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Domestic violence costs society as well as victims

Intimate partner domestic violence is actual or threatened physical or sexual violence or psychological and emotional abuse directed toward a spouse, ex-spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, or current or former dating partner. Intimate partners may be heterosexual or of the same sex. Some of the common terms used to describe intimate partner violence are domestic abuse, spouse abuse, domestic violence, courtship violence, battering, marital rape, and date rape.

Occurrences: Nearly two-thirds of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend or date. Also, firearms are often the type of weapon used in intimate partner-domestic violence homicides.

Some of the consequences and risk factors of intimate partner domestic violence are as follows:

Intimate partner domestic violence is associated with both short- and long-term problems, including physical injury and illness, psychological symptoms, economic costs and death.

Female victims are more likely than male victims to need medical attention and take time off from work as a consequence of severe intimate partner domestic violence. They also spend more time in bed and suffer more from stress and depression.

Each year, thousands of American children witness IP-DV within their families. Witnessing violence is a risk factor for long-term physical and mental health problems, including alcohol and substance abuse, being a victim of abuse, and perpetrating IP-DV.

The costs of medical and mental health care as a result of intimate partner domestic violence, rape, physical assault and stalking are astronomical.

Alcohol use is frequently associated with violence between intimate partners. It is estimated that in 45 percent of cases of IP-DV, men had been drinking, and in about 20 percent of cases, women had been drinking.

Some recent studies have found that male partners' unemployment and drug or alcohol use are associated with increase risk for physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

Witnessing IP-DV as a child or adolescent, or experiencing violence from caregivers as a child increases one's risk of both perpetrating IP-DV and becoming a victim of IP-DV.

Some perpetrators lack social skills like communication, especially in the context of problematic situations with their intimate partners.

A high proportion of IP-DV perpetrators report some depression, lower self-esteem, and more aggression than nonviolent intimate partners. Evidence indicates that violent intimate partners may be more likely to have personality disorders like schizoidal/borderline personality, antisocial or narcissistic behaviors, and dependency and attachment problems.

If you would like additional information regarding the prevention of intimate partner domestic violence or would like to get involved with local efforts, call the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line at 265-6206.


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