The true ‘cost’ of violence against women

The enormous ‘cost’ of violence against women living in a dozen latin American and Caribbean countries has been revealed in a report produced by the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), in collaboration with the U. S. Centers for Diseease Control and Prevention (CDC), released earlier this month (see link below).

The immense physical, psychological and social impact of violence against women – most often perpetrated by an intimate partner or another man that they already know – has been recognised for decades.  This report is insightful as it reveals the true cost to the nations in terms of disability, disease, and death experienced by the victims; the cost for the children of victims who are themselves at increased risk of becoming victims – or worse, perpetrators ; the cost in terms of treatment for victims;  and the cost in terms of rehabilitation and punishment efforts for perpetrators. Alarmingly, the research found that between one quarter and two thirds of the victims did not report the violence, which is the crucial first step in addressing this considerable public health problem.

Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, the Director of PAHO, states “Responding to violence against women requires a multi-sectoral and coordinated effort that spans multiple disciplines, including the health sector, law enforcement, the judiciary, and social protection services, among others. The health sector’s role includes improving primary prevention of violence as well as the ability of health services to identify survivors of abuse early and provide women with compassionate and appropriate care. The health sector must also contribute to improving the evidence base regarding the nature of violence against women, including the magnitude, consequences, and risk and protective factors.”

Violence Against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: A comparative analysis of population-based data from 12 countries: http://new.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=1505&Itemid=2459&lang=en

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