Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Prevention


CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control funds nine Injury Control Research Centers (ICRCs). These centers study ways to prevent injuries and violence and work with community partners to put research findings into action.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence (SV) are serious, preventable public health problems that affect millions of Americans. IPV includes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. Sexual violence refers to sexual activity when consent is not obtained or not given freely. Anyone can experience SV, but most victims are female. Seven of the current funded ICRCs are working to address IPV and SV through research, training, or outreach activities:

  • Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Rochester Medical Center
  • West Virginia University

Research: Studying Ways to Prevent Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence

Examples of CDC-funded ICRC research projects are listed here:

  • Influence of Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Legislation on TDV Outcomes: A Comparative State Policy Analysis
    (University of Iowa)
  • Testing and Dissemination of an Online Suicide Prevention Training for Intimate Partner Violence Hotline Workers
    (University of Rochester Medical Center)

Research in Action

The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) implemented and evaluated a new IPV counseling program in a community-based domestic violence agency. They piloted an eight-session counseling program and evaluated implementation factors such as program exposure and fidelity, counselor experience, and client experience, and outcome factors such as measured change in IPV-related incidents, self-efficacy, and overall health. Clients reported increased self-confidence and greater ability to end and stay out of abusive relationships. The partner agency continues using components of the program and wants future collaboration with the CIRP.

Outreach: Putting Research into Action to Prevent Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence

The University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center (UMIPC) partnered with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center and the University’s Global Communications Office to create a campus-wide campaign. The university wanted to raise awareness of campus sexual assault and consent, encourage reporting by victims, and encourage friend, faculty, staff, and first responder compassion and support. During the campaign, website traffic to sexual assault–related content increased significantly, including a 140 percent traffic increase for the program’s “What is consent?” content and a 111 percent increase for the “What you may be feeling if you are a survivor/common reactions” content.

The University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center (UNC IPRC) hosted Visioning Summit: North Carolina’s Children and Domestic Violenceexternal icon. This summit included more than 50 of the state’s practitioners, decision-makers, researchers, and other stakeholders. They determined how to best foster positive, collaborative partnerships among organizations concerned with IPV and child well-being. The group developed recommendations to address child well-being and IPV in North Carolina.

Training: Building the Field to Prevent Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence

The University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center (UI IPRC) collaborated with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Attorney General’s Office to collect and report IPV data. The project served as a practical opportunity for students pursuing a master’s degree in public health. These students helped enter case data, interview team members, and track progress on annual recommendations. The health department shares the data with stakeholders and partners across the state to raise awareness of IPV trends and to help drive prevention strategies.

The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S) at the University of Rochester Medical Center developed a suicide prevention curriculum for National Domestic Violence Hotline counselors. This training helps the counselors better recognize and support IPV victims who have suicidal thoughts and behavior. Forty-two counselors participated in the training. Participants reported applying the lessons they had learned from the training in the workplace and in the larger community. ICRC-S staff continue to work with the hotline, training counselors to address the mental health needs of those who have experienced IPV.