Violence against Women – Victim Support

The study on "Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the EU Member States: Violence against Women – Victim Support Report" presents the differences between Member States in relation to criminal statistics, legislative and policy measures to address domestic violence, and conducting prevalence surveys. It is based on a collection of primary and secondary data on support services for women survivors of intimate partner violence in Member States. The report analyses and assesses the progress made up to 2012 by the 28 Member States  on the range, number, extent, and use of support services recommended by indicator 3 (Victim Support) and its 13 sub-indicators in critical area D of BPfA, originally drawn up under the Danish Presidency (2002).

Main findings

  • Most Member States carried out prevalence surveys on violence against women during 2000-2011; only four Member states did not carry out prevalence surveys during this period.
  • Almost all Member States regularly collect official criminal statistics on violence against women but only nine Member States provide specific data on IPV based on the relationship between victim and perpetrator.
  • The most common victim support services available in the Member States are specialised legal advice and public information services (28 Member States).
  • Women’s shelters and women’s centres/services are widely available and can be found in over 80 % of Member States. In some Member States general shelters provide places for women survivors of violence. With one exception, all Member States have non-residential women’s counselling centres/services available or these types of services are provided by women’s shelters. The majority of women’s centres offer a wide range of support, including information, advice, advocacy, legal advice, counselling, resettlement support, and special child support.
  • Only eight Member States declared that they have special police units and seven Member States have specific labour programmes to help women survivors of violence enter or re-enter the labour market.
  • In 19 Member States, no special support services for women facing multiple discriminations were identified. 

Gaps in data collection

  • The existing legal definitions pertaining to violence against women operating in the 28 Member States influence the way such acts are presented in official crime statistics. The different legal definitions of VAW and the different methods of data collection and distribution prevent sufficient comparison between Member States.
  • Inconsistencies were found in definitions of different forms of violence by various stakeholders and service providers at the national level as well. The mandates of social support services also differ among Member States.
  • Some Member States collect data on VAW at regional or local level but these data are not centralised. Therefore data available at national level do not provide a complete picture in these Member States.
  • In the majority of Member States, there has been little evaluation of the use and quality of support services for women experiencing IPV/ domestic violence. Therefore no information is available about this issue.
  • Despite the emphasis placed on the importance of training professionals, this training is neither systematic nor mandatory for all professionals working with victims and perpetrators.