Domestic Violence Against Women

Domestic Violence Against WomenA World Health Organisation report ? published in June 2013 by the WHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) presented the first global systematic review of scientific data on the prevalence of two forms of violence against women: Violence by an intimate partner (intimate partner violence) and Sexual Violence by someone other than a partner (non-partner sexual violence).

The key findings of this report were:
38% of all women murdered were killed by their partners.
42% of women physically or sexually abused by partners had injuries as a result.
Violence by an intimate partner is the most common type of abuse, affecting 30% of women across the globe.
Victims of non-partner attacks were 2.6 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety compared with women who had not experienced violence.
Those abused by their partners were almost twice as likely to have similar problems.
Victims were more likely to have alcohol problems, abortions and acquire sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

The study culminated in a call for the toleration of violence against women to be halted worldwide.

Report co-author Prof Charlotte Watts from the LSHTM said; “This new data shows that violence against women is extremely common. We urgently need to invest in prevention to address the underlying causes of this global women’s health problem.”

World Health Organisation head, Margaret Chan, stated violence against women was “a global health problem of epidemic proportions”.

In 2014, an FRA (the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights) survey of 42,000 women across 28 EU member states, reported;

  • One in 10 women have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, while one in 20 has been raped.
  • 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.

These statistics prompted Morten Kjaerum, Director of FRA to state “Violence against women, and specifically gender-based violence that disproportionately affects women, is an extensive human rights abuse that the EU cannot afford to overlook.”

Violence against women is so prolific on a world-wide scale that the United Nations General Assembly has designated the 25th November as the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” and has asked for Governments, relevant agencies, bodies, and other international organisations and non-governmental organisations, to organise activities on the 25th November designed to raise public awareness of the problem of violence against women.

In the UK, recent studies into violence against women are hard to come by however it is recognised that police receive a call from the public for assistance for domestic violence every minute of every day. It is estimated that every 20 seconds a woman in the UK is hit by her partner.? 3 in 10 women using health services have been hurt by someone they know or live with ? and almost a third of domestic violence starts during pregnancy, and existing violence often escalates during it. ?

Many of the studies conducted into violence against women have tried to make sense of the male’s actions citing alcoholism, stress from work, depression, peer pressure, retirement and unemployment as factors to blame for instigating the violence however it should be noted that in almost 50% of these cases the women described the violence as their partner’s “normal behaviour”.

For help, advice or further information regarding Domestic Violence Against Women, contact Women’s Aid or if you want to take part in one of our “Personal Safety for Women” courses, contact The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety via our contact page.