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  • Define intimate partner violence (IPV), childhood exposure to IPV, and the epidemiology of IPV globally and in the United States.

  • Describe the health effects of IPV.

  • Describe risk factors for perpetration and victimization of IPV.

  • Review recommended screening, assessment, and intervention practices to address IPV in the health-care setting.

Jasmine grew up in an underserved urban neighborhood in the United States. Her father was an alcoholic who frequently assaulted her mother. When Jasmine was 14, her mother committed suicide, leaving Jasmine homeless. She has had a series of abusive boyfriends who have beaten and sexually assaulted her. She began using heroin a few years ago.

Amina grew up in a small village in Tanzania. Her father routinely beat her mother and insisted that Ahadi get married at age 16 to an older man with many other wives who offered to pay for Ahadi. Ahadi knows that when one of his other wives requested that he use a condom, he beat her so badly that she almost died. Ahadi is now pregnant with her third child.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global epidemic and human rights issue. It has marked harmful effects on the safety, health, and overall well-being of those victimized, their families, and communities. The term intimate partner violence describes physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, and psychological abuse by a current or former intimate partner. IPV may occur throughout the lifespan, from adolescence to old age. While IPV is related to child abuse as children who are exposed to parental or guardian IPV are often also the victims of direct maltreatment (Table 35-1) and may become both victims and perpetrators in adulthood, discussion of child abuse and elder abuse are beyond the scope of this chapter.

Table 35-1.Definitions of intimate partner violence (IPV), Child Exposure to IPV, and Child Abuse

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