Violence affects one in three European women, says EU

A third of women in the EU have suffered sexual or physical violence, a new report has found

(Image credit: ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A THIRD of women in the European Union have experienced violence, according to a major new survey undertaken by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

The report found that one in three women over the age of 15 had experienced sexual or physical violence, and eight per cent had been affected within the past 12 months, The Guardian reports.

Morten Kjaerum, director of FRA, said: "Violence against women, and specifically gender-based violence that disproportionately affects women, is an extensive human rights abuse that the EU cannot afford to overlook."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The survey asked 42,000 women from the 28 EU member states about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including domestic violence. Questions were also asked about incidents of stalking, sexual harassment, and the role played by new technologies in women's experiences of abuse.

The survey also found that 43 per cent of women have experienced some form of psychological violence, and that one in 20 women had been raped. A significant percentage of abuse across the continent goes unreported and undetected, the report said.

In his foreword to the report, Kjaerum said that the results provide "ample support" for EU Member States to ratify the Council of Europe Istanbul convention that aims to prevent violence against women.

The FRA report, which ranks countries based on their responses to the survey, found that countries often regarded as leading the way in gender equality recorded the highest incidence of violence.

In Denmark 52 per cent of women said that they had suffered some form of abuse, in Finland it was 47 per cent and in Sweden 46 per cent. The UK had the joint fifth highest incidence of abuse, with 44 per cent of women reporting physical or sexual assault.

Kjaerum said that the results of the survey demanded action, and that women across the EU should be encouraged to report abuse and "speak up" especially in countries "where it is not yet widespread to openly talk about personal experiences of violence".

The FRA also urged men to consider the survey's findings. "Men need to be positively engaged in initiatives that confront how some men use violence against women," Kjaerum said.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.