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Intimate partner violence (IPV)/family violence

Violence carried out by persons within a close relationship – also known as “domestic violence”. This might be psychological, physical, economic or sexualised violence.

Using the term “domestic” (from the Latin for house, ‘domus’) suggests this violence occurs within a household. So medica mondiale prefers to refer to violence within a family, violence within partnerships, or violence within close social relationships.

After all, the most important aspect in this form of violence is not the place it occurs, but the fact that the perpetrators are within the same family or close social circles. The Istanbul Convention defines ‘domestic violence’ as: “all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family or domestic unit or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim” (Article 3).

Violence within intimate social relationships is an internationally recognised violation of human rights. The aim of this violence is to exercise control and power. In the majority of cases of partner violence, those carrying out the violence are male, and those affected are female (and frequently their children). In cases of sexualised violence, those affected by the violence are almost exclusively women.