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This FRA survey is the first of its kind on violence against women across the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU). It is based on interviews with 42,000 women across the EU, who were asked about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including incidents of intimate partner violence (‘domestic violence’).

The survey also included questions on stalking, sexual harassment, and the role played by new technologies in women’s experiences of abuse. In addition, it asked about their experiences of violence in childhood. Based on the detailed findings, FRA suggests courses of action in different areas that are touched by violence against women and go beyond the narrow confines of criminal law, ranging from employment and health to the medium of new technologies.

Main findings from the report (link to pdf).

Extent of the problem

  • An estimated 13 million women in the EU have experienced physical violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews.
  • An estimated 3.7 million women in the EU have experienced sexual violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews.

Overall prevalence of physical and sexual violence

  • One in three women (33 %) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since she was 15 years old.
  • Some 8 % of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months before the survey interview.
  • Out of all women who have a (current or previous) partner, 22 % have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner since the age of 15.

Characteristics of physical violence

  • Some 31 % of women have experienced one or more acts of physical violence since the age of 15. While women are most likely to indicate that they were pushed or shoved, excluding this form of violence has only a limited effect on the overall prevalence of physical violence, bringing it down from 31 % to 25 %. This result reflects the fact that many women who say they have been pushed or shoved have also experienced other forms of physical violence.

Characteristics of sexual violence

  • In total, 11 % of women have experienced some form of sexual violence since they were 15 years old, either by a partner or some other person.
  • One in 20 women (5 %) has been raped since the age of 15.
  • Of those women who indicate they have been victims of sexual violence by a non-partner, almost one in 10 women indicates that more than one perpetrator was involved in the incident when describing the details of the most serious incident of sexual violence they have experienced.

Details of intimate partner violence

  • One third of victims (34 %) of physical violence by a previous partner experienced four or more different forms of physical violence.
  • The most common forms of physical violence involve pushing or shoving, slapping or grabbing, or pulling a woman’s hair.
  • Whereas in most cases violence by a previous partner occurred during the relationship, one in six women (16 %) who has been victimised by a previous partner experienced violence after the relationship had broken up.
  • Of those women who experienced violence by a previous partner and were pregnant during this relationship, 42 % experienced violence by this previous partner while pregnant. In comparison, 20 % experienced violence by their current partner while pregnant.

Details of non-partner violence

  • One in five women (22%) has experienced physical violence by someone other than their partner since the age of 15.

Violence against women: an EU-wide survey: main results report