1.2 million women face sexual and physical abuse

Date: 
Tuesday, 19 January, 2016

A new report estimates that one in 20 women in England have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse, reports The Telegraph. The report by Agenda, Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk, found that women are twice as likely as men to experience abuse, and that the more extensive the abuse the more likely it is to be experienced by women.

Abuse includes experiencing sexual violence as a child or being beaten by a parent or carer, and being raped in adulthood or suffering severe physical violence from a partner.

Women who experience the most extensive abuse (i.e. those experiencing abuse as children and adults) are more likely to face a range of problems, such as poor mental and physical health. 

The effects of extensive abuse include:

  • Half have a mental health condition
  • One in six have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and are twice as likely to experience this than soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan
  • 15 per cent have three or more mental health problems
  • A third go on to attempt suicide
  • One in five have been homeless
  • A third have alcohol problems
  • Nearly half are poor
  • One in ten have spent time in a mental health ward

Most of these women (three-quarters) are not receiving treatment for their mental health conditions.

The report recommends that specialist, gender-specific services are provided and properly funded; staff in public services receive training on how to understand and respond to the trauma experienced by victims of sexual and physical abuse; and that asking women if they have faced abuse or violence should become routine across services, as should proper support for women who disclose experience of abuse.

You can read the full report here.