What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, occurs when one person causes physical or psychological harm to a current or former intimate partner. It includes all acts of violence within the context of family or intimate relationships. Besides being the leading cause of injury to women in the United States (a woman is beaten every 15 seconds), it is an issue of increasing concern because of its negative effect on all family members, especially children. While accurate information on the extent of domestic violence is difficult to obtain because of under-reporting, some aspects of the problem are known:
  • Domestic violence is not confined to any one socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial or age group and knows no geographic or educational boundaries. It also occurs within teenage relationships and among same-sex partnerships.
  • About one out of every four women in America will be physically assaulted or raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. In fact, American women are more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assailant.
  • Estimates of assaults on women by partners range from approximately 2 million to 4 million annually in the United States.
  • The majority of women killed at work are murdered by a current or former intimate partner.

Power and Control Wheel from the Duluth Model

Equality Wheel from the Duluth Model