icon icon icon icon icon icon icon

What is Domestic Violence?

A profile of a woman holding up a necklace.

Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence [IPV], domestic abuse, or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.

According to the CDC, Domestic violence is common. It affects millions of people in the United States each year.

  • About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact.
  • Over 43 million women and 38 million men experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Domestic violence is a significant public health issue that has many individual and societal costs.

  • About 41% of female domestic violence survivors and 14% of male survivors experience some form of physical injury related to IPV. IPV can also extend beyond physical injury and result in death.
  • Data from U.S. crime reports suggest that 16% (about 1 in 6) of homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. The reports also found that nearly half of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.


In the United States, Together for Her is supporting domestic violence hotlines, shelters for women and children, case management, psycho-social support, legal services and other resources. EIF can help direct your gift to the city or geographic region of your choice.