October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For over 40 years, NIJ has invested in research on violence against women, intimate partner violence, and interpersonal violence, including developing a clearer understanding the factors that lead to and prevent this violence.
This month, our research-based term is intimate partner violence. Historically called domestic violence, intimate partner violence describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former intimate partner or spouse. Types of intimate partner violence include physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, psychological/emotional violence, and stalking.
Violence by an intimate partner is linked to both immediate and long-term health, social, and economic consequences. Factors at all levels — individual, relationship, community, and societal — contribute to intimate partner violence. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples. Preventing intimate partner violence requires reaching a clear understanding of those factors, coordinating resources, and fostering and initiating change in individuals, families, and society
NIJ’s Term of the Month promotes research-based definitions of criminal justice terms.