NISVS Overview

CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence, and Stalking Have Widespread Effects

Findings from CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) indicate that millions of Americans are affected by sexual violence (SV), stalking, and intimate partner violence (IPV) every year.1 In addition to the immediate physical and emotional toll, a wide range of chronic physical and mental health problems are associated with these forms of violence. The impact is felt well beyond an individual victim, with substantial economic costs across victims’ lifetimes due to medical care, lost work, and criminal justice activities.

Monitoring the Magnitude of IPV, SV, and Stalking

IPV, SV, and stalking can be challenging to monitor due to the sensitive nature of these forms of violence—NISVS can help. NISVS is an ongoing, nationally representative survey that gathers timely and reliable national and state-level data on SV, stalking, and IPV victimization from adult women and men in the United States.

NISVS asks questions about these sensitive topics using a health and behavior frame to help maximize reliable reporting of these important public health issues. NISVS collects lifetime and 12-month prevalence data, describes who is most likely to experience these forms of violence, as well as information on the impacts and health consequences associated with these types of violence. NISVS data inform and improve prevention and response efforts.

Why NISVS Matters

NISVS is the first survey that:

  • Regularly monitors SV, stalking, and IPV in a public health context
  • Reports on lifetime and 12-month experiences of SV, stalking, and IPV at the national and state-level data
  • Examines associated health impacts and age of first victimization of SV, stalking, and IPV

How NISVS is Helpful to your Work

NISVS data are used to:

  • Help plan and prioritize violence prevention and response efforts at the national, state, and local levels
  • Educate communities about the prevalence and characteristics of SV, stalking, and IPV
  • Inform policies, programs, and practices for violence prevention and response initiatives
  • Guide and evaluate progress at the state level toward the reduction of these forms of violence

Prevention Begins with Action

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Definitions

Violence impacts every community and affects people of all genders, sexual orientations, and ages—anyone can experience or perpetrate these types of violence.

Sexual Violence (SV) – Sexual activity when consent is not obtained or given freely.

Stalking – Occurs when someone repeatedly harasses or threatens someone else, causing fear or safety concerns.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) – Physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, psychological aggression, or control of reproductive or sexual health by a current or former intimate partner.

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A comprehensive strategy to prevent these types of violence requires that public health works with other sectors, such as education, justice, and social services, to implement prevention efforts. By understanding and addressing SV, stalking, and IPV, we can empower communities to stop violence before it begins.

About NISVS

NISVS is an ongoing, nationally representative telephone survey that collects detailed information on IPV, SV, and stalking victimization of adult women and men ages 18 and older in the United States. The survey collects data on past-year and lifetime experiences of violence. CDC developed NISVS to better describe and monitor the magnitude of these forms of violence in the United States.

  1. Smith SG, Chen J, Basile KC, Gilbert LK, Merrick MT, Patel N, Walling M, Jain A. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 State Report pdf icon[4.32 MB, 272 Pages]. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017.
  2. Peterson C, DeGue S, Florence C, Lokey CN. Lifetime economic burden of rape among U.S. adultsexternal icon. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2017; 52(6):691-701.
  3. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States pdf icon[228 KB, 64 Pages]. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003.
Page last reviewed: February 12, 2021