The VA’s Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program is committed to helping Veterans, their partners and also VA staff who are impacted by IPV. If you or someone you know could be experiencing and/or using IPV – Help is available.
What Is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)?
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans. The term "intimate partner violence" describes 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.
Emotional IPV is when a person tries to hurt his/her partner’s self-worth. It is common for emotional IPV to begin before other types of IPV.
- Name calling, putting you down
- Controlling your money or spending
- Keeping you from friends and family
- Bullying, stalking
- Controlling where you go or what you wear
Physical IPV is when a person tries to hurt his/her partner by using physical force.
- Hitting, slapping
- Choking, biting
- Shoving, kicking
- Restraining, hair-pulling
Sexual IPV is when a person forces or tries to convince his/her partner to engage in sexual activities when the other partner does not want to or is unable to consent (for example, when someone is impacted by alcohol or drugs).
Threats of Violence
Threats of violence are ways to cause fear through words, actions, or weapons to harm the partner, their possessions, their pets, or their loved ones. Some people experience only one of these forms of violence while others may experience more than one. IPV can be a single event or can last for many years. No matter what, no one deserves to be treated this way.
What Are the Effects of IPV?
The impact of intimate partner violence is far-reaching and severe. Consequences and outcomes of IPV can affect:
- Feeling "on edge"
- Difﬁculty concentrating
- Trouble relaxing
- Trouble sleeping
- Feelings of shame or guilt
- Blaming yourself for what happened
- Pregnancy complications
- Stomach problems
- Broken bones
- Fatal injuries
- Female health problems
- Avoiding new relationships
- Feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in relationships
- Money problems
- Difﬁculties trusting people
- Pulling away or isolating from friends and family
- Job issues
What Can I Do If I Have Experienced IPV?
- The most important thing is YOUR SAFETY and the safety of your children.
- If you don’t feel safe at home right now, you can seek help IMMEDIATELY by calling 911.
If you do feel safe now, but are concerned about the future, there are steps you can take to increase your safety:
- Talk to the Intimate Partner Violence Coordinator at your VA
- Talk to any of your VA providers about IPV or any safety concerns.
- Tell your trusted friends and family about what is going on and come up with a safe place you could go if needed.
Create a safety plan with your provider, your plan can include:
- Safe places you can go.
- Saving money in a safe place.
- Phone numbers and addresses for family and friends.
- Shelters and crisis hotline numbers.
It may be hard to talk about these experiences. It is normal to get upset when discussing IPV or to worry about what others will think. Remember that it is not your fault. If you would like to speak with someone in private, VA has services and people who can help you. You are not alone. Talk to any of your VA providers.