Robust evidence needed to effectively tackle violence against women

“Violence against women is a recurrent fundamental rights abuse that urgently needs to be addressed,” said FRA Director, Morten Kjaerum, on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. “Reliable data on the extent, nature and impact of violence against women across the EU are clearly needed. The results of our forthcoming EU-wide survey should provide a solid base for appropriate solutions to effectively combat the violence that too many women currently face.”

In March 2014, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights will present the results of its survey on gender-based violence. It will be the first EU-wide survey to record the extent and nature of violence against women in the 28 EU Member States. The survey results are based on face-to-face interviews with a random sample of 42,000 women. They provide reliable and comparable data on women’s experiences of various types of physical, sexual and psychological violence by current and former partners, and other perpetrators. The survey also covered women’s experiences of stalking and sexual harassment – including cyber stalking and cyber harassment – and asked adult women about their childhood experiences of violence.

According to the findings, some two-thirds of victims of physical and/or sexual violence did not contact the police or any other services as a result of the most serious incident of violence they had experienced since the age of 15. However, one third of victims did contact one or more services or organisations. This opens up possibilities for support to women who have been victims of gender-based violence. The survey found that women were most likely to contact health services such as a doctor, hospital or other healthcare institution.

Drawing on this evidence, FRA will present some of its survey findings in relation to reporting violence and the health sector at the Eliminating Violence Against Women in Europe conference in Vienna on 25-26 November. The event was organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and the City of Vienna.