Suicide and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Association

Intimate partner violence (IPV) and suicide are suspected to have a strong association. 

Please note: “association” does not signify a causal relationship.  Suicide in survivors of IPV may result from several risk factors. 

Intimate partner violence describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse (CDC).  Domestic violence is often used interchangeably with intimate partner violence.

Research in the past two decades has shown that…

In the U.S.,

  • 1 in 5 women in the U.S. who were victims of partner violence have tried or threatened to commit suicide(Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 2011)
  • 29% of all women in the United States who attempted suicide were battered (Family Violence Prevention Fund, 1995 study)
  • Suicide is 12 times as likely to have been attempted by a woman who has been abused than by one who has not (UNICEF, 2000)
  • Sexual assault survivors are 4x more likely to contemplate suicide (RAINN)

Globally,

  • Review of low- and middle-income countries found a strong association between violence against women and a high prevalence of suicidal thoughts and attempts (WHO, 2011)
  • UNICEF reports that a “close correlation between domestic violence and suicide has been established based on studies in the United States, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Peru, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka” (UNICEF, 2000)

While the research above is quite telling, some gaps in the research include, but are not limited to:

  • More research exists on IPV-related homicide than on IPV-related suicide in the US.
  • Of the research on suicide’s suspected association with IPV, few authors address suicide rates of male survivors of IPV

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article provides a review of some key research on IPV and suicide and is meant only for our readers’ reference.

Image Source: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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