Women who have suffered sexual violence and been successfully reintegrated into their communities gather in Walangu, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Picture: L Werchick/USAID

New action on sexual violence by World Health Organization

The World Health Organization is demanding the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls to ensure their health, wellbeing and human rights. At the same time, it has launched a toolkit to help countries respond to sexual violence.

“WHO strongly condemns violence against women and girls and supports partners’ and countries’ efforts towards the de-normalisation of this type of violence,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.
 
The new toolkit aims to help countries strengthen their medico-legal response to sexual violence. It includes guidance for those working in health and other sectors so that they can better support the collection of medical and legal evidence. This initiative is supported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict.
 
Globally, one in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or sexual violence by someone other than a partner in their lifetime. Women who experience partner violence are twice as likely to suffer from depression and 1.5 times more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection compared to those who have never been exposed to such violence. They are also more likely to have unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. 

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