Intimate Partner Violence: Fact Sheet


  • Nearly 5.3 million intimate partner victimizations occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older. This violence results in nearly 2 million injuries and nearly 1,300 deaths (CDC 2003).
  • Estimates indicate more than 1 million women and 371,000 men are stalked by intimate partners each year (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000b).
  • Intimate partner violence occurs across all populations, irrespective of social, economic, religious, or cultural group. However, young women and those below the poverty line are disproportionately affected (Heise and Garcia-Moreno 2002).
  • Nearly 25% of women have been raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner at some point in their lives, and more than 40% of the women who experience partner rapes and physical assaults sustain a physical injury (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000b).
  • As many as 324,000 women each year experience IPV during their pregnancy (Gazmararian et al. 2000).
  • Intimate partner violence accounted for 20% of all nonfatal violent crime experienced by women in 2001 (Rennison 2003).
  • Forty-four percent of women murdered by their intimate partner had visited an emergency department within 2 years of the homicide, 93% of whom had at least one injury visit (Crandall et al. 2004).
  • Firearms were the major weapon type used in intimate partner homicides from 1981 to 1998 (Paulozzi et al. 2001).



  • Women with a history of IPV report 60% higher rates of all health problems than do women with no history of abuse (Campbell et al. 2002).
  • IPV victims report lasting negative health problems, such as chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome, which can interfere with or limit daily functioning (Heise and Garcia-Moreno 2002).
  • The more severe the abuse, the greater its impact on a women's physical and mental health, resulting in a cumulative effect over time (Leserman et al. 1996) (Koss, Koss and Woodruff 1991).
  • Intimate partner violence also affects reproductive health and can lead to gynecological disorders, unwanted pregnancy, premature labor and birth, and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS (Heise, Moore and Toubia 1995).
  • IPV victims have a higher prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, hysterectomy, and heart or circulatory conditions (He et al. 1998).


  • Adolescents involved with an abusive partner report increased levels of depressed mood, substance use, antisocial behavior, and, in females, suicidal behavior (Roberts, Klein and Fisher 2003).
  • Abused girls and women often experience adverse mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem (Mercy et al. 2003).
  • Women with a history of IPV are more likely to display behaviors that present further health risks, such as substance abuse, alcoholism, and increased risk of suicide attempts (Coker et al. 2000).


  • Researchers report that children who witness IPV are at greater risk of developing psychiatric disorders, developmental problems, school failure, violence against others, and low self-esteem (Nelson et al. 2004).
  • Women in violent relationships have been found to be restricted in the way they gain access to services, take part in public life, and receive emotional support from friends and relatives (Heise and Garcia-Moreno 2002).


  • The costs of IPV against women exceed an estimated $5.8 billion. These costs include nearly $4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical and mental health care and nearly $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity (CDC 2003).
  • Victims of IPV lose a total of nearly 8 million days of paid work-the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs-and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity each year as a result of the violence (CDC 2003).
  • Lloyd and Taluc (1999) found that women who experienced male-perpetrated IPV were more likely to experience spells of unemployment, have health problems, and be welfare recipients.


  • Both men and women experience IPV. However, women are 2 to 3 times more likely to report an intimate partner pushed grabbed or shoved them and 7 to 14 times more likely to report an intimate partner beat them up, choked them, or tied them down (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000a).
  • American Indian/Alaska Native women and men report more violent victimization than do women and men of other racial backgrounds (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000b).
  • In the United States, researchers estimate that 40% to 70% of female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends, frequently in the context of an ongoing abusive relationship (Bailey et al. 1997).
  • In a survey of boys and girls ages 8 to 12 years, girls cited concerns about IPV while boys did not consider IPV an issue (Sheehan, Kim and Galvin 2004).
  • Hispanic women are more likely than non-Hispanic women to report instances of intimate partner rape (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000a).


A combination of individual, relational, community, and societal factors contribute to the risk of perpetrating IPV. To understand and prevent IPV, it is important to understand and identify these risk factors. A risk factor is anything that increases the likelihood that a person will perpetrate IPV. However, risk factors are not necessarily causes and not everyone who is identified as "at-risk" becomes involved in violence.

Risk factors exist at each level of the social ecology, which contribute to IPV perpetration. At the individual level, risk factors include attitudes and beliefs; at the relational level, risk factors include interpersonal and verbal interactions and family/relationship norms. At the community level and the larger societal level, risk factors include social norms and institutional structures, policies, and procedures.

Individual Factors for Perpetrating IPV

Recent research reviews of male perpetrators link several risk factors to IPV (Black et al. 1999; Harway and O'Neil 1999):

  • Young age
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low income
  • Low academic achievement
  • Involvement in aggressive or delinquent behavior as a youth
  • Alcohol use
  • Drug use
  • Witnessing or experiencing violence as a child
  • Lack of social networks and social isolation
  • Unemployment

Relationship Factors for Perpetrating IPV

Recent research reviews link several relational risk factors to IPV perpetration (Heise and Garcia-Moreno 2002; Kantor and Jasinski 1998; Harway and O'Neil 1999):

  • Marital conflict
  • Marital instability
  • Male dominance in the family
  • Poor family functioning
  • Emotional dependence and insecurity
  • Belief in strict gender roles
  • Desire for power and control in relationships
  • Exhibiting anger and hostility toward a partner

Community Factors for Perpetrating IPV

Recent research reviews link several community risk factors to perpetrating IPV (Heise and Garcia-Moreno 2002; Counts, Brown and Campbell 1992):

  • Poverty
  • Low social capital
  • Factors associated with poverty such as overcrowding, hopelessness, stress, frustration
  • Weak sanctions against domestic violence


To understand and prevent IPV, it is important to understand and identify vulnerability factors. A vulnerability factor is anything that increases the likelihood that a person will experience IPV. However, vulnerability factors are not necessarily causes and exist without the occurrence of IPV. The following vulnerability factors increase the likelihood of experiencing IPV:

Individual Factors Increasing Vulnerability to IPV

Recent research reviews identify several individual vulnerability factors related to IPV (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000a; Crandall et al. 2004; Rennison 2000):

  • History of physical abuse
  • Prior injury from the same partner
  • Having a verbally abusive partner
  • Economic stress
  • Partner history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Childhood abuse
  • Being under the age of 24

Relationship Factors Increasing Vulnerability to IPV

Recent research reviews identify several relational vulnerability factors related to IPV (Heise and Garcia-Moreno 2002):

  • Marital conflict
  • Marital instability
  • Male dominance in the family
  • Poor family functioning

Source: National Center for Disease Control (

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