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Intimate Partner Violence

The Extent of Intimate Partner Violence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses the term intimate partner violence to describe violence that occurs within all intimate relationships. Some of the common terms used to describe intimate partner violence are domestic abuse, dating violence, spouse abuse, battering, marital rape and date rape.

  • African-American women are more likely to be victimized by an intimate partner than are white women, and they are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than white women. (; MMWR
  • The health disparity in fatal and nonfatal intimate partner violence underscores the need to develop culturally relevant prevention programs. For instance, research has shown that for black men arrested for domestic violence and referred to batterer educational or counseling programs the drop-out rate tends to be higher than those for white men in the same programs. The conventional approach to working with these men needs to be revised to improve outcomes.
  • Nearly two-thirds of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000. Available on-line at
  • The same survey found that approximately 1.5 million women and 834,700 men are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year.
  • Among women who are physically assaulted or raped by an intimate partner, one in three is injured. Each year, more than 500,000 women injured as a result of intimate partner violence require medical treatment.
  • The health related costs of intimate partner rape, physical assault, and stalking exceed $5.8 billion each year, nearly $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health care services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Available on-line at

The CDC focus is on primary prevention and perpetrators

CDC is currently funding projects to develop and implement successful intimate partner violence prevention and intervention programs among minorities. More information is available on-line at

  • These projects are just providing some data so the big question of whether they work and for whom can't be answered yet. We are learning some of the more successful strategies for developing and implementing intimate partner violence and sexual violence prevention and intervention programs. Twelve to 18 months from now we expect to have more answers.
  • New York, New York: Early Intervention and Prevention of Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Program is a project to develop, implement and evaluate a model of care that integrates intimate partner violence and sexual violence interventions with proven track records among various cultures with HIV primary care services. The project’s goals for the HIV-infected population are to increase identification of victims of intimate partner violence and sexual violence, to improve access to culturally competent services, and to reduce the occurrence of inter-generational violence. (St. Luke’s Roosevelt Institute for Health Sciences)

The Focus of the Media – Culture Counts!

Cross-cultural research suggests focusing on consequences of the violence including unseen consequences of intimate partner violence – such as the effect on self-esteem and the effect on children witnessing the violence.

CDC Spokesperson:
Ileana Arias, PhD
Chief, Etiology and Surveillance Branch
Division of Violence Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

For interviews or additional information contact CDC Injury Center Media Relations 770-488-4902.

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This page last updated October 23, 2003

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