New Report: Violence Against Women Prevalent Across Europe
Friday, March 7, 2014 3:10 PM

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reports that physical and sexual violence affects 62 million women across Europe. The FRA published its findings in March after conducting a landmark survey across 28 European Union (EU) member states and interviewing 42,000 women over the age of 15 about their experiences with physical, sexual and psychological abuse and harassment. Morten Kjaerum, director of FRA, says the results indicate an “extensive human rights abuse that the EU cannot afford to overlook."
Countries with the highest reported frequency of violence included Denmark at 52%, Finland at 47%, and Sweden at 46%. Poland had the lowest prevalence of reported violence against women, coming in at 19%. The report found one in three European women were victims of sexual or physical violence since age 15. One in 20 have been raped, while one third of that population has been raped over six times. The report found 22% of European women to have experienced partner abuse, and one in 10 have been stalked after a relationship ended. Of women who experienced domestic violence, 67% did not report the worst cases of abuse to the police or other authorities. In evaluating these statistics, the report's authors cautioned that they did not control for variations across nations and cultures as to what constitutes abuse, which might lead to under-reporting in some countries. 
Given the pervasiveness of this human rights abuse in Europe, "[m]easures tackling violence against women need to be taken to a new level now," said FRA director Kjaerum. The FRA called on all EU member states to ratify the Council of Europe's Convention on combatting and preventing violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul convention), and to treat domestic violence as a serious public matter, rather than a private issue to be ignored. The FRA also requested action from both private and public organizations to further women’s access to health and other social and support services, and to take measures to address cyberstalking and harassment. The FRA says victims must be encouraged to speak up and this message should come from multiple sources including awareness and preventative programs that would extend the conversation to men in order to effectively combat violence against women.
Compiled by: Martinson, Jane, Report reveals 'extensive' violence against women in EU, The Guardian (March 4, 2014); Violence against Women: every day and everywhere, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (March 5, 2014)