Violence is a common problem in society worldwide, and recent research has shown links to various signs of ill-health among victims. In a Swedish population based study, 46 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men had, at some point, been subjected to severe sexual, physical or emotional violence. The respondents were also asked about their present health. The study showed a significant over-representation of respondents subjected to serious violence in all ill-health indicators (PTSD, depression, psychosomatic symptoms, self-harm behaviour, risky alcohol intake, low self-rated physical health and heart attacks in the older age group). Several other Swedish studies have addressed abuse and future health. In a study among young people attending youth clinics the last year prevalence of sexual, physical and emotional violence was high, as expected. Young women were to a higher extent than young men exposed to sexual (14 and 4 per cent, respectively) and emotional violence (33 and 18 per cent respectively) and young men more to physical violence than young women (27 and 18 per cent respectively). Those who had been exposed to more than two types of violence were significantly more likely to resort to self-harm behaviour and suicide ideation and rated their psychological wellbeing lower than others. In one study the violence victimization and self-reported physical and mental ill-health among young women belonging to a sexual minority and heterosexual young women was assessed. Being subjected to two or more types of violence was significantly more frequent among the minority women compared to heterosexual women. However all victimized women had significantly higher risk for ill-health in all outcomes (PTSD, sleeping difficulties, and recurrent bowel problems). The impact of being subjected to more than one type of violence has been shown to be even more strongly linked to mental ill-health also in adult patients. Hence, research supports that violence victimisation is associated with various symptoms and conditions for which people seek medical care. Therefore questions about violence victimization should routinely be included in the medical history.
2016. Vol. 113