Intimate partner abuse occurs in a relationship that is or has been intimate. There is a pattern of one person inflicting emotional 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 romantically, past or present partners, spouses, or co-parents of a child. People of any gender or sexual orientation can be impacted by intimate partner abuse.

Examples of victim/survivor experiences

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 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 with.
  • reads their partner’s email, calls 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.
  • destroys personal property, threatens pets.
  • pushes, shoves, slaps, hits 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. You can also speak with a confidential Boulder community based DV advocate 24-hours a day by calling the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence 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 our 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, 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. If the DA decides to move forward with the case and you would like to a tell the DA your perspective or get more information about the system, call the DA victim/witness assistance program, OVA, or Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence. If you would like to be notified when the perpetrator/suspect is released from jail please sign up for Vine notifications. CU OVA and /or Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence 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 informal process (which does not include an investigation but focuses on intervention to stop the behavior). In cases of 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.

Confidential Reporting to the Office of Victim Assistance

Click here to make a confidential report to the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA). This report will only be seen by a confidential advocate counselor at OVA. This report does not notify the university and no investigative action will be taken. If you would like an OVA confidential advocate counselor to contact you please include your contact information and an OVA confidential advocate counselor will outreach to you directly. OVA is here to be a resource to you.

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. OVA is free and confidential and here to be a resource for counseling support, 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 where you live to get some space or safety.
  • discussing self-care and coping skills.

Friends and family may have useful perspectives on your relationship; sometimes when relationships become damaging 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, 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 a CU community member in a supervisory role, ask if they are a Responsible Employee and if they have any limits to keeping the information you are sharing with them private. 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 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 and OVA.

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. There are concrete things the University can do to help with your situation.

A protection order is a 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.