27% of women in Europe experience intimate partner violence and or non-partner violence

A new report released today, “Global and regional estimates of violence against women”, reveals that 27.2% of women in the WHO European Region have experienced either physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by someone other than a partner, or both, at some point in their lives.

Estimates for the European Region are based on data from low- and middle-income countries, while data from high-income countries are used for the global category covering countries from multiple geographical regions.

Developed by WHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council, the report presents the first global systematic review and synthesis of the body of scientific data on the prevalence of these two forms of violence against women.

Violence against women in the European Region

The report also shows that, during their lives:

  • 25.4% of women in the European Region experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner; and
  • 5.2% of women in the Region experience sexual violence from someone who is not their partner.

“These findings send a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “We also see that the world’s health systems can and must do more for women who experience violence.”

The report also reveals the impact of violence on women’s physical and mental health.

WHO has also released clinical and policy guidelines for the health sector on violence against women. They stress the importance of training health workers at all levels to recognize when women may be at risk of partner violence and know how to provide an appropriate response.