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A global health problem

Is domestic violence a health problem of global relevance? It is one of the main risk factors for death of women under 50.

Domestic violence is a gross violation of human rights, and it is a global health problem of epidemic proportions.

Globally, more women are killed by a partner or former partner, than by unsafe water, smoking, or low physical activity. Intimate partner violence is responsible for nearly 5% of all deaths of women in this age group.

Risk factors for deaths by causes, Females, 15 – 49 years, 2015 Table showing risk factors for deaths by causes, Females, 15 – 49 years, 2015. Readable PDF provided below Please click on the image to enlarge. A searchable PDF is provided in the downloads section below. Source: IHME 2015

Domestic violence affects the health and well-being of many of our patients – women and men, children and elderly people. The immediate impact of domestic violence can be more easy to understand. However, there are also long-term impacts in the form of trauma, physical illness, mental health issues, and chronic diseases. There are also larger social and economic costs of domestic violence.

The adverse physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health outcomes of domestic violence can lead those who have been beaten, threatened, neglected or abused to make extensive use of healthcare resources. Therefore, healthcare providers frequently – and often unknowingly – encounter the survivors, and even the perpetrators, of domestic violence.

Reflection point

Why does the death rate of females 15 – 49 years reveal only one aspect of domestic violence as a global health problem? Please share your thoughts below.
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Addressing Violence Through Patient Care

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