Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA)

Elder Abuse
April 23, 2024
April 23, 2024
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Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA)


Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA) is domestic violence by a former or current partner in a close relationship against the other partner. IPA can take various forms such as physical, sexual abuse, economic, verbal, threats, emotional or a mixture of the prior [2]. According to the World Health Organization any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship is termed as intimate partner abuse [1].

Intimate partner abuse occurs between two people in an intimate relationship; this means that it can be heterosexual or homosexual couples. The victims could either be male or female; the couple could either be cohabiting, dating or married and violence can happen within or outside the home. Studies have shown however that men are less likely to experience domestic violence from their female counterparts [1].

The most extreme forms of this violence may be referred to as intimate terrorism, coercive control in which case one partner is controlling. It is mostly perpetrated by men against their female partners, and most likely requires medical services and need for a women’s shelter. Subsequently, resistance to intimate terrorism, a form of self-defense is referred to as violent resistance and is mostly conducted by women [3].

Situational couple violence is the least common and less harmful form of this violence. It is conducted by individuals from either gender equally and mostly occurs among young couples including adolescents. Situations where both partners indulge in controlling and violent behavior are referred to as mutual violent control [3].



Significance to nursing

Intimate partner abuse affects individuals from all ages, races, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds. [6]. IPA is, however, more common in women than men. 3 out of 10 women have been affected by some form of IPA.  According to the study, IPA affects over five million women in a year [5]. These alarming numbers have in turn made IPA a significant concern among healthcare professionals. Women’s health risks are likely to increase the longer they are exposed to abuse, and this may include HIV, substance abuse, mental health issues, physical injuries and even death [6].

The previous study has shown that IPA tends to increase in frequency and severity and thus lack of appropriate response from healthcare professionals may result in continued mortality for women [2]. The responsibility, therefore, lies in the hands of healthcare professionals to identify signs and symptoms of intimate partner abuse. Nurses are more likely to interact with women experiencing IPA more than any other healthcare professional. That is why it is essential they participate jointly in matters regarding IPA. Nurses should, therefore, be equipped with appropriate knowledge and skills to handle cases of IPA [4]. IPA has become a significant world health concern and needs to be addressed adequately. A recent report on WHO showed that public health approaches to violence could create a significant difference [1].


Picot questions

  1. What is the abuse level awareness for women aged between 20 to 60 years who are victims of intimate partner abuse when evaluated over 1 year?
  2. What are the coping strategies for victims of intimate partner abuse between ages 20 to 60 years in one year?
  3. How much has equipping nurses with the appropriate knowledge and authority reduced intimate partner abuse in women in the past year?





  1. WHO-World Health Organization, Multi Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women. Summary Report: Initial Results on Prevalence, Health Outcomes and Women’s Responses, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, 2006
  2. C. Campbell, “Health consequences of intimate partner violence,” The Lancet, vol. 359, no. 9314, pp. 1331–1336, 2002
  3. K. Hamberger and M. B. Phelan, “Domestic violence screening in medical and mental health care settings: overcoming barriers to screening, identifying, and helping partner violence victims,” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, vol. 13.
  4. Du Plat-Jones, “Domestic violence: the role of health professionals,” Nursing Standard, vol. 21.
  5. Violence Against Women: Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence. (2011, May 18). Office on Women’s Health. United States Department of Health and Human Services.
  6. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United Staes (22003). National Centre for Injury and Control. Atlanta (GA): Center for Disease Control and Prevention.