There are four main types of intimate partner violence:
Physical violence is the intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing death, disability, injury, or harm. Physical violence includes, but is not limited to:
- Use of a weapon
- Use of restraints or one's body, size, or strength against another person.
Sexual violence is divided into three categories:
Use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act against his or her will, whether or not the act is completed;
Attempted or completed sex act involving a person who is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, to decline participation, or to communicate unwillingness to engage in the sexual act, e.g., because of illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or because of intimidation or pressure; and abusive sexual contact.
Threats of physical or sexual violence use words, gestures, or weapons to communicate the intent to cause death, disability, injury, or physical harm.
Psychological/emotional violence involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Psychological/emotional abuse can include, but is not limited to:
- Humiliating the victim
- Controlling what the victim can and cannot do
- Withholding information from the victim
- Deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed
- Isolating the victim from friends and family
- Denying the victim access to money or other basic resources.
It is considered psychological/emotional violence when there has been prior physical or sexual violence or prior threat of physical or sexual violence.
In addition, stalking is often included among the types of IPV. Stalking generally refers to "harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person's home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person's property."