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Intimate Partner Violence Assistance

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.

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 in one or more of the following ways: 

  • 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.

Some people may experience only one of these forms 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

What Are the Effects of IPV?

Mental Health

  • 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

VA Can Help You Get Services

Contact our Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) Coordinator, Sarah Martin, LCSW, 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.

October is National Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness Month

The VA cares about Veterans affected by Domestic Violence (DV) and IPV and recognizes that DV and IPV is a serious yet, preventable public health problem that may disproportionately affect Veterans. To help address the impact IPV has on Veterans, family members, and VA employees the IPVAP recommends and promotes the importance of reviewing intimate partner relationships for health and safety.


Sarah Martin, LCSW
Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) 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.