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Intimate partner violence (IPV) represents a significant and preventable public health issue. Also known as domestic violence, IPV describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and/or psychological aggression by a current or former intimate partner (who may or may not be cohabiting).1 Importantly, IPV occurs across the lifespan and can affect individuals, including adolescents who have just started dating or having intimate relationships. IPV in adolescence is often referred to as teen dating violence (TDV). The purpose of this chapter is to outline the nature and burden of IPV across the lifespan (including TDV), discuss current data on risk and protective factors for IPV, and describe best available evidence for preventing violence in intimate relationships.



Intimate partners can include current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, dating partners or sexual partners. Although not all of the following relationship characteristics may be present, an intimate partner is generally defined as a close personal relationship that may involve emotional connectedness, regular contact, ongoing physical and/or sexual contact, identity as a couple, and familiarity about each other's lives.1 IPV can occur in heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. Broadly, IPV encompasses multiple forms of partner violence, several methods or tactics to perpetrate IPV, and can vary in frequency and severity, including both single episodes of IPV as well as chronic and severe episodes occurring over a longer period of time.1

In order to facilitate consistency of IPV surveillance across organizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consulted a panel of IPV subject matter experts and developed a document that provides uniform definitions and recommended data elements for IPV.1 Table 178-1 outlines definitions for IPV and other related terms that are used when reporting the prevalence of IPV. Additionally, while the definitions included in Table 178-1 refer to IPV in adulthood, they may also be used when describing TDV.


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