Resources for Entertainment Education Content Developers
Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence
What's the Problem?
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is actual or threatened physical or sexual violence, or psychological/emotional abuse. It includes threatened physical or sexual violence when the threat is used to control a person's actions. Common terms used to describe intimate partner violence are domestic abuse, spouse abuse, domestic violence, courtship violence, battering, marital rape, and date rape. The incidence of partner abuse varies based on different methods and definitions used to define the problem. Despite the gaps in information, IPV affects a distressingly high percentage of the population and it results in physical, psychological, social, and economic consequences.
Who's at Risk?
More women are victims of IPV than are men. Based on data from the National Violence Against Women (NVAW) survey, 1.5 million women and 834,700 men are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year. The co-occurrence of IPV and child abuse is high. About 50% of children whose mothers are abused are also victims of abuse. The child may be abused by the mother's intimate partner or by the abused mother. IPV is a major cause of violence-related injuries. Intimate partners were identified as the perpetrators in 36% of all emergency department visits by women who suffered from one or more violent injuries.
IPV is a substantial public health problem that has serious consequences and costs for individuals, families, communities, and society. Intimate partners include current and former spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends (including heterosexual or same-sex partners).
Can It Be Prevented?
Given the pervasiveness of physical assault against women, violence prevention efforts are a major public health concern. A top priority is to increase access to services for victims and perpetrators of IPV and their children. Efforts to address violence should include information about: early warning signs for physical violence, strategies women can use to remove themselves from violence, and individual risk and protective factors that affect escalation and cessation of violence. Communities can help by coordinating violence prevention initiatives that strengthen safety networks for high-risk individuals and families. Research is not conclusive regarding the effectiveness of police arrest policies as a deterrent to IPV. Nonetheless, increased public awareness can help lawmakers develop policies and interventions directed toward IPV.
Tips for Scripts
- INFORM viewers that psychological consequences for victims of IPV can include depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts, lowered self-esteem, alcohol and other drug abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- EDUCATE viewers that the consequences of IPV for women are substantial. Female victims of severe IPV are more likely than male victims to need medical attention, take time off from work, spend more days in bed, and suffer more from stress and depression.
- REMIND viewers that treatment for violence must consider the effects of interaction between the offender, the treatment program, and the criminal justice system.
- Dr. Smith passes Dan, a new resident, whispering over the phone about an incident the night before. Dan is angry with his fiance for calling the police to press charges and threatens that if it happens again she will be sorry. Several weeks later, a woman is rushed into the emergency room with multiple bruises, scrapes, and abrasions. Dan recognizes the women as a former classmate of his fiance and ignores the needs of this patient. Dr. Smith notices Dan's lack of empathy in providing care for this patient and confronts him. An argument ensues and the patient gets involved, recalling a fight she witnessed between Dan and his fiancþe in the school parking lot. Dan thought no one was watching when he punched his fiancþe in the eye. Stunned by this revelation, Dr. Smith insists on a hospital review of Dan's handling of this patient and the alleged personal issues.
- Several weeks into their blissful marriage, a young couple has their first argument. Their voices rise. The husband realizes he cannot control his anger and walks away instead of creating a volatile scene. She backs off to give him some time to cool down. He returns an hour later and tells his wife that he wants to resolve his anger and hostility in a nonviolent manner.
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