1 in 4 women experienced physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their partner: Lancet

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Mar 25, 2022, 07:40 PM(IST)

Researchers explained that the COVID-19 pandemic may have further compounded the problem worldwide. They said it was urgent to strengthen the public health response to intimate partner violence and ensure that the issues are addressed in the rebuilding efforts following COVID-19. Photograph:( Others )

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Researchers from McGill University and the WHO noted that, while the numbers are alarming, the true scale of violence is likely much higher, given that the study was based on self-reported experiences

Globally, one in four or 27 per cent of women are victims of violence at the hands of an intimate partner before the age of 50, according to a study published in The Lancet.

The study, carried out by researchers from McGill University and the World Health Organization (WHO) on more than 2 million women in 161 countries, showed that one in seven women (or 13 per cent) experienced intimate partner violence.

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In addition, the analysis points to high levels of violence against young women. Around 24 per cent of those between the ages of 15 and 19 reported that they had experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.

Researchers from McGill University and the WHO noted that, while the numbers are alarming, the true scale of violence is likely much higher, given that the study was based on self-reported experiences.

Women may be reluctant to report their experiences due to the stigmatised nature of the issue, they explained.

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"Intimate partner violence against women - which includes physical and sexual violence by husbands, boyfriends, and other partners - is highly prevalent globally," noted Mathieu Maheu-Giroux, a professor at McGill University.

According to the researchers, there were regional differences between high- and low-income countries, with a lower prevalence of cases reported both in terms of violence over the past year and in a lifetime.

Africa, South Asia, and parts of South America had the highest lifetime prevalence of violence among women aged 15 to 49. Among the regions, with the lowest lifetime domestic violence estimates, Central Asia and Central Europe ranked highest.

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Women in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific experienced intimate partner violence at a rate of about 5 per cent in the past year. In some areas of Africa, this number is as high as 15 per cent to 30 per cent.

"Overall, our research shows that governments are not on track to meet global targets to eliminate violence against women and girls. An important takeaway is that even in some high-income countries the prevalence of intimate partner violence is relatively high, which calls for investment in prevention at local and global levels," said Maheu-Giroux.

Researchers explained that the COVID-19 pandemic may have further compounded the problem worldwide. They said it was urgent to strengthen the public health response to intimate partner violence and ensure that the issues are addressed in the rebuilding efforts following COVID-19.

(With inputs from agencies)

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