intimate partner violence


General definition

A pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviours, including physical, sexual and psychological acts, as well as economic coercion, which adults or adolescents may use against their intimate partners without their consent. The resulting feelings of shame, fear and helplessness lead to low levels of reporting and, subsequently, relatively few convictions.

The largest burden of intimate partner violence is inflicted by men against their women partners.

Statistical definition

Any act of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occurs between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim.

The purpose of a separate statistical definition is to aid the EU Member States in collecting comparable administrative data on violence against women.

Propose an update


General definition

(1) UN Women Training Centre Glossary. Available at:; (2) Council of Europe (2011). Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and its Explanatory Report.

Statistical definition

European Institute for Gender Equality (2017). Glossary of definitions of rape, femicide and intimate partner violence. See a list of Member State definitions here.