Accessibility links

Breaking News

1.6 Million People Killed in Violence Annually, Says WHO - 2002-10-03


The World Health Organization says violence is responsible for the deaths of 1.6 million people each year. The WHO has released its first comprehensive global report about the relationship between violence and health.

The World Health Organization report says every hour, about 35 people die as a result of armed conflict.

But violence does not stop on the battlefield. The director of the new study, Dr. Etienne Krug, said it takes many forms and affects practically everyone. "In some countries, up to 70 percent of women declare they have been abused by their husband or boyfriend or former husband or former boyfriend at some stage of their lives," he said. "Up to 30 percent of women report that their first sexual intercourse was forced, and 20 percent of men. So it is not only a problem of women. Up to five percent of elderly report having been abused in the home at some stage of their elderly lives. And then these enormous rates of youth homicides; young people being killed in the community, mainly young men."

More than 70 countries, including the United States, Kenya, Colombia, India and Norway, provided data on violence for the World Health Organization study.

But Dr. Krug said that, just as violence can be found everywhere, successful initiatives to stem violence can also be found around the world. He said many of these initiatives focus on children and adolescents, which he said is vitally important. "We believe that we do not have to wait until its too late, until young kids have grown up into perpetrators of violence, but we can act before, working with them at very young ages in all kinds of programs," he explained.

World Health Organization officials say the report shows that violence does not discriminate. It affects everyone, young and old, rich and poor. And they say everyone has a responsibility to try to stop it.