Department of Health shows debilitating effects of intimate partner violence in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) released a new report that shows the impact that intimate partner violence (IPV) has on individuals in the state.

According to the study, 18.1 percent of adult females and 10 percent of adult males were affected by IPV in 2016. The study also showed that IPV is often linked to childhood trauma, and negative health outcomes later on 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,” said Megan Waters, a spokesperson with the UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program. “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.”

The study reported that almost half (49.8 percent) of people experiencing intimate partner domestic violence reported having four or more traumatic experiences, ranging from sexual to physical abuse, in their past. UDOH stated that the higher number of traumatic events a person experiences before the age of 18, the more likely they are to perpetrate or experience IPV later in life.

UDOH reported that those who experience IPV are statistically more likely to be a current daily smoker (13.3 percent vs 3.9 percent), or a binge drinker (19.7 percent vs 10.9 percent) than those who do not experience IPV.

IPV in Utah was also linked to poor health, missing more days at work, difficulty doing errands alone, and difficulty concentrating or remembering.

“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 percent of those aged 18-34 experienced IPV in the past 12 months, compared with 10.1 percent of adults aged 35-49, and 3.9 percent of adults aged 50 and older.
  • Less than 15 percent 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 www.health.utah.gov/vipp.