Gender, women and health

Partner violence and women’s health

Introduction

The role of partner violence in women’s injury and ill-health has become a major concern in public health. The WHO Study collected a variety of data about each respondent’s current physical and mental health, and about illness and use of health services in the month prior to the interview. Women who reported having experienced physical violence by an intimate partner were asked about the forms and frequency of different injuries, and the health care they received, if any.

Information was also collected about women’s reproductive history, such as the number of pregnancies, stillbirths, spontaneous and induced abortions, live births, and children currently alive. Details about the most recent live birth in the past 5 years were also documented.

Although a cross-sectional survey cannot establish whether violence causes particular health problems (with the exception, obviously, of injuries), the results of the WHO Study strongly support other research which has found strong associations between violence and both physical and mental symptoms of ill-health.

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