What is intimate partner violence?

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a pattern of coercive behaviors that includes one or more of the following: physical abuse or the threat of physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, deprivation, intimidation, and/or economic coercion. IPV is perpetrated against current or former intimate partners with whom the perpetrator dated, engaged in a chiefly sexual relationship, married or cohabited.

Adults and adolescents can perpetrate IPV or be survivors of IPV.

Learn about some of the myths and truths about Intimate Partner Violence among LGBTQ individuals on our Myths page.

Different Kinds of Abuse Can Happen in Relationships
Abuse can include physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse, as well as threats, intimidation, and isolation. For LGBTQ people in relationships, an abusing partner may also use the weapons of heterosexism and homophobia and threaten to “out” an abused partner in situation where the abused is not out.

Click here to learn more about partner violence.



Because of the lack of awareness surrounding LGBTQ partner violence there are many myths and misconceptions about what constitutes unhealthy and abusive relationships. For Example:

  MYTH
  • Violence between LGBTQ partners is just “mutual combat” or a “lover’s quarrel.” It’s a fair fight between equals.
  FACT
  • Partner abuse/domestic violence involves one partner who is exerting power and control over another. It can include coercion, intimidation, physical and sexual violence. Labelling violence as “mutual” or as a “Lover’s quarrel” only minimizes and denies the severity of the abuse in a relationship which can often lead to death.
  • While LGBTQ survivors may be more likely to fight back in self-defense due to perceived equality, abuse in a relationship is not “mutual.”
Click here to debunk more myths surrounding LGBTQ intimate partner violence.