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Domestic Violence

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), also referred to as domestic violence, occurs when an individual purposely causes harm or threatens the risk of harm to any past or current partner or spouse. While abuse often occurs as a pattern of controlling and coercive behavior, an initial episode of abuse may also be cause for concern. Tactics used in IPV can be physical, sexual, financial, verbal, or emotional in nature against the partner. Individuals may also experience stalking, terrorizing, blame, hurt, humiliation, manipulation, and intentional isolation from social supports and family. IPV can vary in frequency and severity. Children are often the hidden or silent victims of IPV, and some are directly injured, while others are frightened witnesses. Children with IPV exposure are more likely to have also experienced emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and community violence.

As the scope of the problem has become understood, IPV is now identified as a significant legal and public health issue, not only a private family problem. Abuse can affect families and communities across generations, and can occur across the lifespan, from dating teens to elderly couples. There are laws in every state that address IPV. Abuse occurs in all types of relationships and among people with varying backgrounds of age, race, religion, financial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and education. Although the majority of victims of IPV are women, it is important to acknowledge that men can be victims too. IPV disproportionately affects members of the LGBTQ community, who experience barriers to assistance from community resources such as shelters or police.

Effects

Despite the high occurrence of childhood exposure to IPV, it is important to note that children are inherently resilient and can move forward from stressful events in their lives.

Interventions

There are a wide variety of counseling and mental health interventions available to families affected by domestic violence.

NCTSN Resources

The following resources on Domestic Violence were developed by the NCTSN.