Intimate partner violence or Domestic Violence contains physical and sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression (including coercive tactics) by a current or former intimate partner. An intimate partner is a person with whom one has a close personal relationship characterized by emotional connectedness, regular contact, and continuing physical and/or sexual contact, identity as a couple, and familiarity with each other’s lives1. It is a persistent and deliberate pattern of behaviour by an abuser over a prolonged period of time intended to result in obedience and to create fear. It may include coercion, threats, stalking, intimidation, isolation, degradation and control. It may also include physical and/or sexual violence2. This problem is evidenced globally, it occurs regardless of social group, class, age, race, disability, sexuality and lifestyle3.
The effects of Intimate Partner Violence on its victims are profound. It can cause lasting damage to the victim’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Physical injuries are common and include cuts and bruises, broken bones, lost teeth, internal injuries, gynaecological problems and miscarriages. Psychological and psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide attempts are higher amongst those who have experienced Intimate Partner Violence compared to those who have not3.
Pregnancy is a time of extreme vulnerability and often of increased Intimate Partner Violence. 30% of all Intimate Partner Violence starts during pregnancy and existing violence often escalates during it. Domestic Violence is linked with increases in the rates of miscarriage, low birth weight, foetal injuries and foetal death4. Mothers who experience violence in the home can become depressed, distracted and emotionally drained, thus reduced in their ability to be emotionally available and attentive and sensitive to their children’s needs5. Children and young people who live with domestic violence and abuse are at elevated risk for the development of mental health difficulties6.
Counselling and psychotherapy can help!
Please visit the following links for more information on Intimate Partner Violence.
1: Breiding, M. J., Basile, K. C., Smith, S. G., Black, M. C., & Mahendra, R. R. (2015). Intimate partner violence surveillance: Uniform definitions and recommended data elements, Version 2.0. Atlanta: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2: Safe Ireland (2020). What is Domestic Abuse? Retrieved 16 December 2020, https://www.safeireland.ie/get-help/understanding-domestic-abuse/what-is-domestic-violence/
3: Dodd, L. W. (2009). Therapeutic groupwork with young children and mothers who have experienced domestic abuse. Educational Psychology in Practice, 25(1), 21–36.
4: Mezey, G. (1997). Domestic violence in pregnancy. In S. Bewley, J. Friend, & G. Mezey (Eds.), Violence against women. London: RCOG.
5: Holden, G.W., & Ritchie, K. (1991). Linking extreme marital discord, child rearing and child behaviour problems: Evidence from battered women. Child Development, 6, 311–327
6: Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, J., & Ridder, E. M. (2005). Partner violence and mental health outcomes in a New Zealand birth cohort. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(December), 1103–1119.