Monday, December 15, 2014

1682. More People Die From Homicide Than in Wars, U.N. Says

By Nick Cumming-Bruce and Rick Gladstone, The New York Times, December 10, 2014
GENEVA — Homicide and acts of personal violence kill more people than wars and are the third-leading cause of death among men aged 15 to 44, the United Nations said Wednesday in a new report.

Around the world, there were about 475,000 homicide deaths in 2012 and about six million since 2000, “making homicide a more frequent cause of death than all wars combined in this period,” the report states.

The figures are based on detailed data collection from 133 countries that together account for 88 percent of the global population. Figures are not yet available for 2013 or 2014.

The report, a collaboration of the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, is intended to provide a base line for assessing efforts to address domestic violence, including child maltreatment; youth, intimate partner and sexual violence; and elder abuse, as well as homicides.

According to the report, one in four children has been physically abused, one in five girls has been sexually abused, and one in three women has been the victim of physical or sexual violence committed by an intimate partner at some point in life. The findings are based on analysis of a wide range of surveys; in the abuse of children, the report draws on information provided by adults.

Alexander Butchart, the health organization’s coordinator for prevention of violence, said in an interview that he was astonished not just by the high rates of violence against women found in the survey, but also that the rates were similar in all regions.

More than one billion people, about one-seventh of the world’s population, are affected by violence in their lifetime, according to Dr. Etienne Krug, a senior W.H.O. official. Dr. Krug told reporters in Geneva that the consequences of the deaths and injuries from acts of personal violence were themselves “a huge public health problem.”

Only one-third of the countries surveyed offer services to reduce or prevent the problem, such as anti-bullying programs in schools, home-nurse visits to families at risk, or support for caregivers to older people. Half the countries surveyed have no intervention services to protect or support victims of violence.

While most countries have enacted laws meant to prevent violence, the report said, only slightly more than half are enforcing them. Mental health services for victims are provided by fewer than half the countries surveyed, and by only 15 percent in Africa, where the need can be especially acute, the report said.

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