Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major issue in today’s society. However, it is preventable. Therefore, it is important to be aware of risk factors of IPV. It has been discovered that IPV happens to both men and women. Furthermore, it does not affect only heterosexual couples. Homosexual couples are just as likely to be in an abusive relationship. The most significant risk factors relating to future incidences of IPV are drug and alcohol abuse and prior abuse history. For instance, if the violence has occurred previously, it probably will again. IPV is reduced by being aware of risk factors, intervening on the victim’s behalf at the first sign of violence, and alleviating risk factors, such as unemployment.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a preventable occurrence that impacts millions of Americans daily. It is defined as “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” (CDC, 2014). Thus, the goal of this paper is to discuss the origin and risk factors of IPV. This is followed by a discussion of how society has established ways to prevent homicides related to IPV.

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Intimate Partner Violence
IPV varies in its severity. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence. It can also pertain to threats of physical or sexual violence. Physical violence involves “intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing death, disability, injury, or harm” (CDC, 2014). Sexual abuse involves situations in which physical force is used to engage in sexual relations, sexual relations with one that is unable to understand the situation, and abusive sexual contact. Psychological and emotional violence include isolation, humiliation, control, and verbal abuse (CDC, 2014). The incidence of IPV increases with drug and alcohol abuse. Furthermore, if the violence has happened before, it is likely to occur again. In fact, there are three primary risk factors that are related to future violence occurrences. These are: “the type of violence (willful intimidation, assault, battery, sexual assault); the number of days since the last incident; and the frequency, or increasing frequency, of violence” (Kercher, Weiss, & Rufino, 2010). Thus, IPV is a serious problem that can often lead to homicide.

Domestic Related Homicides
Domestic related homicides are prevented by intervening at the first sign of IPV (Kercher, Weiss, & Rufino, 2010). This allows law enforcement to be aware of the history and to protect the victim. Furthermore, domestic related homicides are prevented through relief of the risk factors. Since IPV occurs due to an accumulation of different factors, including individual, relational, community, and societal (CDC, 2014). Through alleviating some of these stressors, such as unemployment, IPV is reduced.

IPV impacts millions of Americans. Many times, the victim does not know when it will occur, nor is it known what caused the infraction. IPV is not necessarily confined to sexually intimate couples. It also does not indiscriminately affect either gender. That is, IPV can happen to men and women alike in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

IPV includes physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence. This can include the actual acts of abuse or threats. Physical violence refers to force that has the potential for injury or death. Sexual violence refers to any situation where the victim does not consent, cannot consent, or is unable to understand the situation. However, IPV risks increase with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as the previous type of violence used. This means, if it has happened once, it will probably happen again.

  • CDC. (2014, September 18). Intimate Partner Violence. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/
  • CDC. (2014, June 24). Intimate Partner Violence: Definitions. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/definitions.html
  • Kercher, G., Weiss, A., & Rufino, K. (2010). Assessing the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence. Sam Houston State University.