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Intimate partner violence is widespread and public health problem (USA)

January 12, 2012

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that intimate partner violence is common in the United States. Conducted for the first time in 2010, the study finds that on average, 24 people per minute experience sexual assault, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, and that one in five women have been raped at some point in their life. Based on these findings, the CDC has identified sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence as an important and widespread public health problem for the United States.

The National Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) was launched in 2010 by the CDC, with the support of the National Institute for Justice and the Department of Defense to address information gaps related to sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence. The survey’s objectives are to describe: prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence; who is most likely to experience these forms of violence; patterns and impact of violence on specific populations; and the health consequences of the violence. The survey is ongoing and will track trends in sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence over time. Eventually data will be available for state-level prevalence rates and estimates.

A number of impacts of intimate partner violence were recorded. For example, 81 per cent of women who experience rape, physical violence or stalking by a partner reported short- and long-term impacts including fear, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and injury. Thirty-five per cent of men with these experiences of violence also reported such impacts. Women who have experienced these forms of violence were also more likely to report asthma, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other health consequences than women who did not experience violence.

To read the full report, “National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report, December 2010,” visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.go

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