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WHO | Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean

Home Violence, injuries and disability


A colourful graphic image showing three sets of hands in different posesViolence is a public health challenge defined by the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in, injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.


Injuries are a major public health problem claiming more than 5 million lives every year and harming many millions more. It is caused by acute exposure to physical agents, such as mechanical energy, heat, electricity, chemicals and ionizing radiation.


Disability is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; and a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and the features of the society in which he or she lives.


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