In a cross-sectional study, we sent a self-administered questionnaire to all the women's shelters in Norway to describe health-related quality of life among women who had experienced violence from an intimate partner. Every woman who could understand Norwegian and was staying at a women's shelter in Norway for more than 1 week from October 2002 to May 2003 was asked to participate. We described violence by intimate partners by using the Severity of Violence against Women Scale and the Psychological Maltreatment of Women Index. We used the SF-36 Health Survey to measure health-related quality of life. These women experienced a multitude of threats and actual physical and psychological violence during their partnership. Their health-related quality of life was low and significantly (p<0.001) below the norm for the female population of Norway in all dimensions. The SF-36 mental health dimension was 2.5 standard deviations below the norm. Women at women's shelters in Norway who had experienced domestic violence had very low and clinically significantly reduced health-related quality of life scores. Health care workers must give priority to developing intervention plans for victims of violence from intimate partners.