Sexual Violence is Alarmingly High

Victims of violence are at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, chronic pain, asthma and diabetes, and abused women and girls are at significantly higher risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and poor pregnancy outcomes. They are also three times more likely to report poor physical or mental health problems than women who have not experienced violence and the consequences could last for decades.. Children who witness family violence are more likely to experience depression, substance abuse, obesity and asthma.

“As the Senate gets ready to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, we urge members of Congress to review the CDC data,” said Soler. “The findings clearly demonstrate the desperate need to strengthen programs to prevent violence, promote healthy relationships, intervene earlier with children who have been victimized and address the health problems victims of violence face.”

The CDC report underscores the fact that violence often begins at an early age and therefore, we need to conduct prevention and intervention programs earlier. For example, the Start Strong initiative, managed by Futures Without Violence and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is working to promote healthy relationships in middle schools.

The findings also demonstrate the need for health care providers to screen for victims of violence. Earlier this year, the Institute of Medicine recommended that health care professionals assess their patients for domestic violence and intervene when needed, as part of the Affordable Care Act.

“If we are serious about preventing violence, then we must get serious about the resources, strategies and programs we put in place to stop the cycle of violence and abuse,” said Soler.

Link to report at CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/

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