Interpersonal Violence

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Interpersonal violence 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:

Abuse is any behavior toward another person that is physically violent or involves emotional coercion, or both and one person is in a position of authority.

Bullying is a type of harassment that can be either verbal or physical, or both.

Dating/Relationship Violence occurs when one intimate or romantic partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through words and actions that are physically and emotionally abusive.

Sexual Violence is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to.

What triggers violence? There are a number of reasons why a person might become violent. For example, he or she might be angry, frustrated, or sad; or trying to control another person; or just generally short tempered. A person’s belief system might also influence how the person behaves.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

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