Preventing Interpersonal Violence in Europe
Keywords:violence, interpersonal violence, prevalence, risk factors, Europe.
AIM: To describe the burden of interpersonal violence, risk factors and discuss the need for evidence based action to reduce the public health threat of interpersonal violence.
METHODS: Global Health Estimates data were used to describe the mortality and meta-analyses from previous reports were used to describe the prevalence of the different types of interpersonal violence and to discuss the options for evidence informed prevention programmes.Â
RESULTS: In the 53 countries of the WHO European Region, violence kills about 160,000 people each year, and of these around 31,000 die from interpersonal violence, 123,000 from self-inflicted violence and 2,000 from war. Deaths are just the tip of the iceberg and for every death there are numerous admissions to hospital and emergency departments. Interpersonal violence is thought to be one of the most frequently experienced yet commonly overlooked forms of violence. Based upon data from meta-analyses of population surveys in Europe: the prevalence in children under 18 years of sexual abuse is 9.6% (13.4% in girls and 5.7% in boys); physical abuse is 22.9% and 29.1% for emotional abuse; the prevalence of intimate partner violence (physical and or sexual violence) is 19.3% in high-income countries and 25.6% in low- and middle-income countries, suggesting that about 49 million women aged 14-49 years have been abused. Surveys of older people over 60 years, suggest that the past year prevalence of physical abuse is 2.7%, sexual abuse 0.7%, emotional abuse 19.% and financial abuse 3.8%, suggesting the numbers experiencing elder maltreatment in Europe run into the tens of millionsCONCLUSION: Community surveys can play an important role to better understand the scale and risk factors of different types of interpersonal violence. Readers are called upon to support a coordinated public health response to prevent this societal and health threat.
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