Mapping the current status and potential of administrative data sources on gender-based violence in the EU

The main aims of the study was to map the key administrative data sources and statistical products created from administrative data on gender-based violence in the 28 EU Member States, and also to analyse their relevance, reliability and quality. The study focused on five classifications of violence against women: intimate partner violence (all types); sexual violence (outside intimate relationship), which includes: rape; sexual assault (excluding rape); sexual harassment; and stalking. For the purposes of this report, five main sectors were considered: police, justice, health, social services, and a fifth category named “other”. This last sector includes institutions such as Civil Society Organisations, administrative bodies, (i.e. ministries of labour or gender equality) or independent institutions (i.e. ombudsperson) that do not fall under any of the previous categories.

Main findings

  • Administrative data on gender-based violence are not originally or primarily collected for statistical purposes, but for the internal use of the institutions or agencies in order to monitor their activities. They do not measure the true extent of gender-based violence due to unreported incidents. However, they can provide detailed information on how judicial, police, health and social services respond to gender-based violence, which can support the development and assessment of appropriate policies and measures to prevent and combat gender-based violence against women across the European Union.
  • Of the 144 administrative data sources identified, the majority record incidents related to intimate partner violence, rape and sexual assault. Fewer sources of administrative data cover sexual harassment and stalking.
  • Intimate partner violence is broadly covered by police data sources across 28 EU Member States, followed by justice services and social services (16 Member States in each sector).
  • Rape and sexual assault are broadly covered by police data sources (representing 23 and 26 Member States respectively) and justice sectors (representing 20 Member States covering rape and 18 Member States covering sexual assault).
  • In half of the Member States the police system is recording the age and sex of victim and perpetrator, as well as the type of relationship between them, which enable the detection of all incidents related to intimate partner violence.
  • The use of an internationally accepted coding system within and across sectors would support the harmonisation of data, enabling quick and easy access to, and analysis of, information.
  • The majority of statistical products based on administrative data identified in EU Member States collect data on intimate partner violence, rape and sexual assault while stalking and sexual harassment are only covered by a limited number of statistical products. 

Gaps in data collection

  • Substantial differences in legal definitions of forms of gender-based violence prevent measurement in a comparable way across the EU Member States.
  • Criminalised incidents are more likely to be recorded by administrative data sources. Therefore, sexual harassment and stalking are covered by fewer administrative agencies and thus there is less data available on these forms of GBV.
  • The regulation and collection of administrative data is hampered by a lack of specific intersectoral mechanisms for, coordinating the process.
  • The decentralisation of collecting, coordinating and compiling data on gender-based violence incidents makes comparison of data across different levels difficult.
  • Confidentiality rules represent an important obstacle faced by data compilers, especially with information from health and social services.
  • The lack of a coding system to register data on violence against women used systematically within and across agencies is a serious limit for harmonisation of administrative data.
  • In many Member States administrative data are not disaggregated by sex of victim and perpetrator, type of violence, or by the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, thus making it difficult to specifically detect incidents of GBV.
  • Quality of data in social services needs to be improved in order to collect comparable data related to gender-based violence across the European Union.

Database of administrative data sources and statistical products on gender-based violence in the EU