Intimate partner violence is a major public health and social problem that affects people everywhere. Nurses can play an important role in identifying victims who present to healthcare settings with domestic abuse-related health issues. Evidence suggests that most women who present to emergency departments have experienced domestic abuse at some point in their lives, but that only 5% are identified by healthcare professionals. To identify and respond to victims effectively, emergency nurses must understand domestic abuse and its associated complexities. This article provides an overview of these issues, including the different types of abuse, and their prevalence, causes and effects on health. The article also explores how emergency nurses can identify and manage the effects of violence at work.