Intimate Partner Violence


Intimate Partner Violence

IPV often referred to as Domestic Violence is defined by the World Health Organisation as:

"any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in that relationship."

This includes ex-partners from past relationships. Our focus within the CRE is on men’s use of violence against female partners although we are cognisant that men can be victims and IPV occurs in same-sex relationships.

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Other terms we use

Collective trauma[1] is the cultural and historical trauma that can impact individuals and communities across generations. Individual trauma is the experience of an event/condition in which the individual experiences, witnesses or learns about a threat to their life or psychic/bodily integrity (or that of a loved one) and their coping capacity/ability to integrate their emotional experience is overwhelmed.[2]

Despite exposure to such adversity, resilience is a dynamic process in which psychological, social, environmental and biological factors interact to enable an individual at any stage of life to develop, maintain or regain their mental health.[3]

[1] Atkinson J. Trauma trails, recreating song lines: the transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia. North Melbourne: Spinifex Press; 2002.

[2] Humphreys C, Jacobs S. Domestic Violence and the Politics of Trauma. Wom Stud Int Forum. 2004;27(5-6):559-70.

[3] Wathen C, MacGregor J, Hammerton J, et al. Priorities for research in child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and resilience to violence exposures: results of an international Delphi consensus development process. BMC Pub Health. 2012;12(684).



Why focus on Intimate Partner Violence?

Global, national and state policies state the urgent need to address intimate partner violence (IPV).

This ’wicked problem’[1] demands an inter-sectoral approach, underpinned by a strong universal health system capacity to identify and tailor responses to the specific circumstances of affected families.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified the crucial role of an effective health system in reducing the extensive damage from IPV especially for children.[2] [3] [4] The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their children 2012-22 also prioritises an ‘enhanced service response’ to reduce the significant emotional, public and economic costs.


[1] Hegarty K, Glasziou P. Tackling domestic violence: is increasing referral enough? The Lancet. 2011;378(9805):1788-95.

[2] World Health Organization. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, 2013.

[3] World Health Organization. Responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women: WHO clinical and policy guidelines. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2013.

[4] Garcia-Moreno C, Hegarty K, d'Oliveira A, et al. The health systems response to violence against women. The Lancet. 2014;385(9977):1567–79.

Use of the term ‘Family Violence’

Violence occurring between any family members, such as between siblings or across generations, in addition to IPV is referred to as Family Violence.

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities' preference for this term as it more accurately reflects extended kinship ties and we agree that the impact of violence affects all members of a family.

Our focus within the CRE is on women, men, children and young people in families where IPV occurs, as the level of evidence is greater than for other relationships. We acknowledge the diversity of Australian families, and intend to be inclusive of a variety of kinship structures, including single-parent families, same-sex families, and extended family/carers.