Violence against women in Europe

Violence against women in Europe

Violence against women and girls has no borders: it is the most pervasive violation of women’s human rights that has life-long implications for women’s physical and mental health. There is not a single area in any woman or girl’s life where she is not exposed to the threat or the realisation of acts of violence: from the private sphere at home to the public sphere, including the workplace and the online spaces.

Violence against women and girls threatens the security of half of the population in the EU and there can be no peace and security while women fear for their safety: 83% of young women (aged 16 to 29) in the EU avoid certain situations or places for fear of being physically or sexually assaulted [1].

2.300 women are killed every year in Europe at the hands of their partners or ex-partners. 45 women a week are killed by those who supposedly loved them. 1 in 3 women have suffered physical and/or sexual violence and 1 in 2 women have experienced sexual harassment since the age of 15. 10% of women in the EU report having been victim of sexual violence, 5% were raped with the use of force [2]. From all the incidents of violent sexual crimes recorded by Eurostat, more than 90% of the victims were women and 99% of the persons convicted were men [3]. Let us remind that today, in the EU, only a small number of women feel safe to report and ask for help. Only 22% of women who experience intimate partner violence report it to the police. In particular, of violent incidents of a sexual nature, 60 % were reported to the police. Reporting is lower than average when the perpetrator is a family member or a relative (only 22 % of incidents reported to the police) [4].

Unfortunately, women’s organisations are well aware that these shocking figures cannot even give us the full picture. In reality, the situation is much worse and the consequences of these forms of violence in the everyday life of the survivors, including their children, are devastating and cannot be put into figures.

EIGE has estimated that the cost of gender-based violence across the EU is €366 billion a year. Violence against women makes up 79 % of this cost, amounting to €289 billion. (EIGE 2021) [5].

EWL Charter of Principles adopted in 2007, reiterated in EWL 2017 factsheet on Disrupting the continuum of violence against women,
EWL Position paper “Towards a Europe Free from All Forms of Male Violence against Women” adopted in 2010.

[1Source: European Agency for Fundamental rights (FRA) 2021: “Crime, safety and victim’s rights”

[2Source: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Violence against women: an EU-wide survey. Main results report, 2014

[3Source: Eurostat, 2017

[4Source: European Agency for Fundamental rights (FRA) 2021: “Crime, safety and victim’s rights

[5Source: European Institute for Gender Equality (2021): Costs of gender-based violence in the European Union

Latest video

EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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