A new study finds violence can have lasting effects on not only victims' health but also on the community. The study by researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine was published Monday in the health care journal Health Affairs.

The study covered different kinds of violence including sexual abuse, intimate partner abuse, elder abuse and bullying. It found the consequences ranged from depression and anxiety to sleep disorders, asthma, cardiovascular disease, substance abuse and suicide.

According to the study children who are abused are more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence as adults. It found violence suffered in infancy or early childhood creates changes in the brain. Older victims also show similar biological changes.

Some of the consequences of intimate partner violence explored in the study include victims missing school or work, which in turn causes them to be less financially independent. Victims were also more likely to use substances to help cope with the situation, causing greater health consequences.

The study also examined the impact of witnessing violence, finding children exposed to intimate partner violence suffered from chronic stress.

The health impacts on perpetrators of intimate partner violence were also examined. The study found perpetrators have long term risks of cardiovascular disease and higher risk of hypertension.

The study concluded the effects of violence are not limited to the obvious physical trauma but include psychological consequences. It’s recommended that health care providers work with other disciplines to assure proper treatment of victims.

The authors of the study represent the Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program, based at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center.

If you or someone you know is struggling or experiencing thoughts of suicide, there is help available. You can call the state Careline at 877-266-HELP or text 4help to 839863. 

You can also find domestic violence resources at the Abused Women's Aid in Crisis website or support hotline at 907-272-0100.

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