WELLINGTON, Nov. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- A third of New Zealand women are shoved, kicked, beaten or sexually assaulted by their partner during their life, a study has found.
The Auckland University research, published in New Zealand Medical Journal Friday, found women who had been assaulted were twice as likely to seek medical help for ill health and 2.5 times more likely to suffer emotional distress and suicidal thoughts.
The study suggested New Zealand had a higher domestic violence rate than the United States or Australia.
The research was part of a World Health Organization study involving interviews with 30,000 women from 10 countries.
Principal researcher Dr Janet Fanslow, of the university's School of Population Health, said the most worrying aspect was that intimate partner violence, even if it was in the past, was significantly associated with present physical and mental health problems, including depression, sleep problems and suicide attempts.
Interviews with 2855 women aged 18 to 64 found 33 percent in Auckland and 39 percent in Waikato had experienced physical and/orsexual violence from a partner.
Women who experienced moderate or severe physical violence (kicked, choked or burned on purpose) were more likely to suffer sexual violence, such as being forced to have sex.
Physical violence included being slapped, shoved, having hair pulled, choked or threatened with a weapon.
"We teach women to fear walking into dark alleys and (violence)by strangers, but the biggest risk for women is violence from their partners," Fanslow said.
The results show New Zealand has a higher violence rate than the United States, where one in five women face violence, and Australia, where 22 percent face violence.
Janet Lake, spokeswoman for the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges, said the results were alarming, but not surprising.
Every year the number of women and children using refuges increased, she said.
Brian Garner, manager of the National Network of Stopping Violence Services, said men should be ashamed by the findings.
"As a man in New Zealand I feel sad and ashamed that so many men are beating, abusing and killing their partners. That's not how to care for those close to us," Garner said.
Fanslow called for more early intervention schemes, particularly among doctors, who see victims of violence more often."We need some investment in intervention otherwise we're just picking up the pieces." Enditem¡¡