What is Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Violence and How Can it Be Prevented? Top 20 Questions Answered

Domestic violence or intimate partner violence involves verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and economic abuse. Watch the video below to find out how you can be restored and find true life!


In this article we will be discussing the top 20 questionsI hope you find this information helpful and that you will not hesitate to reach out for help.

  1. What is the difference between abuse and violence?
  2. How common is intimate partner violence?
  3. What constitutes verbal abuse?
  4. What about physical abuse or acts of violence?
  5. What is emotional abuse?
  6. What is sexual abuse?
  7. What is economic abuse?
  8. What is stalking?
  9. Are men and women equally victims of abuse?
  10. Who is at greatest risk for intimate partner violence?
  11. What are some IPV statistics?
  12. What are some consequences of intimate partner violence?
  13. What are some risk factors for becoming an abusive person?
  14. What mental health issues can create an abusive personality?
  15. What is the three stage cycle of abuse?
  16. How do people react to abuse?
  17. How does abuse effect a victim emotionally?
  18. What is the cause of Intimate Partner Violence?
  19. How can you prevent abuse?
  20. How can you help someone who is caught in an abusive relationship?

1. What is the difference between abuse and violence?

Abuse means “to mistreat, hurt or injure” while violence includes an escalation of abuse meant to” instill fear or to wrong” someone (Hunt 2013, p.9) The definition has recently been extended to add stalking. Individuals may be married, dating or living with each other. They may have recently separated or divorced. 

2. How common is intimate partner violence?

95% of all victims are women (Niolon et al., 2017 p. 9) Intimate partner violence is very common. Data from a US Survey showed 23% of adult women and 14% of men have experienced severe physical violence from a partner in their lifetime and 47% of women and men have experienced psychological aggression (Niolon et al., 2017 p.7).

3. What constitutes verbal abuse?

Verbal abuse includes:

  •  badgering 
  • belittling
  • blaming
  • demoralizing
  • insulting
  • threatening

(Hunt,2013 p.13). 

4. What about physical abuse or acts of violence?

Physical abuse or acts of violence may include: 

  • pushing
  • slapping
  • kicking
  • binding or locking up
  • biting
  • pinning down
  • punching
  • pulling hair
  • throwing or breaking items,
  • harming pets
  • using weapons
  • harming or killing children

5. What is emotional abuse?

Emotional or psychological abuse may involve:

  •  avoiding
  • brooding
  • denying request to leave
  • not coming home
  • rejecting need for emotional support
  • withholding affection
  •  isolation
  • not helping with children
  • humiliation
  • jealousy
  • blame
  •  intimidation
  • breaking promises
  • driving reckless to instill fear
  • breaking favorite items
  • threatening with weapons

6. What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse includes:

  •  forcing sex
  • forced sexual touching,
  • adultery
  • hurting victim during sex
  •  sodomy
  • forcing partner to have sex with other people
  •  knowingly exposing partner to a sexually transmitted disease

 (Domestic Violence Information, 2018 p.1)

7. What is economic abuse?

Economic abuse involves:

  •  controlling access to money
  • food
  • transportation
  • phone or computer
  •  forbidding the victim to work or refuse to work themselves. 

8. What is stalking?

Stalking includes:

  •  the abuser making multiple unwanted calls or texts
  • leaving cards and flowers
  • following and watching victim from a distance
  • entering victims’ home or damaging victims’ property

(Domestic Violence Information, 2018 p.2)

9. Are men and women equally victims of abuse?

1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 10 men have been  victims of domestic violence. Victims come from all backgrounds- rich and poor, young and old, educated and not.

10. Who is at greatest risk for intimate partner violence?

Violence is more common in:

  • adolescence and young adulthood
  • low education level
  • unemployed
  • low income
  • homes with history of abuse and neglect

 (Niolon 2019, p.8).

11. What are some IPV statistics?

Women who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV)are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide. IPV is more common in multi-racial persons and American Indians. IPV is also more common in bisexual and homosexual persons. In a 2015 survey, National Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence in the United States, 10% of boys and 20% of girls reported experiencing physical or sexual abuse while dating in the last year. 60% of teens ages 12 to 18 also reported emotional IPV (Kistin 2019, p.1) This is a serious problem in all age groups and starts early.

12. What are some consequences of intimate partner violence?

There are many reported consequences of intimate partner violence. IPV leads to physical injuries, victims develop PTSD, anxiety and depression, they miss work or are unable to work. For women the lifetime cost was $103,767 and men it was $23,414. Victims also engage in high risk behavior like smoking, drinking and high- risk sexual behaviors. 1 in 6 murder victims are killed by an intimate partner (Niolon, p.9). The lifetime societal cost of intimate partner violence from medical costs, lost productivity, criminal justice and other costs may be as high as $3.6 trillion (Preventing Intimate Partner Violence 2019, p.2)

13. What are some risk factors for becoming an abusive person?

Risk factors for becoming a perpetrator of IPV include witnessing spousal abuse as a child. As many as 3 million children witness spousal abuse annually in the US. 

Other factors that increase risk are:

  •  young age
  •  low income
  •  low education,
  • unemployment,
  • history of child abuse
  • poor parenting at home. 

14. What mental health issues can create an abusive personality?

  • stress
  • anxiety 
  • antisocial personality.

Behavioral risk factors include: 

  • substance abuse
  • delinquency 
  • aggressive communication
  • history of peer violence. 

