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Defining Intimate Partner Violence

The term “intimate partner violence,” or IPV, describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. It also includes stalking that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone else, such as a family member or close friend.

IPV can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. This type of violence can be ongoing or a one-time incident.

Using a consistent definition of IPV helps us to track trends, understand risks, and
ultimately inform prevention strategies. Find out more about IPV and the need
for standard definitions at CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention website.