The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says violence against women perpetrated by an intimate partner continues to be a violation of human rights and a widespread public health problem in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
PAHO said that the prevalence of physical and/or sexual violence, however, varies among countries in the region.
It said in some countries, this type of violence affects 14 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 at some point in their lives; whereas, in others, it can affect over 60 per cent.
PAHO said violence against women has many consequences for health, including death, due to femicide, diseases associated with HIV infection, suicide and maternal mortality, as well as injuries, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, negative consequences on sexual health and mental disorders.
The data show that the prevalence of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence inflicted at some point in life varies from one country to the other.
PAHO said in 12 countries, including Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago “this type of violence has affected more than a quarter of women at some point in their lives”.
But PAHO noted that among the data reviewed, eight countries offered the possibility of comparing changes in the levels of intimate partner violence over time.
Preliminary evidence suggests that physical and sexual intimate partner violence could be declining over the past 15 to 20 years in Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.
However, in the Dominican Republic, PAHO said reports of physical intimate partner violence experienced in the 12 months before the survey have increased.
PAHO said the data is “part of a systematic review and re-analysis of estimates from national surveys on the prevalence of intimate partner violence against women carried out in 24 countries of the region,” which will be published in the Pan American Journal of Public Health.
It said the study also shows that certain types of intimate partner violence against women may have declined in the last 20 years in at least seven countries Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.