WHO—Report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions
Recommendations to the health sector
The report also emphasizes the urgent need for better care for women who have experienced violence. These women often seek health-care, without necessarily disclosing the cause of their injuries or ill-health.
“The report findings show that violence greatly increases women’s vulnerability to a range of short- and long-term health problems; it highlights the need for the health sector to take violence against women more seriously,” said Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno of WHO. “In many cases this is because health workers simply do not know how to respond.”
New WHO clinical and policy guidelines released today aim to address this lack of knowledge. They stress the importance of training all levels of health workers to recognize when women may be at risk of partner violence and to know how to provide an appropriate response.
They also point out that some health-care settings, such as antenatal services and HIV testing, may provide opportunities to support survivors of violence, provided certain minimum requirements are met.
Health providers have been trained how to ask about violence.
Standard operating procedures are in place.
Consultation takes place in a private setting.
Confidentiality is guaranteed.
A referral system is in place to ensure that women can access related services.
In the case of sexual assault, health care settings must be equipped to provide the comprehensive response women need - to address both physical and mental health consequences.
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