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Notice to Readers: Domestic Violence Awareness Month --- October 2006

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. During this month, CDC is helping raise awareness of the serious, but preventable, problem of intimate partner violence (IPV). IPV is physical, sexual, or psychological harm caused by a current or former dating partner or spouse. This violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

Research has indicated that IPV varies in frequency and severity, ranging from isolated violent acts to battering, which is more frequent and intensive and involves one partner maintaining control over the other (1). IPV is a serious public health problem affecting more than 32 million persons in the United States (2). In 2004, IPV resulted in 1,544 deaths (3).

The longer IPV continues, the more serious the consequences. Many victims suffer physical injuries (e.g., broken bones, internal injuries, or head trauma) that can lead to permanent disabilities. IPV also can have an emotional impact. Victims often struggle with low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

IPV increases health-care costs and interferes with the performance of daily activities, including going to work. CDC estimates that the economic cost of IPV against women exceeds $5.8 billion. This estimate includes nearly $4.1 billion in direct costs (medical and mental health care) and nearly $1.8 billion in indirect costs (lost productivity) (4).

This month, CDC is encouraging communities to plan activities that raise awareness of IPV and promote development of healthy relationships. More information on IPV is available at


  1. Johnson MP. Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: two forms of violence against women. Journal of Marriage and the Family 1995;57:283--94.
  2. Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence: findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington DC: Department of Justice; 2000. Available at
  3. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Homicide trends in the United States: intimate homicide. Washington DC: Department of Justice; 2006. Available at
  4. CDC. Costs of intimate partner violence against women in the United States. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2003. Available at

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Date last reviewed: 10/4/2006


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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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