Initial data on violence against women in Europe
In early 2014 the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights will launch its report from its EU-wide survey on violence against women. On International Women’s Day on 8 March, FRA announced some initial data illustrating the extent of the problems:
- Four in five women did not turn to any service, such as healthcare, social services, or victim support, following the most serious incidents of violence by people other than their partners. This underlines how the true extent of violence remains hidden.
- Women who sought help were most likely to turn to medical services, highlighting the need to ensure that healthcare professionals can address the needs of victims of violence.
- Two in five women were unaware of laws or political initiatives to protect them in cases of domestic violence; half were unaware of any preventative laws or initiatives.
- Over three in four women think violence against women is common in their country.
- About half of the women indicated that they had avoided public or private situations because they were afraid that they might be physically or sexually assaulted.
- Emerging forms of sexual harassment, through new technologies and media, concern young women in particular. Such forms of cyber harassment include receiving offensive and sexually explicit emails, SMS messages or social media posts.
The survey interviewed 42,000 women from the 27 EU Member States and Croatia, and is the first survey of its kind to systematically interview women about their experiences across 28 countries. It captured women’s experiences of gender-based violence, included experiences of sexual, physical and psychological abuse – ranging from ‘domestic violence’ to sexual harassment at work, and violence perpetrated by strangers. The survey also covered women’s experiences of stalking and cybercrime, and asked adult women about their childhood experiences of violence.