New Report Shows Impact of Intimate Partner Violence in Utah

(Salt Lake City, UT) – A new report from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) shows that intimate partner violence or IPV affected 18.1 percent of adult females and 10 percent of adult males in Utah in 2016. In addition, IPV is often linked to childhood trauma as well as a number of negative health outcomes later in life.

“Intimate partner violence is any violence that occurs between two people in a close relationship; it is not limited to physical violence alone. IPV can include sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression. It can be committed by current or former intimate partners, and can occur both in-person or electronically, via mobile devices and social media platforms,” said Megan Waters, spokesperson with the UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program.

Intimate partner violence is often linked to stressful or traumatic childhood experiences. Known as ACEs, adverse childhood experiences include sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, IPV in the home, substance misuse in the home, having someone living in the home with a mental illness, parental separation or divorce, or having an incarcerated household member. Each type of trauma that a person experiences before the age of 18 counts as one ACE. A higher number of ACEs correlates to a higher likelihood of experiencing or perpetrating IPV later in life. UDOH data showed that among adults who have ever experienced IPV, almost half (49.8%) reported four or more ACEs, compared with 13.3% of adults who have never experienced IPV. In addition, 40.3% of Utah adults who have never experienced IPV reported they also never experienced an ACE.

“Trauma during childhood is significantly linked to health issues later in life. Of course, there are the direct physical effects of IPV, such as bruises, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or tragically, death in some cases; but IPV has also been linked to asthma, cardiovascular disease, unintended pregnancy, and suicidal behavior.” said Waters.

Utahns who experienced IPV had a statistically higher prevalence of being a current every day smoker (13.3% vs. 3.9%) and binge drinking (19.7% vs. 10.9%) than those who did not experience IPV. IPV was also correlated with poorer health, missing more days of work, difficulty doing errands alone, and difficulty concentrating or remembering.

“The data is telling us that IPV is an issue impacting many facets of a person’s health. It’s critical that we work to prevent gender-based violence early on so that people can lead healthier and safer lives,” said Waters.

Other findings from the UDOH report showed:

  • IPV disproportionately affects low-income households, females, and adults who were divorced, separated, or unemployed.
  • Among Utahns who experienced IPV, 26.1% of those aged 18-34 experienced IPV in the past 12 months, compared with 10.1% of adults aged 35-49, and 3.9% of adults aged 50 and older.
  • Less than 15% of Utahns who experienced IPV reached out for help. The most commonly reported reasons for not seeking help include believing the abuse will stop, believing the person who physically hurt them will find out that they disclosed the abuse, not wanting help, or believing their children would be taken away from them.

If you or someone you know has experienced IPV, help is available by calling the Utah Domestic Violence Link Line at 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or the Utah Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 1-888-421-1100.

For more information about IPV in Utah, visit


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Katie McMinn
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