Violence against women is widespread in Europe and has gone grossly under-reported so far, according to an EU-wide survey, the first of its kind.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released the results of the world’s biggest-ever survey on violence against women, carried out across all 28 EU member states. The report exposes the vast extent of abuse suffered by European women at home, at work, in public and online.
It shows how both adult women and girls experience widespread physical and sexual violence of some kind. One in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15; one in five women has experienced stalking and every second woman has been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment.
Only 14% of women reported their most serious incident of domestic violence and just 13% reported their most serious incident of non-domestic violence to the police. FRA Director Morten Kjaerum said the survey’s results show “an extensive human rights abuse in all EU Member States”, and asked for measures tackling violence against women to be taken to a “new level”.
Kjaerum says the enormity of the problem proves that violence doesn’t affect just a few women in Europe but has a wider social impact. Apart form suggesting policy changes at the EU-level, the report points out that men need to be engaged in initiatives that confront how some men use violence against women.
The FRA report also recommends police sensitisation towards victims to be able to recognise, record and act on all forms of violence against women (and girls).
It also calls for special support to assist victims who suffer from self-blame or a sense of shame in the aftermath of victimisation.