Nearly one in five students visiting university health clinics said they were emotionally or physically abused in the last six months, according to a study released by the University of B.C.

The study found that men and women were equally likely to be victims of violence, which is often linked to drinking, said lead researcher Elizabeth Saewyc, a professor in the school of nursing.

“When nearly one in five young people report recent violence, that’s a serious concern for campus health services,” Saewyc said.

“The stress from experiencing violence can affect students’ grades, their mental health, even their long-term physical health.”

More than one in three of the women who experienced violence, and 59 percent of men, said they had been drinking at the time.

Dr. Nancy Edwards, scientific director with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, said the study will help create better violence-prevention and intervention programs on campuses.

“Violence is an important public-health issue in Canada, so it is necessary to identify people at risk to reduce the number of victims,” Edwards said.

Saewyc added that campus health services should do more to screen for violence exposure among students, and universities need interventions to promote healthy dating relationships.

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