High risk relationships have:

  •  poor communication
  • hostility
  • recent separation
  • divorce 
  • break ups 

(Preventing Intimate Partner Violence 2019, p.8)

15. What is the three stage cycle of abuse?

June Hunt describes the three cycles of abuse:

  1. the agitated stage – In the agitated state the abuser often communicates he is unhappy over something and blames partner. He uses verbal, economic and emotional abuse to exert control causing fear and anxiety in partner.
  2. the acute stage – During the acute stage things erupt and violent behavior occurs. These episodes are brief but increase in intensity and frequency over time.
  3. the apologetic stage – .The apologetic stage follows and perpetrator acts sorry and often apologizes. They may act romantic, buy gifts, make promises or plead with victim. They often voice remorse and promise to “never do it again”. Then the cycle repeats.

(Hunt 2003, p. 131-132)

 16. How do people react to abuse?

Hunt also describes six common responses to abuse: 

  • “The Ostrich” denies, rationalizes and blames self
  • “The Martyr” suffers in silence
  • “The Puppet” disowns feelings
  • “The Merry Go Round” may have multiple abusive relationships
  • “The Boundary Builder” sets healthy boundaries
  • “The Departing Dove” leaves and gets counseling. 

(Hunt 2013, p.36)

17. How does abuse effect a victim emotionally?

 Victims are often emotionally depressed, they have low self- esteem, they feel powerless, and live with fear. The abuse leads to feelings of self- doubt, anxiety, guilt, and self-hate. This can lead to psychological signs of anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior, antisocial behavior or flashbacks. (Hunt 2013, p.34) 

Often the abused does not leave due to need to protect children, false belief about biblical submission, fears about leaving, blames herself for the abuse, thinks can’t make it financially and believes no one can help them. (Hunt 2013, p.32)

18. What is the cause of Intimate Partner Violence?

 Hunt describes the cause of Intimate Partner Violence as a learned behavior. It commonly stems from growing up in an abusive environment and not having conflict resolution skills. This sin pattern is called generational sin. 

Abusers grew up watching abuse, they experienced abuse, they view people as possessions, they do not value women, they feel they have right to control partner, they blame the victim for the abuse and have few coping skills. These false beliefs lead to the violent behavior and they think it is the way to retaliate because it has worked in the past and they have not suffered consequences. (Hunt 2013, p. 38-40) 

Gary Collins Ph.D. states environmental stressors; learned abuse from observing violence or being abused; personality influences like inability to handle anger, insecurity, impulsivity or low self-esteem; and cultural issues like violent television and pornography are all factors. (Collins 2007, p.404-405)

19. How can you prevent abuse?

Primary prevention includes:

  •  teaching safe and healthy relationship skills
  • treat at risk youth and families
  • create protective environments
  • strengthen financial security
  • treat and support survivor 

Secondary prevention includes:

  • confronting the abuser
  • reporting the abuse to police
  • directing victim to someone for counseling
  • protection in shelter or safe place.

(Niolon et al., 2017 p.3)

 In 2010 only 35% of rape or sexual assault was reported to police and 23% received help or advice from a victim service agency. (Weigel, 2013 p.2) Women who are college educated and have economic resources are more likely to leave violent marriages and have 10% greater probability of divorce. (Wihbey, 2015 p.3)

20. How can you help someone who is caught in an abusive relationship?

To counsel a man/woman who is in an abusive marriage I would start with being openly supportive and encourage her to talk about the situation and her feelings. I would encourage her to make a safety plan. 

Focus on making a safety plan including:

  •  a list of phone numbers you might need in an emergency
  • contact a trusted friend or family member
  • identify an escape route
  •  teach children to call 911 or how to escape and where to go in an emergency
  •  document physical evidence of abuse
  • collect important documents and papers

 I would place a strong focus on safety. (Hunt 2013, p.75-82) Abuse support groups or local domestic violence prevention organizations, a women’s shelter, local police or legal system may be needed if physical or sexual assault has occurred.

21. Emphasize God’s love and the gift of salvation

As client enters treatment stage I would start by reviewing the gift of salvation and emphasizing God’s love, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

Next I would work on replacing false beliefs with God’s truth. Starting with the first sin in the Garden of Eden and explaining its’ impact on the world. Clarifying any false beliefs about biblical submission. God want husbands to love their wives “just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians5:25) and “treat them with respect” (1Peter 3:7) 

Abuse is a sin against God. (Hunt 2013, p.56-66) Deal with any feelings of guilt or shame and address fear and anxiety. Help build healthy boundaries as she tries to rebuild relationships and help her follow through when boundaries are crossed. (Collins 2007, p.408-411)

 It is the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s death on the cross for our sin and the love of God that allows this healing. My life verse has been a constant reminder of this loving gift, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

Works Cited

Collins, Gary. Christian Counseling. Thomas Nelson, 2007.

Domestic Violence Information. Elsevier. (2017)

Hunt, June. Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Harvest House, 2008.

Hunt, June. Domestic Violence: Assault on a Woman’s Worth. Rose Publishing, 2013.

Kisten, et al. (2019, Apr) “Deadly Adolescent Intimate Partner Violence and the Need for                           Youth-Specific Strategies for Effective Intervention.” JAMAPediatrics  Accessed 13 Feb 2020.

Niolon, Phyllis. Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies and Practices. (2017) Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Preventing Intimate Partner Violence. (2019) Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention.

Wathen, C. Nadine and Harriet L MacMillan. “Intervention for Violence Against    Women.” JAMA 5 Feb 2003 p. 5889-600.

Weigel, Margaret (2013,Mar) “Female Victims of Sexual Violence 1994-2010.” Journalists Resource www.journalistsresource. Org/studies/government/criminal-justice/female-victims-sexual victims. Accessed 13 Feb 2020.

Wihbey, John. (2015, Aug) “Domestic Violence and Abusive Relationships: Research Review.” Journalists Resource


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