Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse: The Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence

Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse:  The Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence

Originally presented January 31, 2013


Legal Momentum’s National Judicial Education Program's webinar, Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse: The Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence is based on its extensive web course on this issue.  Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse (IPSA) as an aspect of domestic violence cases is little discussed.  Research with battered women reveals that IPSA ranging from verbal degradation to rape is a frequent aspect of domestic violence, with significant implications for advocates, law enforcement, batterer intervention programs, and the courts, particularly with respect to risk assessment.  Taking all risk factors into account, a batterer who subjects his partner to forced sex in addition to physical violence is twice as likely to kill her as a batterer who inflicts physical violence only.

IPSA victims require additional support and services to maintain personal safety and the safety of their children, and to recover from the trauma. Yet all too often IPSA victims face barriers to disclosing, and advocates, law enforcement, attorneys, and judges to whom victims do disclose are not prepared to respond to this information.

Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse: The Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence addresses the prevalence of IPSA in domestic violence cases, the importance of knowing about and understanding IPSA for risk assessment, strategies to encourage victim disclosure, and recommendations for addressing IPSA in cases where domestic violence is the primary allegation.

This webinar is based on the National Judicial Education Program’s extensive web course, Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse: Adjudicating This Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence Cases.  Funded by the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women and the State Justice Institute, this web course is available to all free at For a flyer describing the web course click here.

Presenter:  Lynn Hecht Schafran—Director of the National Judicial Education Program (NJEP) at Legal Momentum, and co-author of NJEP’s Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse web course. 



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