYTH: When abusers get extremely angry or jealous, they lose control of themselves and beat their partners.
FACT: Abuse is about TAKING CONTROL not losing it. Abusers control their partners and children by abusing them.