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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Ethiopian women are most abused
Mulu Melka in school
Abductions are a big problem for Ethiopian women
Women in Ethiopia are most likely to suffer violence at the hands of their partners, says the United Nations.

Nearly 60% of Ethiopian women were subjected to sexual violence, including marital rape, according to the Ending Violence Against Women report.

Almost half of all Zambian women said they had been attacked by a partner.

A leading UN official launching the report said domestic violence was a "pervasive phenomenon... that has to be addressed".

"The report states that the major form of violence takes place at the domestic level, in the households... and it takes place in societies throughout the world," said Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Jose Antonio Ocampo.

Laws 'inadequate'

In addition to violence from partners, the report also condemned what it found to be high levels of institutionalised violence, such as female genital mutilation, estimating that 130 million girls and women had undergone this practice.

The report, compiled from a number of different studies conducted in at least 71 countries, added that many governments around the world were not giving women adequate protection.

It said some 100 countries had no domestic violence laws and marital rape could not be prosecuted in more than 50.

"On average, at least one in three women is subjected to intimate partner violence in the course of her lifetime."

The report concludes that despite progress, "violence against women has not yet received the priority required to enable significant change".

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