Learn about intimate partner violence and what you can do to help prevent it.

If you are a victim of intimate partner violence, get help here.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Intimate partner violence, also known as domestic violence, includes physical and sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression by a current or former spouse or partner. It affects millions of individuals, families, and communities of all races, classes, religions, incomes, and sexual orientations.

In the United States, an estimated 43.6 million women1 and 37.3 million men2 will experience sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. That’s 80.9 million Americans⁠—more than twice the population of the state of California!

Additionally, 15.5 million children3 in the United States live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year. Witnessing intimate partner violence at a young age can have lasting impacts on children throughout their lifespan.

1 CDC, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 Data Brief

2 CDC, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 Data Brief

3 Journal of Family Psychology, Estimating the number of American children living in partner-violent families

No⁠—intimate partner violence does not discriminate by gender. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim or perpetrator. It can happen to people who are married, living together, or dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.”1

While intimate partner violence can happen to anyone, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t always impact everyone the same way. For example, immigrants,2 people with disabilities,3 pregnant people,4 members of the LGBTQ+ community,5 and other marginalized groups may face additional barriers to accessing resources and leaving an abusive relationship.

1 National Domestic Violence Hotline, Abuse Defined

2 National Domestic Violence Hotline, Abuse and Immigrants

3 National Domestic Violence Hotline, Abuse & People with Disabilities

4 National Domestic Violence Hotline, Pregnancy & Abuse

5 National Domestic Violence Hotline, LGBTQ Abuse

Most victims of intimate partner violence experience it for the first time before age 25.1 Youth who experience intimate partner or dating violence are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety; engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol; exhibit antisocial behaviors; and think about suicide.2

And young people don’t have to be directly involved in an abusive relationship in order to feel the effects. For example, children who are exposed to or witness intimate partner violence are more likely to perpetrate or become a victim later in life.3

1 CDC, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 Data Brief

2 CDC, Teen Dating Violence

3 CDC, Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan

Experiencing intimate partner violence has significant consequences for general, reproductive, and mental health,1 including chronic illnesses such as incident diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke and obesity, STDs and pregnancy complications, unwanted pregnancies, and fetal death. Victims exposed to intimate partner violence are also more likely to have symptoms and/or clinical diagnoses of mood and anxiety disorders.

On average, the Bureau of Justice Statistics finds that three women are murdered every day by a partner. Fatal or not, every instance of intimate partner violence has devastating impacts on families and communities and prevents millions of people from leading safe, healthy lives.3

1 CDC, Preventing Intimate Partner Violence

2 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Publications & Products: Intimate Partner Violence

The financial costs of intimate partner violence are staggering. Experts estimate that it costs our economy $460 billion each year.1 Furthermore, the CDC finds that nearly 8 million days of paid work each year are lost due to intimate partner violence issues—the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs or $727.8 million in lost productivity.2

Globally, the Copenhagen Consensus Center estimates the annual cost to be trillions of dollars—making intimate partner violence costlier and more pervasive than civil war.3

1 Washington Post, The Cost of Domestic Violence is Astonishing

2 CDC, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States

2 Copenhagen Consensus Center, The Gigantic Cost of Domestic Violence: $8 Trillion a Year

The CDC’s latest National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey finds that 1 in 3 women experience intimate partner violence during their lifetime, and that 1 in 7 men experience severe physical intimate partner violence during their lifetime.1 Additional research from the CDC finds that 1 in 4 children have witnessed violence in the past year.2

That adds up to millions of victims—across every neighborhood and community in our country. That means millions of Americans who are unable to live happy, healthy lives because of intimate partner violence.

1 CDC, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 Data Brief

2 CDC, Making Violence Prevention Urgent

Safety first! Be aware of the risks of getting involved, and always check in with the victim to make sure you are not putting them in further danger.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline emphasizes that “one of the most important ways you can help a person in an abusive relationship is to consider how you might empower them to make their own decisions.”1 Remember that there can be many reasons why someone might stay in an abusive relationship, and it’s ultimately that person’s choice to make.

Some examples of ways you can offer to help a potential victim include: supporting them without judgment, suggesting resources, helping them develop a safety plan, and letting them know that you are ready if they need help.

Remember that you can always contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline if you need help: 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.

1 National Domestic Violence Hotline, Help for Friends and Family

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. You can also find additional resources here.

Know that abuse is never your fault, and that you deserve help and support. Consider reaching out to a trusted friend or family member who will listen to you without judgment. And if it’s safe for you to do so, think about calling or chatting with a resource like the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org

You can also develop a safety plan to explore next steps, whether you choose to stay in the relationship or not. Safety plans can include documenting instances of violence, identifying resources, thinking about next steps, practicing self-care, and anything else that will help you feel more secure. Learn more about safety planning here.

It takes all of us coming together to prevent intimate partner violence. We need a mix of public awareness, professional training, policy changes, and infrastructure development. Saving Promise is leading the charge in all of these areas—with your support, we can scale our efforts to reach every community in this country.

Get involved. Become a Friend of Promise today.