Intimate Partner Abuse

Intimate Partner AbuseScope of the Problem

  • Among women 18 and older, approximately 5.3 million intimate partner victimizations occur every year in the U.S.1
  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) comprised 20% of nonfatal violence against women age 12 and up in 2001.2
  • Simple assault is the most common type of crime in IPV.2
  • In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. 33% of females murdered were killed by an intimate partner in recent years.2
  • Women are more likely to experience IPV than men: 85% of victimizations by intimate partners were against women in 2001.2
  • Violence crimes by intimate partners has actually declined from 1993 to 2001: down from 1.1. million to 588,490 nonfatal violence crimes for a rate of 49%.2
  • The number of women killed by intimate partners has declined at a rate of 22% between 1976 and 2000.2
According to the National Violence Against Women Survey:
  • More than 1 million women are stalked by intimate partners each year
  • Almost 25% of women have been sexually or physically assaulted by an intimate in their lifetime
  • Approximately 64% of women reported being raped, physically assaulted and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by an intimate partner
  • Women are more likely than men to be injured in an assault, and risk of injury goes up when the perpetrator is a current or former intimate partner

Health Implications

  • Women victims of IPV have 60% higher rates of all health problems than women without abuse history.4 Problems often include chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, heart or circulatory conditions, gynecological disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and premature labor. 5-7
  • Abused women and girls often have adverse mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem 8
  • Most women who experience physical abuse by an intimate partner experience sexual abuse as well. Women who are sexually abused have higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder than women who are only physically abused. 9(McFarlane)
  • Women victims of IPV are more likely to have substance abuse problems, and attempt suicde. 10(Coker 2000)


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003). Costs of intimate partner violence against women in the United States. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed August 2, 2005 from
  2. Rennison, C.M. (2003). Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001 Washington: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  3. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NCJ 183781.
  4. Campbell, J., Jones, A.S., Dienemann, J., Jub, J., Schollenberger, J. & O’Campo, P. (2002). Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1157-63.
  5. Heise, L., Moore, K. & Toubia, N. (1995). Sexual coercion and women’s reptroductive health: a focus on research. New York: Population Council.
  6. Heise, L., Garcia-Moreno, C. (2002). Violence by intimate partners, World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  7. He, H., McCoy, H.V., Stevens, S.J., Stark, M.J. (1998). Violence and HIV sexual risk behaviors among female sex partners of male drug users. Women’s Health, 27, 161-175.
  8. Mercy, J.A., Krug, E., Dahlberg, L.L.& Zwi, A.B. (2003). Violence and health: the United States in global perspective. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 256.
  9. McFarlane, J., Malecha, A., Gist, J. & Hall, I. (2005). Intimate partner sexual assault against women: Frequency, health consequences, and treatment outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 105, 99-108.
  10. Coker, A.L. Smith, P.H., Bethea, L., King, M.R.& McKeown, R.E. (2000). Physical health consequence of physical and psychological intimate partner violence. Archives of Family Medicine, 9, 451.