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Exposure to violence is a health risk factor that is at times overlooked, despite its potential to result in permanent disability, psychological trauma and even death. The World Health Organization (2002b) reports that in addition to direct physical injury, victims of violence are at greater risk of a wide variety of psychological and behavioural problems including depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviour, and alcohol and substance misuse. Victims of sexual violence are also at increased risk of developing reproductive health problems and contracting sexually transmitted diseases (WHO 2002b).
8.9 Victims of physical or threatened violence(a), Indigenous persons aged 15 years or over - 2002
Those who were victims of physical or threatened violence in 2002 reported higher rates of fair or poor health (28% compared with 22%) and lower rates of excellent or very good health (38% compared with 46%) than those who had not been victimised. Moreover, people who had been victimised were more likely to report having a disability or long-term health condition (43% compared with 34%). They were also more likely to regularly smoke (61% compared with 45%), to usually consume alcohol at risky or high risk levels (22% compared with 13%) and to have used at least one illicit substance in the last 12 months (38% compared with 19% of persons in non-remote areas).
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