Definition
Intimate partner violence refers to behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours. This definition covers violence by both current and former spouses and partners.
Global lifetime prevalence
WHO Violence against women fact sheet, November 2016
Studies of intimate partner violence prevalence
The diamonds show the median value in the range of lifetime prevalence estimates reported by studies in the database. These do not represent national or regional prevalence estimates. Use the buttons below to select different forms of intimate partner violence by country/area or by WHO region. The countries/areas in each WHO region can be found here.
African Region
Region of the Americas
Eastern Mediterranean Region
European Region
South-East Asia Region
Western Pacific Region
32%
30%
36%
32%
35%
23%
See studies
Size: Median prevalence
Studies of intimate partner violence consequences
The triangles show the relative importance of the potential consequences of intimate partner violence. They are based on a measure of association (median odds ratios) between intimate partner violence and the consequence in question across the relevant studies. Estimates based on a larger number of studies are likely to be more reliable.
Health problems
Mental and neurological disorders
Health risk behaviours
Communicable disease
Sexual and reproductive health problems
2.5x
1.9x
1.6x
1.6x
Social and behavioural problems
Pregnancy termination
Other
2.2x
See studies
Height: Median odds ratio
Studies of intimate partner violence risk factors
The triangles show the relative importance of different risk factors for intimate partner violence. They are based on a measure of association (median odds ratios) between intimate partner violence and the risk factor in question across the relevant studies. Estimates based on a larger number of studies are likely to be more reliable. Not all risk factors are found in all social and cultural contexts.
Individual (victim)
Witnessing IPV in childhood
Previous violence victimization
Mental and neurological disorder
Unmarried
Other
3.8x
3.1x
2.9x
2.5x
Individual (perpetrator)
Gambling
Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
Anger/hostility
Substance abuse
Other
4.2x
2.8x
2.7x
2.6x
Relationship
Marital dissatisfaction
Adherance to traditional gender role norms
Less children
Other
3.3x
2.3x
1.2x
Community
High rates of crime
High rates of violence
Residential stability
High rates of unemployment
Other
5.6x
2.5x
2.1x
1.5x
Societal
Social norms supportive of violence
Other
1.5x
See studies
Height: Median odds ratio
Studies of intimate partner violence prevention strategies
Prevention strategies aim to stop violence from occurring in the first place. A list of these strategies appears below. Only strategies with data in the database are included. Other promising strategies may exist which will be added when outcome evaluation studies are published. Each strategy includes several different interventions across a range of effectiveness, with higher values indicating greater effectiveness. Click on each strategy name to see the intervention effectiveness studies.
Studies of intimate partner violence response strategies
Response strategies aim to reduce the immediate and long-term consequences for victims of violence and/or offer treatment for perpetrators of violence. A list of these strategies appears below. Only strategies with data in the database are included. Other promising strategies may exist which will be added when outcome evaluation studies are published. Each strategy includes several different interventions across a range of effectiveness, with higher values indicating greater effectiveness. Click on each strategy name to see the intervention effectiveness studies.
Examples of strategies and interventions
This section contains examples of strategies and specific interventions with some evidence for effectiveness. They have been chosen for illustrative purposes, and their inclusion in Violence Info does not mean that WHO endorses them.
Intervention with Microfinance for AIDS and Gender Equity (IMAGE)
This programme targets women living in poor rural households, and combines a microfinance programme with training and skills-building sessions on preventing HIV infection, and on gender norms, cultural beliefs, …
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SASA!
SASA! is a community mobilization intervention to prevent intimate partner violence and reduce HIV-risk behaviours. SASA! means “now” in Kiswahili and is an acronym for the phases of the approach: Start, Awareness, …
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Safe Dates
A school-based prevention programme for middle and high school students designed to stop or prevent victimization and perpetration among youth involved in a dating relationship.
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Main survey instruments
This section describes some of the survey instruments most widely used to measure the prevalence of intimate partner violence.
WHO Multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence against women questionnaire
To collect valid data on the prevalence of domestic violence against women, health outcomes, and women's responses.
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Demographic and Health Survey Domestic Violence Module
To collect data on physical, psychological/emotional and sexual intimate partner violence against women. Note: domestic violence refers here to intimate partner violence against …
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Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2)
To measure violence against a partner in a dating or marital relationship.
See detail
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