Knowing the cycle of abuse, the types of abuse, and associated characteristics are important for anyone to know in order to enhance awareness and help those who might find themselves in an abusive relationship. It is important to identify common risks associated with intimate partner violence and those who perpetrate violence. While it may be hard to fully prevent engaging in a relationship that can turn into intimate partner violence here are some ways to identify possible signs.

Intimate partner violence

Intimate Partner Violence risk factors include:

  • Exposure to violence during childhood
  • Abuse or neglect in childhood
  • Unemployment status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Adhering to strict gender roles
  • Age (youth are most at risk)

Statistics show that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced behaviors associated with physical violence from an intimate partner at least once. These statistics about physical forms of violence are alarming, however, it is important to remember that physical violence isn’t the only type of abuse experienced that counts as abuse. With prevalence being high, intimate partner violence is a public health issue that affects individuals, families, and society at large.

Perpetrator risk factors include:

  • Experiences stress, anxiety, or antisocial personality traits
  • Engaging in other forms of violence (i.e. peer violence and bullying)
  • History of substance abuse
  • Hostility or conflict in prior relationships
  • Prior history of perpetration or victimization in IPV

Above are some characteristics perpetrators may embody and/or experience, however, this list is not all-encompassing and it’s best to know the signs and characteristics in order to discern if you are in an abusive relationship. Along with risk factors, there are also additional factors that can be put in place to help prevent instances of IPV from happening on an individual, community, organizational and societal level.

Protective factors include:

  • Education on safe and healthy relationship skills
  • Financial security within the home
  • Enhancing safety in school environments
  • Employer programs that help balance work and family life
  • Prevention, screening, and educational programs
  • Support services for survivors

Intimate partner violence is preventable through knowledge, support programs, and developing healthy coping skills within individuals and systems. The physical, mental, and emotional impact is devastating for survivors and can result in death if left undetected, which is why it’s important to bring awareness to this issue. If you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse there are resources out there for you including: Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800)799-7233 (SAFE), Emergency Services (911), and/or contacting a therapist in your area.

At Heartland Therapy Connection here in Kansas City, we provide support and care to survivors of intimate partner violence, and can help process the lingering effects of abuse and trauma through evidence based treatment modalities. We know it can be difficult and scary taking that first step in reaching out for help. Contact us at 816-287-0252 if you would like to set up an appointment today with a qualified professional at our practice.


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