Intimate partner abuse occurs in a relationship that is or has been intimate. There is a pattern of one person inflicting emotional, psychological, sexual, finacial and/or physical pain on another in order to control them. Abuse can take many forms includng verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, financial, and reproductive. The people involved could be involved in a long or short-term relationship, been hooking up, past or present dating partners, spouses, or co-parents of a child. People of any gender or sexual orientation can be impacted by intimate partner abuse.  Reminder: relationships are not abusive, people are.

Examples of what victims/survivors experience

The person feels:

  • constantly put down or criticized by their partner.
  • sad, worried and stressed out about their relationship.
  • that they are giving up things that are important to them like school, family or friendships because of their relationship.
  • often worried about their partner’s anger.
  • scared of their partner’s unpredictability.
  • that they are constantly scanning for when the next eruption of anger will come.
  • embarrassed for people to know how their partner treats them.

Examples of abusive behaviors

The partner:

  • wants to make all the decisions.
  • tries to control what their partner does, how they look, who they see and talk to.
  • reads their partner’s email, calls and texts their partner frequently, checks up on their partner.
  • manipulates with threats, insults, guilt.
  • prevents their partner from working, studying or socializing.
  • uses money to control their partner.
  • threatens to hurt their partner, loved ones or themselves.
  • keeps close track of where their partner is at all times, for example may use tracking application on phone.
  • forces their partner into sexual activity the partner doesn’t want or consents to.
  • destroys personal property, threatens/hurts pets.
  • pushes, shoves, slaps, hits, punches their partner.

If you are in an unsafe situation or are about to be harmed, change your location if you are able and give yourself some space to consult with friends, a confidential resource, or call 911. The Office of Victim Assistance has phone support 24/7, 303-49-8855. You can also speak with a confidential Boulder community based DV advocate and shelter 24-hours a day by calling the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence 24/7 hotline 303-444-2424.

Explore your options

Your health is important. If you have injuries, please consider getting medical attention. Boulder Community Health is the closest hospital to CU and provides emergency care. Medical Services is located on campus for non-emergencies. Be aware that if medical providers believe that your injuries are related to intimate partner abuse they may be obligated to report to the police. Watch this video to learn more about the current law for medical providers and times that they may be obligated to report to the police versus when they have discretion. CU OVA or Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence can discuss these issues with you confidentially. If you are seeking medical care due to a sexual assault please go to the Sexual Assault page for more information on medical options.

For content-specific information about reporting see below. For general information about reporting and the possibilities of working with systems visit OVA's reporting page or visit OIEC's Don't Ignore It website.


If you have experienced intimate partner abuse, reporting to the police is an option. Colorado has a mandatory arrest policy in cases of intimate partner violence when there is probable cause of abuse, therefore if the police assess that a crime has been committed, an arrest is likely. After the arrest, the District Attorney’s office will decide on next steps in the criminal process. If the DA decides to move forward with the case and you would likely get to tell the DA your perspective or get more information about the system, call the DA victim/witness assistance program or OVA for help with this. If you would like to be notified when the perpetrator/suspect is released from jail please sign up for Vine notifications. CU OVA can talk with you about the reporting process, your options, and safety concerns. In addition OVA adovcates can be an advocate for you throughout the process.

Reporting CU's Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

If you have experienced intimate partner abuse from a CU student, faculty, or staff you can report to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC). OIEC can address concerns through a formal investigation or an educational resolution (which does not include an investigation but focuses on intervention to stop the behavior). In formal investigation and there is a finding of a policy violation OIEC will put sanctions in place through the university. OIEC’s process is separate from the criminal justice system and is administrative through the university. In some cases OIEC may need to make a limited report to the police. In addition to conducting investigations, OIEC can also provide interim and remedial measures including no contact orders, academic remedial measures, and more. Click here to learn more about OIEC's process and procedures.

To file a report you can contact OIEC directly at 303-492-2127, online report with OIEC, or work with the Office of Victim Assistance to provide advocacy in the reporting process. If you are unsure about reporting, please contact OVA and we can talk through the OIEC process with you confidentially to assist you in your decision making process.

If you are concerned about your relationship, it may be helpful to talk with someone outside the situation. CU OVA and Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence are all confidential resources. CU OVA is free and confidential and here to be a resource for trauma-focused counseling, advocacy, informing one of their rights and options, safety planning, and providing information, referrals, and consultation on additional campus and community resources.  Some things you might discuss when meeting with OVA include:

  • figuring out what you feel and think about what’s going on.
  • getting information that will help you assess the situation, and figure out what you want.
  • discussing your rights and reporting options.
  • talking about how to manage academics, or work given the situation.
  • talking about making a safety plan if applicable.
  • getting medical treatment if you have injuries or are worried about your health.
  • changing routines, assessing safety and impact.
  • assessing where you live to get some space or safety.
  • keep track of/log what is happening - if you feel you can keep this safe, not accessible by abusive person.
  • discussing self-care and coping skills.

Friends and family may have useful perspectives on your relationship; sometimes when partners become abusive, it’s hard for the person in the situation to see. If people tell you that you seem sad, angry or scared, you are doing less, not involved in the things you use to be and you have lost touch with friends, family, or community, it might be worth considering whether your relationship is a factor. However, nobody can tell you what your experience is, and it often takes time for people to decide what to do and what is best for them. At OVA we recognize that it can be difficult and confusing to identify next steps when the person who is hurting you is someone who you care about. We can talk with you about impact and the range of responses you may be experiencing, discuss safety planning, and will work with you around your goals.

*If seeking support from CU staff or factuly, they have limits to keeping the information you are sharing with them confidential. If you wish to not have the information shared with the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance consider reaching out to a confidential resource such as OVA.

If you are not ready to talk to somebody but want to get more information about your situation, the web is a great place to do that. If you are concerned about privacy, you should know that most computers keep track of websites you visit. If you are concerned about this please review how to clear your web browser's history or use a public computer such as at a lab on campus, a public library or at a friend’s house.

If supporting someone with a current or past abusive partner, visit our how to help page.

If you your current housing situation is no longer safe or comfortable, OVA can discuss options for a change of housing. There may also be the option to move the alleged perpetrator if they live in CU housing with assistance from OIEC.

If you are worried about how this situation may be impacting your schoolwork, OVA is here to help. You deserve to be in school and to meet your goals. OVA can discuss options for managing academic issues while maintaining privacy and may be able to contact professors.

A protection order is a civil legal document obtained through the courts that puts restrictions on individuals who may be dangerous to you. If they violate these restrictions they can be sanctioned by the court. If you have questions about obtaining a protection order you can talk to a confidential OVA advocate counselor, call the Boulder Protective Order Clinic at 303-441-4867, contact Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, or go to the Colorado Judicial Branch Protection Order website.

If someone is arrested for domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault and the suspect is released from jail, a criminal no contact order is usually issued by the courts for the duration of the criminal case.