Report highlights link between victims of violence and mental health problems

  • Date

    Fri 13 May 22

Woman sat on staircase with her elbows resting on her legs and her hands covering her face

Clinical Psychologist Dr Danny Taggart has been involved in a major new report highlighting the links between victims of violence and mental health problems.

According to a new Lancet Psychiatry Commission, 27% of women and girls aged 15 or over have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) which significantly increases the likelihood of them developing mental health problems.

The report suggests that reducing levels of IPV against women and witnessed by their children could go a long way to bringing down the number of people, who experience illnesses like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr Taggart, from University of Essex’s School of Health and Social Care, said: "This commission, which I played a small part in, aims to raise societal awareness of the toxic impacts of violence on mental health, and how patriarchal structures normalise violence against women and girls, while also making calls for help a stigmatising experience for many.

“We hope that the work of the commission can lead to improved mental health treatment pathways for victims of violence. It is my hope that this work can add to the recently established University of Essex's Gender, Violence and Abuse Research Group, a cross faculty working group aiming to bring interdisciplinary thinking to this field."

The Commission’s authors found that whilst the gendered inequalities that underpin IPV are present in all social systems and institutions, it is much more likely to affect those that come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Challenging IPV needs to be prioritised at all levels in all systems, and the authors are calling for a collective societal effort to face this challenge, with the health, criminal justice, security, faith, education, and civil society systems all needing to act cooperatively.