Interpersonal Violence (IPV)

Arguments and disagreements are a natural part of being in relationships.  While you may care for and love each other, there are times where you will annoy, frustrate, and even unintentionally hurt each other with your word and actions.  By engaging in active listening and open, honest communication, these arguments are often resolved and can strengthen relationships over time.

There are certain behaviors in relationships that can go from a “natural” form of arguing to controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior.  These behaviors are referred to as interpersonal violence (IPV) and include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination of these.  It does not matter how long you have been in the relationship.  Whether two weeks or two years, violence can and does still occur.  Below are warning signs that you or someone you know may be the victim of interpersonal violence:

  1. Unreasonable jealousy
  2. Isolating you from friends and family
  3. Accusations of cheating and/or constant calling/texting when you are not with them
  4. Humiliating or embarrassing you
  5. Refusing to communicate
  6. Ignoring or excluding you
  7. Offering ultimatums, e.g. "If you don't _____, I will_____"
  8. Withdrawal of affection
  9. Guilt trips and/or making everything your fault
  10. Threatening to commit suicide or harm others if you leave


IPV includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence that occurs between individuals who are/have been involved in a romantic or intimate relationship, is a spouse or partner, family member, or cohabitatant/household member including roommate(s).  IPV can occur between heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.  IPV encompasses sexual assault, stalking, and physical assault.

IPV occurs when one person uses power and control over another through physical, sexual, or emotional threats or actions, economic control, isolation, or other kinds of coercive behavior. Some different types of interpersonal violence include:

  • Physical (e.g. hitting, pushing)
  • Emotional (e.g. extreme jealousy, isolation)
  • Verbal (e.g. yelling, swearing, name-calling)
  • Financial (e.g. withholding money so one partner is dependent on the other)
  • Psychological (e.g. threats of suicide and/or homicide, stalking)
  • Sexual (e.g. any act of sex where consent was not obtained)


It is important to remember that it is never the survivor’s fault for being abused.  No one EVER deserves to experience violence or abuse, no matter the circumstances.   Often, it is difficult for those outside the relationship to understand why a survivor may have difficulty leaving the relationship.  Some reasons that survivors may remain in the relationship are:

  • fear
  • lack of outside resources (e.g., financial, housing, family)
  • love
  • hope or belief that the violence will end
  • religious beliefs
  • cultural identities

UConn Policy

On January 25, 2012, the University’s Board of Trustees approved the Sexual Assault Response Policy and the UConn Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Policy. We encourage all students, staff, and faculty to review these policies.

It is vital to emphasize: Confidential reporting is available through Student Health and Wellness - Mental Health and Medical Care as outlined in the policy which means that victims who report sexual assault to a clinical staff member of SHaW can do so without concern that the information will be reported outside of SHaW without the victim’s prior written authorization.

Confidential Reporting Options:

A victim who wishes to discuss the assault confidentially may contact a designated Sexual Assault Counselor, including, for Storrs campus students, the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Eastern Connecticut (24-hour hotline: 860-456-2789), and the Hartford Region Sexual Assault Crisis Program (24 Hour Hotline: (860) 522-6666) (Statewide list included in Attachment B of the official policy statement).

Confidential reporting is also available within Student Health and Wellness - Mental Health and Medical Care.

The law extends to a limited number of University employees the privilege to offer confidentiality to the victim and not to disclose communications with the victim. Typically, these are clinical employees who work within Student Health and Wellness within the Division of Student Affairs or the UConn Health Center and include: (1) licensed marital and family therapists; (2) licensed social workers; (3) licensed professional counselors; (4) licensed psychologists; (5) psychiatrists licensed as physicians and substantially acting as psychiatrists; and (6) physicians and other medical professionals acting within a medical professional/patient relationship, including those recognized by the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).[iv]

Campus Resources

Local & National Resources