Exploring the Definitions of Interpersonal Violence
Written by GKCCEH
Published October 9, 2023

Interpersonal violence is a pressing concern that affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds. It encompasses various forms of violence that occur within relationships or connections between people. To gain a comprehensive understanding, let’s explore the definitions of interpersonal violence using the following sources:

Definitions from top universities

According to Eastern Illinois University’s Sexual Assault Resources and Prevention webpage (source), Texas A&M’s Division of Student Affairs (source), and the University of South Carolina (source), the key details regarding the definitions of interpersonal violence are as follows:

  1. Acquaintance Sexual Assault: Acquaintance sexual assault, often referred to as date rape, occurs when a survivor is sexually assaulted by someone they know. This type of assault challenges the stereotype that sexual assault is mainly committed by strangers. Research indicates that over 80% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by individuals known to the survivor.
  2. Interpersonal Violence: Interpersonal violence refers to a broad range of violent behaviors, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Domestic violence typically occurs within relationships that involve family, intimates, or shared living situations. On the other hand, dating violence pertains to acts of violence within social relationships of a romantic or intimate nature. Stalking involves repeated actions or behaviors directed at a specific person that cause fear, safety concerns, and substantial emotional distress.
  3. Domestic Violence: Domestic violence refers to violent acts committed within a relationship characterized by family ties, shared living situations, or intimacy. It encompasses physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse.
  4. Dating Violence: Dating violence involves abusive behaviors that occur within dating or romantic relationships. It encompasses physical violence, emotional abuse, sexual assault, and stalking.

Youth Empowerment

Youth Empowerment, an organization dedicated to addressing youth issues, sheds light on interpersonal violence on its website (source). Although it does not provide specific definitions, their resources emphasize the impact and consequences of interpersonal violence on young individuals. Through various initiatives and programs, Youth Empowerment aims to educate and empower young people to combat interpersonal violence and create safer communities.


By exploring these definitions and other relevant sources, we can develop a better understanding of interpersonal violence and its impact on individuals and communities. It is crucial to raise awareness, promote prevention efforts, and provide support to survivors to combat interpersonal violence effectively.

If you or someone you know is experiencing interpersonal violence, it is important to seek help from local resources such as helplines, counseling centers, or advocacy organizations. Remember, you are not alone, and support is available. Together, we can work towards creating a world where interpersonal violence is eradicated.