Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Domestic Violence (DV) are terms you’ve probably heard often. They are both used to describe forms of violence and abuse that occur within relationships. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there can be slight differences in their scope and focus.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Intimate Partner Violence refers to any form of violence or abuse that occurs between individuals in an intimate relationship. It includes acts of physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological harm inflicted by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, dating partner, or cohabiting partner. IPV recognises the importance of the relationship context and emphasizes violence within intimate partnerships, regardless of marital status or legal recognition.
Domestic Violence is a broader term that encompasses a range of abusive behaviours occurring within the context of a domestic or family relationship. It includes violence or abuse between family members, household members, or individuals living together. Domestic violence can involve intimate partners, as well as other familial connections such as parents and children, siblings, extended family members, or individuals in a shared living arrangement.
Differences between Intimate Partner Violence and Domestic Violence
The key distinction between IPV and Domestic Violence lies in their scope
On the one hand, Intimate Partner Violence focuses specifically on violence within intimate partnerships, regardless of legal status or marital ties. On the other hand, Domestic Violence encompasses violence within various family and domestic relationships, extending beyond intimate partners to include other familial connections.
It is important to note that both terms refer to forms of violence and abuse that occur within relationships and can have devastating physical, psychological, and emotional effects on the victims. Both IPV and Domestic Violence are serious issues that require attention, prevention efforts, and support for survivors.
Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence and Domestic Violence
While both forms of violence are significant issues in Nigeria and affect people from different socioeconomic, educational, and cultural backgrounds, data collection efforts often focus on intimate partner violence. According to a national survey conducted by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other partners in 2018, the following points were found:
31.5% of ever-married or partnered women aged 15-49 have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their current or former partner.
6.5% of ever-married or partnered men aged 15-49 have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their current or former partner.
Factors Contributing to Intimate Partner Violence and Domestic Violence
Socioeconomic Factors: Poverty, unemployment, and economic stress can exacerbate tension and increase the likelihood of violence within relationships and in households.
Cultural Beliefs: Traditional practices, beliefs that condone violence, and social acceptance of violence can normalise abusive behaviours.
Weak Legal and Justice Systems: Limited enforcement of existing laws and weak institutional response can impede survivors’ access to justice and protection.
Impact on Survivors
Survivors of both forms of violence often suffer severe physical, psychological, and emotional consequences, including:
- Physical injuries and health complications.
- Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues.
- Social isolation, loss of self-esteem, and disruption of support networks.
- Financial dependence and economic instability.
- Adverse effects on children and other family members witnessing violence, lead to long-term emotional and developmental issues.
How to Address both issues
- Raising awareness about the issue and challenging cultural norms that perpetuate violence.
- Strengthening legal frameworks, enforcement, and protection mechanisms for survivors.
- Providing accessible support services, including shelters, therapy, and legal assistance.
- Empowering survivors to speak out, promoting gender equality, and fostering community engagement.
- Enhancing the capacity of healthcare providers, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders to respond effectively to IPV cases.
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