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Gaceta Sanitaria

versão impressa ISSN 0213-9111


ORTIZ-BARREDA, Gaby  e  VIVES-CASES, Carmen. Violence against women: the role of the health sector in international legislation. Gac Sanit [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.5, pp.483-489. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To identify and describe the responsibilities attributed to health administrations in preventing and addressing violence against women in the international legislation on this issue. Methods: We carried out a content analysis of the laws on violence against women collected in the following legal databases: the Annual Review of Law of Harvard University, the United Nations´ Secretary-General's database on Violence against Women, the International Digest of Health Legislation and Stop Violence against Women. All legal documents explicitly mentioning the participation of the health sector in interventions against violence against women were identified. Subsequently, the interventions selected were classified into primary, secondary and tertiary prevention, as defined by the World Health Organization in its first World Report on Violence and Health (2002). Results: Of the 115 countries analyzed, 55 have laws on violence against women that include the participation of the health sector in interventions concerning this phenomenon. In most of these countries, this participation focusses on reporting detected cases and on providing healthcare and assistance to women referred from police services. We identified 24 laws that explicitly mention the interventions developed by the health sector, mainly consisting of tertiary prevention. The laws of Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, El Salvador, Spain and the Philippines include interventions involving the three levels of prevention. Conclusions: One-fourth of the laws concerning violence against women studied incorporate specific interventions in the health sector, suggesting that a comprehensive approach to the problem is still required. Greater utilization of the potential of this sector is required in interventions to prevent violence against women.

Palavras-chave : Violence; Spouse abuse; Battered women; Legislation; Health services administration; Health care sector.

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