The Center for Disease Control and Prevention on how domestic violence/intimate partner violence concerns us all: The numbers are staggering and the consequences dire, but these are the facts of domestic violence/Intimate Partner violence (IPV) to society in general and to you and your family in particular.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans [all people group]. The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexuals or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.
Cost to Society
Costs of intimate partner violence (IPV) against women in 1995 exceeded an estimated $5.8 billion. These costs included nearly $4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical and mental health care and nearly $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity (CDC 2003). This is generally considered an underestimate because the costs associated with the criminal justice system were not included.
• When updated to 2003 dollars, IPV costs exceeded $8.3 billion, which included $460 million for rape, $6.2 billion for physical assault, $461 million for stalking, and $1.2 billion in the value of lost lives (Max et al. 2004).
• Victims of severe IPV lose nearly 8 million days of paid work‒the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs‒and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity each year (CDC 2003).
• Women who experience severe aggression by men (e.g., not being allowed to go to work or school or having their lives or their children’s lives threatened) are more likely to have been unemployed in the past, have health problems, and be receiving public assistance (Lloyd and Taluc 1999).
In general, victims of repeated violence over time experience more serious consequences than victims of one-time incidents (Johnson and Leone 2005). The following list describes some, but not all, of the consequences of IPV.
In 2005, 329 males and 1181 females were murdered by an intimate partner (Bureau of Justice Statistics 2007).
As many as 42% of women and 20% of men who were physically assaulted since age 18 sustained injuries during their most recent victimization. Most injuries, such as scratches, bruises, and welts, were minor (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000).
More severe physical consequences of IPV may occur depending on severity and frequency of abuse (Campbell et al. 2002; Heise and Garcia-Moreno 2002; Plichta 2004; Tjaden and Thoennes 2000). Physical violence by an intimate partner has also been associated with a number of adverse health outcomes (Breiding, Black, and Ryan, 2008). Several health conditions associated with intimate partner violence may be a direct result of the physical violence (for example, bruises, knife wounds, broken bones, back or pelvic pain, headaches). Studies have also demonstrated the impact of intimate partner violence on the endocrine and immune systems through chronic stress or other mechanisms (Crofford, 2007; Leserman and Drossman, 2007) Examples include:
• Fibromyalgia
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Gynecological disorders
• Pregnancy difficulties like low birth weight babies and perinatal deaths
• Sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS
• Central nervous system disorders
• Gastrointestinal disorders
• Heart or circulatory conditions
Children may become injured during IPV incidents between their parents. A large overlap exists between IPV and child maltreatment (Appel and Holden 1998).
Physical violence is typically accompanied by emotional or psychological abuse (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000). IPV‒whether sexual, physical, or psychological‒can lead to various psychological consequences for victims (Bergen 1996; Coker et al. 2002; Heise and Garcia-Moreno 2002; Roberts, Klein, and Fisher 2003):
• Depression
• Antisocial behavior
• Suicidal behavior in females
• Anxiety
• Low self-esteem
• Inability to trust others, especially in intimate relationships
• Fear of intimacy
• Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
• Emotional detachment
• Sleep disturbances
• Flashbacks
• Replaying assault in the mind

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