Key Point

Three in 10 women and 2 in 10 men in both Iowa and Nebraska have experienced some form of intimate partner violence.

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This includes physical, sexual, or psychological harm at the hand of a partner or spouse.

Thirty-nine percent of women and 26% of men in the state of Nebraska are estimated to experience some type of intimate partner violence (physical, emotional, or sexual) in their lifetime. In Iowa, it's estimated at 33% for women and 20% for men.

This type of violence can start well before becoming an adult. A 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Douglas County found that 12% of high school students (16% female and 6% male) had experienced some form of physical violence with someone they were dating. It also found that 13% of high school students (18% female and 6% male) had experienced some type of sexual violence with someone they were dating.

Intimate partner violence is committed by a current or former partner or spouse. Tactics for power and control include coercion, intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, using children, economic abuse (limiting access to bank accounts or only allowing the partner to have an allowance and not access to their own account), physical abuse, or sexual abuse.

Why Does It Matter?

It’s a crime that is typically committed in isolation and often goes unreported.

Intimate partner violence often happens behind closed doors, but affects entire families and social networks, including friends of victims and employers. When intimate partner violence is occurring where children are living, children often become victims themselves or live in constant fear or worry that their parent may experience some type of violence. Friends and family members who see what is happening with their loved one may feel frustration or worry, or may even attempt to intervene and cause potential harm to themselves.

Often a person experiencing any type of physical or emotional violence in their relationship may become isolated from family or friends, further limiting their ability to connect or reach out for help. If someone is experiencing intimate partner violence they may more frequently use paid leave time because of an incident of violence at home. Intimate partner violence affects people regardless of their background or income.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that those who experience intimate partner violence lose an estimated 8 million paid work days each year and costs an estimated $8.3 billion per year. The ripple effect continues into the criminal justice system and health care systems, which provide intervention and treatment to those impacted by violence.

How Do We Compare?

Based on what is reported, we are consistent with the national average. But more local information is important.

Nationally, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some type of intimate partner violence, which is similar to what we see locally.

It is important to understand both reported and unreported (not reported to any law enforcement, court, hospital) occurrences of intimate partner violence. We have local data on occurrences of reported violence to law enforcement or other agencies. However, we do not yet have a clear understanding of unreported partner violence on a local level. The prevalence of both reported and unreported occurrences are available at the state level, but we need better local information.

Data Source: CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, Duluth Power and Control Wheel, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 2014 Douglas County Youth Risk Behavior Survey

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