What is domestic violence and how is it related to serious mental illness?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines domestic violence, otherwise known as intimate partner violence, as “physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.” People with SMI are far more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of domestic violence. Compared to the general population, individuals with SMI are at substantially increased risk of being victims of domestic and sexual violence, as well as to have more adverse health and mental health impact resulting from domestic abuse.

The CDC provides a range of tools for health care clinicians to screen for and help mitigate domestic violence:



Khalifeh, H, et al. Recent intimate partner violence among people with chronic mental illness: findings from a national cross-sectional survey. The British Journal of Psychiatry 207.3 (2015): 207-212.

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