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Partner Violence

By on May 1, 2013

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of families, especially African American families. The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

Several factors can increase the risk that someone will hurt his or her partner.

Risk factors for perpetration (hurting a partner):
• Being violent or aggressive in the past
• Seeing or being a victim of violence as a child
• Using drugs or alcohol, especially drinking heavily
• Not having a job or other life events that cause stress

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.


IPV includes four types of behavior:
• Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by physical force.
• Sexual violence is forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent.
• Threats of physical or sexual violence include the use of words, gestures, weapons, or other means to communicate the intent to cause harm.
• Emotional abuse is threatening a partner or his or her possessions or loved ones, or harming a partner’s sense of self-worth.

Examples of emotional abuse include stalking, name-calling, intimidation, or not letting a partner see friends and family. Often, IPV starts with emotional abuse. This behavior can progress to physical or sexual assault. Several types of IPV may occur together. If you or someone you know is in a violent relationship call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Content for this article provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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