Intimate partner violence

Last update: October 2022 | Next update: May 2023

Globally, around 1 in 5 adolescent girls have experienced recent intimate partner violence

The most common form of violence against women, intimate partner violence includes any physical, sexual or emotional abuse perpetrated by a current or former partner within the context of marriage, cohabitation or any other formal or informal union. Though both sexes can experience intimate partner violence, women and adolescent girls are at greater risk for many reasons, including gender norms that justify partner violence against women and girls as a form of punishment or as a normal and acceptable way to resolve conflict.

In nearly half of 67 countries with available data, more than 1 in 5 ever-married adolescent girls has experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a husband or partner within the past year. These include countries spanning regions from Asia to sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, indicating that adolescent girls everywhere are exposed to this form of violence. And yet, these data likely underestimate the extent of intimate partner violence experienced by adolescent girls since girls may not report violence due to shame or fear of retribution.

For more information about intimate partner violence, and to access the data, click here