Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse: The Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence Cases

  • Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse (IPSA) is an often overlooked aspect of domestic violence cases. Research with battered women reveals that IPSA ranging from verbal degradation to rape is a frequent aspect of domestic violence. Taking all risk factors into account, a batterer who subjects his partner to forced sex in addition to physical violence is twice as likely to kill her as a batterer who inflicts physical violence only.
  • IPSA victims require additional support and services to maintain personal safety and the safety of their children, and to recover from the trauma. Yet IPSA victims often face barriers to disclosing. Furthermore, advocates, law enforcement, attorneys, and judges to whom victims do disclose are frequently unprepared to respond effectively.
  • The justice system needs strategies that encourage victims to disclose intimate partner sexual abuse and resources for effective offender dispositions and management. NJEP offers both a free Web course and online curricula on the topic addressing:
    • The prevalence of IPSA in domestic violence cases
    • The importance of knowing about and understanding IPSA for risk assessment
    • Strategies to encourage victim disclosure
    • Recommendations for addressing IPSA in cases where domestic violence is the primary allegation.