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Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program

The VA Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) is committed to helping Veterans, their partners, and also VA staff who are impacted by Intimate Partner Violence. If you or someone you know could be experiencing and/or using IPV – help is available.

What is Intimate Partner Violence? 

Intimate partner violence occurs when a current or former intimate partner (for example, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse) harms, threatens to harm, or stalks their partner/former partner.

Some people experience only one form of violence, while others may experience more than one. IPV can be a single event or can last for many years. No matter what, no one deserves to be treated this way. Everyone deserves to feel safe.

Emotional IPV

Emotional IPV is when a person tries to hurt their partner emotionally and mentally. It is common for emotional IPV to begin before other types of IPV.

Examples include:

  • Name calling, putting you down.
  • Controlling your money or spending.
  • Keeping you from friends and family.
  • Bullying, stalking.
  • Controlling where you go or what you wear.

Physical IPV

Physical IPV is when a person tries to hurt their partner by using physical force.

Examples include:

  • Hitting 
  • Slapping
  • Choking
  • Biting
  • Shoving
  • Kicking
  • Restraining 
  • Hair-pulling

Sexual IPV

Sexual IPV is when a person forces or tries to convince their partner to engage in sexual activities when the other partner does not want to, or is unable to consent (for example, when someone is impacted by alcohol or drugs). 

Threats of violence

Threats of violence are ways to cause fear through words, actions, or weapons to harm the partner, their possessions, their pets, or their loved ones.

What Are the Effects of IPV

Mental heath

  • Sadness
  • Feeling “on edge”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Being stressed out
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Feelings of shame or guilt
  • Blaming yourself for what happened

Physical health

  • Pain
  • Headaches
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Stomach problems
  • Bruises/cuts
  • Broken bones
  • Fatal injuries
  • Female health problems

Social health

  • Avoiding new relationships
  • Feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in relationships
  • Money problems
  • Difficulties trusting people
  • Pulling away or isolating from friends and family
  • Homelessness
  • Job issues

Many People Within VA Can Help You Get Services

  • Contact our Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) Coordinator, Freda Johnson, DHA, LCSW-S, at .
  • VA employees who are impacted by IPV can contact their Employee Assistance Program.
  • VA can provide community referrals for things such as legal advice, shelters, and support groups.
  • Talk to your primary care provider and they can refer you to a mental health specialist such as a social worker or psychologist.

Human Trafficking

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Social Work Program Office recognizes that human trafficking can happen to anyone, including Veterans, their families, and caregivers.

What is Human Trafficking?

Labor Trafficking

The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Sex Trafficking

The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.

Human Trafficking Pilot Coordinator

Melissa Jackson, LCSW
Human Trafficking Pilot Coordinator

Additional Resources

The Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) invites Veterans, caregivers, employees, and the community to learn about IPVAP and other VA programs that intersect with Intimate Partner Violence.