Domestic Violence Prevention
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an often hidden form of violence
among intimate partners (i.e., spouses, boy/girlfriends, past partners),
occuring across all socioeconomic groups, increasingly in adolescent
relationships. The new National Intimate Partner and Sexual
Violence Survey (NISVS)1, conducted
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), documents IPV as a
widespread problem and a major public health issue. Results from this
representative survey of adult women and men in the United States indicate
About 1 in 4 women (24%) and 1 in 7 men (14%) have experienced severe
physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who have
experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner
first experienced it between 11 and 17 years of age. Nearly
47% of women and 39% of men were between 18 and 24 years old when the
violence first occurred.
Nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men that
have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an
intimate partner in their lifetime reported at least one impact
related to these experiences, including: sustaining injury,
needing health care, being fearful, being concerned for safety, having
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, or missing at least one day of
work or school.
More than half (51%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by
an intimate partner.
The NISVS also estimates that about 33% of California women—about 4.5
million—have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate
partner at some point in their lifetime. Results from the 2008
California Women’s Health Survey further strengthens our
understanding of IPV by reporting that about 6% of women (641,000) in California
had experienced at least one incident of psychological or physical IPV during
the last 12 months before responding to the survey.2
Results from the California Healthy Kids Survey also reinforces our need
to prevent IPV among youth. Seven percent of eleventh
grade students in California report experiencing physical violence in their
dating relationships during the last 12 months.3
Impact on Public Health
These alarming statistics support the need for critical prevention
programs, especially for adolescents aged 10-24. More than half of
the victims of violence and abuse had their first experience in adolescence,
which further increases negative health outcomes across the lifespan. Victims of
IPV are more likely to report frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty with
sleeping, activity limitations, and poor physical and mental health than men and
women who did not experience IPV. Women are especially affected;
women were more likely to report having asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and
diabetes than those who did not experience IPV.1
Victims of IPV and sexual violence make more visits to health providers
over their lifetime, have more hospital stays, have longer duration of hospital
stays, and are at risk for a wide range of physical, mental, reproductive, and
other health consequences over their lifetime than non-victims.4 , 5
Teens involved in dating violence are also more likely to do poorly
in school, engage in sexual intercourse, report binge drinking, suicide
attempts, and physical aggression in their adult
relationships.6 Destructive relationships that occur
during the teen years can lead to life-long unhealthy relationship practices,
may disrupt normal development, and can contribute to other unhealthy behaviors
in teens that, if left unchecked, can lead to problems over a
Ending Intimate Partner Violence in California
The goal of the California Department of Public Health’s
Domestic Violence Training and Education Program is to prevent IPV
from ever happening in the first place, with a focus on providing training,
technical assistance, and grants to community-based organizations that teach
young people to engage in healthy, respectful relationships.
It is important that public health agencies provide leadership and
support in in building community-based prevention initiatives that address IPV
and teen dating violence, or adolescent relationship abuse. The
severe health consequences of IPV for individuals and communities demand the
attention and contributions of public health professionals in order to prevent
injuries, save lives, and build safe and healthy communities in California.
Public Health Report Explores Violence in California
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released the first in a series of reports focused on violence. Preventing Violence in California Volume 1: The Role of Public Health provides a broad overview of the complex topic of violence prevention. The purpose of this report is to strengthen the understanding of the governmental public health role in violence prevention, to better address the connections among the different forms of violence, shape future funding initiatives and guide our collaborative efforts with partners across the state. Following issues will delve further into specific topics, including data on forms of violence and prevention strategies. Based on input from local health jurisdictions, forms of violence that will be prioritized in the CDPH reports are child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and gun violence. To obtain a copy of the report, visit the CDPH Violence Prevention Initiative Page.
1View the complete NISVS report and toolkit
2California Women’s Health
Survey, 2008, unpublished data.
3California Healthy Kids
Survey, 2008. California Department of
Basile, K.C., & Smith, S.G. Sexual violence
victimization of women: Prevalence, characteristics, and the role of public
health and prevention. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 5,
5Black, M.C. Intimate
partner violence and adverse health consequences: Implications for clinicians.
American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 5, 428–439. 2011.
6Banyard VL, Cross C.
Consequences of teen dating violence: Understanding intervening variables in
ecological context. Violence Against Women.