Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence Facts

  • Domestic violence is commonly referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV)
  • Eighty-five percent of IPV victims are women. A woman is beaten every 9 seconds.
  • Every year nearly 5.3 million incidents of IPV occur among U.S. women aged 18 and older
  • IPV results in nearly 1300 deaths and 2 million injuries every year in the United States
  • More than 3 women are killed by husbands/boyfriends everyday
  • 1 in 3 women worldwide has been forced into sex, beaten, or otherwise abused another way during her lifetime
  • Women aged 16-24 are most likely to be victimized by an intimate partner
  • Women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner
  • Most IPV incidents are not reported to the police - only 20% of rapes/sexual assaults, 25% of physical assaults, and 50% of stalking towards women are reported
  • Despite severe under-reporting of IPV, calls related to IPV make up about half of all violent crime calls to police departments
  • Only about 1 out of 5 IPV victims with physical injuries seek professional medical treatment

Special Considerations

  • A dating partner is sexually and/or physically abusing 1 out of 5 high school students
  • It is estimated that intimate partners stalk more than 1 million women and 371,000 men each year
  • For 30% of women who are abused, the first incident occurs during pregnancy
  • Between 4-8% of pregnant women are abused at least once during pregnancy
  • Hispanic women are less likely to be victimized than non-Hispanic women in every age group
  • Women are most at risk to violence during separation from their intimate partner 

Treatment and Interventions

Safety planning is an important aspect of any intervention for IPV. This might include keeping a list of important telephone numbers close at hand; telling family, friends, neighbors, etc. about the abuse so they can call the police if they hear angry or violent noises; determining exit points from the home, and practicing routes to exit quickly and safely; identifying safe areas of the home; removing weapons from the home; putting together a bag of items you need, such as money, keys, medicines, papers and documents; identifying places to go if you left home; open a bank account in your name, get a cell phone for your own use

Initially, separate group or individual therapy for the victim and abuser are recommended as the treatment of choice.

The goals of individual therapy for victims include: education, safety planning, addressing issues of responsibility, examining fears, addressing beliefs and values, building strengths and resources, building conflict management skills, increasing coping and interpersonal skills

Many women find support groups helpful, often in addition to or instead of individual therapy. These are intervention groups that are led by a professional, and which provide women with an opportunity to share their experiences and wisdom, as well as seeking information from the group leader and other members

For couples that plan to remain together, a sequenced approach may be appropriate. In this situation, AFTER both parties have engaged in individual or group therapy separately, and AFTER they have contracted for nonviolence in their home, the couple might begin couples therapy. The goals of this type of therapy would include: focusing on safety, examining fears, addressing issues of responsibility together, and deconstructing violent moments.

These facts came from the Feminist Majority Foundation at http://www.feminist.org/other/dv/dvfact.html; the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/ipvfacts.htm; and the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, http://www.ndvh.org.