Women suffer ‘horrendous’ threat of violence
The AMA has urged coordinated national action to clamp down on family violence amid disturbing evidence that more than half of all women will be physically or sexually assaulted at least once in their lives.
Speaking at the launch of the AMA Position Statement on Women’s Health 2014, AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said violence against women was a major public health issue with serious and long-lasting detrimental consequences, and addressing it involved tackling the nation’s alcohol problem.
“About 50 per cent, and they confirm these statistics represent the true predicament they face, day in, day out, on the front lines,” the Senator said. “Every night the place is awash with the victims of alcohol fuelled violence, with the vast majority of victims being women.”
Senator Peris called on the AMA to use its “extremely high standing in the community to advocate for more action in tackling alcohol-related domestic violence”.
Dr Hambleton responded that “we do have to take up the challenge…to actually highlight the issues in relation to alcohol misuse”.
Following the release of the Position Statement, the AMA President had a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott during which the possibility of a National Summit on alcohol misuse was discussed.
“As a nation, the damage that alcohol is causing is something that we need to turn around,” Dr Hambleton said.
The AMA Position Statement showed that alcohol-fuelled violence was just one of many serious issues affecting the health of women.
Dr Hambleton said it attempted to provide an overview of the many challenges of women’s health, and its many aspects.
“We examine biological, social and cultural factors, along with socioeconomic circumstances and other determinants of health, exposure to the health risks, access to health information and health services, and health outcomes,” the AMA President said. “Our Position Statement is comprehensive, but I fear it only scratches the surface.”
Dr Hambleton said that although women tended to live longer than men, they also suffered more bouts of ill health, had a higher burden of chronic disease, saw medical practitioners more frequently and took more medicine.
The Position Statement can be viewed at: https://ama.com.au/position-statement/womens-health
Published: 19 Mar 2014