Addressing Intimate Partner Violence Against Women

Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects millions of people each year. This type of violence is perpetrated by a current or former partner or spouse. It includes violence that is physical, psychological, or sexual in nature.  Women are more likely to experience IPV and to be negatively impacted by it than men. About one-third of women will experience IPV in their lifetime.

There are many costs associated with intimate partner violence. It is responsible for loss of productivity, loss of earning potential, and increased reliance on medical services. Marital violence puts children at a higher risk for emotional and behavioral problems. IPV accounts for billions of dollars in direct medical and mental health care costs each year.

IPV has been linked to adverse health conditions as well as adverse health outcomes.

Women who experience IPV are more likely to have health problems such as heart disease and stroke when compared to women who have not experienced IPV. They are also more likely to engage in high-risk behavior, putting them at risk for other conditions and diseases, such as HIV. Because of its far-reaching effects, intimate partner violence is a major public health concern.

In September 2013, the President’s Working Group released a report entitled: Addressing the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities. Violence is a common occurrence for women who have HIV/AIDS.  Fifty-five percent of these women experience IPV compared to the national average of 36%. Of women who have been diagnosed with HIV, 20% report being harmed physically after diagnosis. Furthermore, women who experience intimate partner violence have lower levels of self-efficacy for HIV prevention. The report includes recommendations that will allow federal agencies to address intervention, prevention, and research of violence against women. Hopefully this will lead to a positive outcome for women and girls now and in the future.