Intimate partner violence (IPV) is abuse that takes place within dating relationships (dating violence) or between spouses or domestic partners (domestic violence). It can be just one episode of violence or it can be a long-term, repeated occurrence in a relationship. IPV includes four types of behavior: physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, and emotional abuse. IPV is associated with serious physical, mental health, social and economic consequences, both immediate and long-term. Physical problems include injury and illness, chronic pain, sexually transmitted infection, and gynecological problems including pregnancy-related difficulties affecting both mothers and their infants. Psychological and social challenges include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, social isolation and difficulties at work.
IPV cuts across socio-demographic class, race/ethnicity, gender, and cultures. However, Hispanics and Blacks are disproportionately affected by IPV when compared with non-Hispanic Whites and other groups; for example, both non-Hispanic black and Hispanic cohabitating couples are two times as likely to report IPV than non-Hispanic whites. Two other groups that face unique challenges and risks related to IPV are adolescents and men who have sex with men (MSM). Teen Dating Violence (TDV) disproportionately affects Hispanic youth, with 12% of Hispanic teens reporting that they have experienced physical violence in dating relationships, compared to 8% of non-Hispanic Whites.
IPV tends to occur together with other conditions, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), behavioral and mental health conditions, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and engagement in risky sexual behaviors such as having unprotected sex and multiple sexual partners. Socioeconomic inequalities have also been identified as risk factors for IPV. However, having strong, supportive ties with family members can help to protect women from some of the negative consequences of IPV. A positive sense of self-esteem can also protect women from IPV and depression. However, because perpetrators of IPV emotionally abuse their victims, it is not known whether self-esteem is a predictor of IPV, an outcome of the abuse, or both.