21 Jun 2013

'More than one in three' women worldwide suffer violence

12:27 pm on 21 June 2013

More than one in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence, according to a report by the World Health Organisation and other groups.

The report says 38% of all women murdered were killed by their partners, and such violence is a major contributor to depression and other health problems.

WHO head Margaret Chan says violence against women is a "global health problem of epidemic proportions".

The BBC reports that the study also calls for toleration of such attacks worldwide to be halted; and it says new guidelines must be adopted by health officials around the world to prevent the abuse and offer better protection to victims.

The report on partner and non-partner violence against women was released jointly by WHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council.

Its authors say it is the first systematic study of global data, detailing the impact of the abuse on both the physical and mental health of women and girls.

The key findings are:

  • Violence by an intimate partner is the most common type of abuse, affecting 30% of women across the globe
  • 38% of all women murdered are killed by their partners
  • 42% of women physically or sexually abused by partners have injuries as a result
  • Victims of non-partner attacks are 2.6 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety compared with women who have not experienced violence
  • Those abused by their partners are almost twice as likely to have similar problems
  • Victims are more likely to have alcohol problems and abortions and to acquire sexually transmitted diseases and HIV

The WHO says it will start implementing new guidelines together with other organisations at the end of June.