Almost one third of the world’s women have experienced domestic violence, and 38% of women who’re murdered are killed by a current or former partner, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In the new report released Thursday, WHO finds that domestic violence is a global health problem that’s reached “epidemic proportions”, noting that being sexually or physically assaulted by a partner is the most common form of violence experienced by women.
Meanwhile, there are more than 600 million women living in countries where domestic violence is still not considered a crime.
Around 7% of the world’s women have been sexually assaulted by someone who is not their partner, according to WHO. It defines sexual violence as being forced to have sex, being intimidated into having sex and/or feeling no choice but to participate in degrading sexual activities.
Physical violence involves being pushed, punched, slapped, choked or attacked with a weapon.
WHO has released guidelines to assist authorities in dealing with the problem and recommended health workers be better trained to identify and respond to at-risk women.
It based its statistics on a range of global studies completed over a 27 year period until 2010, focusing on 86 countries and women over the age of 15.
Women are most at risk of violence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where just under 38% of women experience domestic violence at the hands of a partner.
In Africa, 45.6% of women over the age of 15 have experienced partner and/or non-partner sexual violence. In the Western Pacific region (which includes Australia) that figures was found to be 27.9%
The report also outlined the health impacts of domestic violence beyond physical injury and death, noting women who experienced partner-related violence are twice as likely to suffer from depression and alcohol dependency.