University of Southern California

Intimate Partner Violence

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

Intimate partner violence, commonly referred to as domestic violence, is any type of abuse, intimidation, or controlling behavior that occurs within a romantic or dating relationship. 

Who it Includes

This includes LGBT couples, people who are casually dating, are in long-term or common-law relationships, and current or former spouses.

Where it Occurs

Intimate partner violence occurs in all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, age and religious groups.

Its Forms

Intimate partner violence comes in many forms, and may include physical assaults, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, threats, intimidation, forced intercourse, other forms of sexual assault, controlling behaviors, isolating a person from family and friends, manipulating children, destroying property or pets, and restricting access to information and assistance.

The Common Element

The common element in all abusive relationships is the abuser's need for power and control over his or her partner.