LONDON (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization says violence against women is "a global health problem of epidemic proportions."
The U.N. agency says the first major review of violence against women finds that about a third of women worldwide have been physically or sexually assaulted by a former or current partner.
In papers presented today, experts estimate that nearly 40 percent of women killed worldwide were slain by an intimate partner.
The report also examined rates of sexual violence against women by someone other than a partner. It found that about 7 percent of women worldwide had previously been a victim.
WHO says all health workers should be trained to recognize when women may be at risk, and how to respond appropriately.
According to the United Nations, more than 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime.
The WHO report says the rate of domestic violence against women is highest in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where 37 percent of women experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner at some point. The rate is 23 percent in North America.
APPHOTO LON110: In this Thursday, July 30, 2009 file photo Shoes representing female victims of violence are displayed by protesters from the Chilean Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence in Santiago. The sign at bottom reads in Spanish "Rosa Alvarado, 31, stabbed by ex-boyfriend, 16 April 2008." About a third of women worldwide have been physically or sexually assaulted by a former or current partner, according to the first major review of violence against women. In a series of papers released on Thursday June 20, 2013 by the World Health Organization and others, experts estimated nearly 40 percent of women killed worldwide were slain by an intimate partner and that being assaulted by a partner was the most common kind of violence experienced by women. (AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin, File) (30 Jul 2009)
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