1: Creating Safer Environments for Survivors

Housing-Based Approaches to Intimate Partner Violence

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Intimate partner violence (IPV), often used synonymously with the terms domestic violence or dating violence, is an extremely prevalent form of gender-based violence that occurs between romantic partners, spouses, or others living in the same home. IPV had been considered a public health crisis long before the COVID-19 pandemic began. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, about one in four women+ and one in ten men report having experienced IPV at some point during their life. While many statistics focus on survivors who are heterosexual cisgender women, LGBTQ+ people are equally vulnerable to IPV. Rates of IPV are higher among people of color compared to White people. Though a wide variety of behaviors can be understood as IPV, the CDC defines five types of IPV, including physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, stalking, and control of reproductive and sexual health.

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that COVID-19 will result in an increase of 15 million cases of IPV and a 20% increase in incidence of IPV globally. As violence is fundamentally about power and control, violent incidents often increase during times of crisis, when many experience a loss of control. Since the implementation of shelter-in-place orders that instruct residents to stay at home for non-essential purposes, as well as social distancing guidelines that discourage being in spaces where people may be in close contact with each other, rates of IPV appear to be increasing by many measures. Internet searches for assistance with IPV have surged, a growing number of people have been reaching out to domestic violence hotlines, and the media has drawn greater attention to domestic abuse killings reported around the globe.

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