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Domestic violence a growing worldwide problem

Family-related abuse comes in many forms, including domestic assault, sexual abuse and stalking. The issue of domestic violence has become so prevalent around the world that international authorities want to see it addressed as a worldwide health problem.

According to a British medical journal, a review of violence-related statistics revealed that about one in three women has been a victim of physical or sexual assault by her partner. The data came from statistics from 86 countries from 1983 to 2010.

Another study from the World Health Organization found similar statistics and even more troubling results: more than one-third of all murdered women worldwide were killed by a romantic partner. According to the authors of these studies, the results indicate women are extremely prone to violence by romantic partners.

Domestic violence rates were highest in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, according to the WHO. The United Nations also says that more than 600 million women live in nations that have never criminalized domestic violence.

Reports from the WHO and other organizations describe physical violence as pushing, punching, choking, slapping and being attacked with a weapon. Sexual violence was defined as being mentally or physically coerced into sexual acts against one's will.

Aside from inflicting physical injuries, domestic violence often leaves its victims with emotional distress that can have profound long-term effects such as depression.

Because of the damage that domestic violence produces, it is wise for anyone who has experienced it firsthand to act quickly because it rarely resolves itself or gets better without legal intervention. In such cases, good legal counsel can help secure a restraining order to help lower the chances that an abusive party will commit another act of violence. Violations of restraining orders often result in fines and jail time for the perpetrators.

Source: Myfoxphilly.com, "1 in 3 women worldwide suffers abuse from partner," June 20, 2013

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