BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 3 October, 2002, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
Violence claims 1.6m a year
Most violent deaths occur behind close doors
More than 1.6 million people are killed by violence around the world each year, a major report reveals.

The World Health Organization said that millions of others are left injured as a result of attacks.

Violence is now the leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 44.


There is nothing inevitable about violence, nor is it an intrinsic part of the human condition

Dr Etienne Krug, WHO
The WHO has called on governments across the globe to take urgent action to cut murder rates, domestic violence and armed conflict.

The report shows that violence accounts for 14% of deaths in men and 7% of deaths in women.

Millions affected

This accounts for a person dying somewhere in the world as a result of an attack every minute of every day.

It is estimated that one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. Thirty-five people are killed every hour as a result of armed conflict.

According to the report, a total of 191m people lost their lives during the last century as a result of armed conflict.

But it adds that for every person killed by violence as many as another 40 need treatment for serious injuries.

The WHO added that half of all women murdered are killed by their current or former husband or boyfriend. In some countries, that figure is as high as 70%.

One in four women across the globe will experience sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

But violence against the elderly is also a growing problem. Up to 6% of older people have reported being abused.

Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of WHO, said: "The report challenges us in many respects.

"It forces us to reach beyond our notions of what is acceptable and comfortable - to challenge notions that acts of violence are simply matters of family privacy, individual choice, or inevitable facets of life."

Education

Dr Etienne Krug, director of WHO's department of injuries and violence prevention, said deaths could be reduced by trying to change attitudes.

"There is nothing inevitable about violence, nor is it an intrinsic part of the human condition," he said.

"Evidence from around the world suggests that violence can be prevented by a variety of measures aimed at individuals, families and communities."

The report calls for education programmes for school children, parent training and schemes to cut the use of firearms.

It also calls for improved help for victims of violence.

Majorie Wallace, Chief Executive of mental health charity SANE, said: "The WHO report on health and violence does not sufficiently emphasise the role of mental health services in the prevention of homicide and in particular suicide.

"SANE's experience, based on 1000 calls a week to our helpline - SANELINE - and our analysis of inquiries following homicides committed by a person with mental illness or disorder pulls sharp focus on the lack of response to those seeking help for mental health problems.

"One in three people are being turned away and the families' warnings and concerns too often go unheeded. We believe many of the tragedies involving violence and health could be prevented."

See also:

20 May 02 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes