Violence Against Women In EU Is 'Extensive'
One third of European women, or around 62 million, have been physically or sexually abused.
The EU-wide survey of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows that one in three women reported some form of physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15 and 8% suffered abuse in the last 12 months, preceding the survey, which was done in 2012. It is based on interviews with 42 000 women aged 18-74, across all EU member states.
The survey asked women about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including incidents of intimate partner violence (‘domestic violence’), and also asked about 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. What emerges is a picture of extensive abuse that affects many women’s lives, but is systematically under-reported to the authorities.
The survey shows that one in 10 women have been stalked by a previous partner.
Most violence is carried out by a current or former partner, with 22% of women in relationships reporting partner abuse.
About one third (31%) who report being raped by a partner have been repeatedly raped, which the report defines as six or more times.
Violence against women is one of the least reported crimes. Only 14% of women reported their most serious incident of partner violence to the police, while a similar percentage (13%) reported their most serious incident of non-partner violence.
Just over one in 10 women experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before they were 15.
The report ranks countries in order depending on the responses to the survey. In three countries often praised for their gender equality, for example, high numbers of women report suffering violence since the age of 15: in Denmark 52%, Finland 47%, and Sweden 46% of women say they have suffered physical or sexual violence.
Poland, Austria and Croatia are the countries with lowest number of incidents of violence against women with about 20%.
In Bulgaria 30% of the surveyed women reported that they have been subject to violence.
However, campaigners to end violence against women advised caution in reporting country-wide differences, given different levels of awareness of what constitutes abuse.
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