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Although the effects of violence on other health outcomes are less well documented, some highly prevalent forms, such as child maltreatment, intimate partner violence (IPV), and abuse of the elderly, have been shown to have numerous noninjury health consequences. These consequences include high-risk behaviors such as alcohol and substance misuse, smoking, unsafe sex, eating disorders, and the perpetration of violence. These behaviors in turn contribute to such leading causes of death as cardiovascular disorders, cancers, depression, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. The social toll of violence is further exacerbated by economic costs that represent formidable threats to fiscal growth and development.

Several studies describe the deleterious impact of different types of violence on a range of health outcomes, but no review has yet been undertaken that presents a composite overview of the current state of knowledge. This paper aims to review the scientific literature describing the nature, magnitude, and impact of violence on health and development in LMICs. It has the following specific objectives:

  • To review the literature on violence in LMICs according to the typology commonly used by international agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO)

  • To describe what is known about the negative impacts of violence on health and human development in LMICs

  • To examine available information about the economic costs and impacts on economic development of violence in LMICs

  • To describe violence prevention policy developments within the global health and development agenda

The paper includes a review of recent research on violence in LMICs around seven subtypes of violence: (1) child abuse and neglect, (2) youth violence, (3) intimate partner violence (IPV), (4) sexual violence, (5) abuse of the elderly, (6) self-directed violence, and (7) collective violence, and discusses its broader implications and macro-level impacts on health and development.

Child Maltreatment and Other Violence Directed at Children

Homicide rates are considerably higher in LMICs than in HICs among older children: 2.6 times higher among boys aged 5 to 9 years, 3.6 times higher among girls aged 5 to 9, and more than 4 times higher among children aged 10 to 14 for both sexes. Sexual and physical abuse experienced during childhood are just some of the numerous psychological and behavioral factors endemic in many LMIC settings that may predispose children and young adults to display violent and aggressive behavior later in life and have been shown to have substantial long-term effects on health.

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