What is the nature and scale of violence against women in the EU?

How market research allowed the EU Fundamental Rights Agency to make policy recommendations to combat violence against women

By Ipsos, a leading worldwide market research company.


Gathering reliable data for policy-making

In 2010, the EU Council and Parliament requested collection of comparable data on gender-based violence against women, which had been previously lacking. Ipsos helped FRA to gather the first EU-wide dataset on the extent, nature and consequences of violence against women, as reported by women.


Face-to-face interviews and surveys

In 2012, the study consisted of face-to-face interviews with more than 42,000 women aged 18-74, across the 28 EU member states. There were 1,500 respondents per country (with the exception of Luxembourg, with 900 respondents). The sample was representative of the EU and of the national member state population. To ensure comparability, FRA carried out a pilot study in 2010-2011 in six Member States - Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain. The standardized survey included questions about physical, sexual and psychological violence, childhood victimisation, sexual harassment and stalking (including the role of new media such as the internet).

So what?

Data for evidence-based policy-making

The study and the published report provide important information to inform public policy. As violence against women is systematically underreported, made apparent in these findings, the scale of the issue is not reflected in official data and a systematic study like this one is needed to have access to accurate information. The information collected has also allowed the FRA to make a number of recommendations on how to address this issue and better protect the human rights of women in the EU. The data has been made public and data visualisation tools on FRA’s website make it easily accessible to everyone. By providing these empirical numbers in a clear and interactive way, FRA allows for this study to raise awareness around the issue of violence against women and galvanise action at the individual level.

The dataset collected can be used to establish an index to track the evolution of violence against women in the EU, as well as the impact of new legislation, by comparing future numbers.