Berlin - Some 40 per cent of women and girls over 16 in Germany have been victims of physical or sexual abuse, a government official said Thursday, quoting from a study.
Handicapped, elderly women and those requiring care suffered more than others, said Marion Caspers-Merk, secretary of state at the ministry of health.
"The issue of violence is too often considered taboo," she said. "It is often underestimated as a health risk."
Caspers-Merk said a study conducted by the Robert Koch Institute showed that one-in-four adult women in Germany had been subjected to physical or sexual abuse in a relationship.
Some 74 per cent of women addicted to drugs, alcohol or medication had experienced physical, psychological or sexual violence, the study said. In many cases this led to depression, panic attacks and even serious complications when giving birth.
The study found that violence against women was not restricted to certain social classes but was spread across all levels of society. (dpa)