What is Intimate Partner Violence?

You may know it as ‘domestic violence’. In a broad sense, it is harm caused by an intimate partner, which takes many forms but is often the result of an attempt to gain or assert power and control over a partner. Victims and offenders can be of any gender but 79% of IPV victims are women with higher rates for Indigenous peoples, the disabled, and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The disabled may face additional barriers leaving due to an increased likelihood of financial or physical dependence on an intimate partner.

IPV is characterized by coercive control, a pattern of behaviour which seeks to take a person’s freedom and to strip away their sense of self. The perpetrator of violence creates a world in which the victim is constantly monitored and criticized; Their every move is checked against an unpredictable, ever-changing, unknowable ‘rule book’. It works to limit human rights by depriving individuals of their liberty and slowly limiting their ability of action.

Coercive control

Coercive control is a strategic form of ongoing oppression and terrorism used to in-still fear. The offending partner will use tactics, such as limiting access to money or monitoring all communication, as a controlling effort.

Economic Abuse

Stopping the individual from getting a job, taking their money, making them ask for money, harassing them at work, making them justify their spending.


Controlling what they do, who they see and talk to, where they go, cutting them off from their friends and family.

Physical Abuse

Any physical act intended to hurt or intimidate the individual. Including slapping, punching, kicking, shoving, locking out of home, abandoning in an unsafe place.

Sexual Abuse

Making the individual do sexual acts against their will, inappropriate touching, child molesting, attacking the sexual parts of their body.


Causing fear through use of facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, smashing things, destroying property, stalking, harassing.

Emotional Abuse

Putting the individual down, making them feel bad, name calling, mind games. Jealousy, making them doubt themselves.

Using Children

Making the individual feel guilty about the children, sending messages through the children, using visitation to harass the individual, telling them that they are a bad parent.


Threatening to take children, commit suicide or homicide, report them to welfare, hurt their pets or loved ones.