Woman forensic analyst

Spikes in domestic violence reports during Covid-19 lockdowns have been a sad reminder that, across the world, women frequently face the most danger from people they know. Yet when it comes to intimate partner violence, each EU Member State collects data in a different way. 

To help Member States measure the incidence of intimate partner violence, EIGE has developed 13 indicators to enable the collection of comparable data. EIGE defines intimate partner violence as: 

“physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occurs between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim.”

EIGE has collected new data to populate these indicators, which shows the following:  

Data availability varies across Member States 

Data for the number of women victims of intimate partner femicide (see Figure 1), is available for the majority of Member States and comparable for 14 (see below for an in-depth look at what the data for this indicator can tell us). Data for this indicator has the highest comparability.  

However, data for the number of women victims of economic intimate partner violence (see Figure 1) is unavailable for the majority of Member States, and only one Member State has been able to provide data fully aligned with EIGE’s indicator. Data for this indicator has the lowest comparability.  

This could be because: 

  • It is easier to prove the killing of a woman than to prove a case of economic violence.  
  • Physical, sexual and psychological violence are penalised in the majority of Member States, which is not the case with economic violence.  
  • There is low public awareness of economic violence as a crime or as a form of intimate partner violence. 

Data collected by the justice sector tells a less complete picture  

Indicators related to the justice sector are also less well populated than those related to the police. This is partly because the justice sector is mainly focused on perpetrators and lacks information on victims.

Data that is critical for understanding whether a crime was a case of intimate partner violence, such as the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, is often missing.  

Data availability and comparability is very slowly improving

Data availability and comparability has been slowly improving since 2014. Some Member States, such as Czechia, Germany and Slovenia, have made significant efforts to collect and successfully share comparable data that adhere to EIGE’s indicators.

Figure 1: Number of jurisdictions with comparable, not comparable, and not available data on intimate partner violence (IPV), collected from police and justice national administrative sources from 2014 until 2018.

Note: the number of jurisdictions add up to 30 and not 28 (the official number of Member States till 2018) as three different jurisdictions exist in the UK (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland).

There could be breaks in the time series of data collection as the definition and/or the recording practice in a jurisdiction changed. In the graph, the number of jurisdictions that provided comparable data includes all the countries which have been able to populate the indicator for at least one year.

Femicide: Taking a closer look at the data 


EIGE’s indicator on the number of victims of intimate femicide as a share of women victims of homicide is one of the most populated indicators. For 2018, EIGE received comparable data from 10 countries. 

Figure 2 shows the number of victims of intimate femicide with each country’s female population size taken into account to further facilitate comparability. For example, when looking at the data through this lens, we see that in 2018 two women were recorded as victims of femicide in Malta, 18 in Finland and 122 in Germany. However, the incidence of this problem is higher in Malta (1 victim of intimate femicide per 100,000 women) than in Finland (0.8 per 100,000) or Germany (0.3 per 100,000). 

Figure 2: Women victims of intimate femicide (aged 18 and over) committed by a male intimate partner (aged 18 and over) per 100,000 female population, 2018

Note: The number in brackets along the y-axis is the headcount number of women victims of intimate femicide for the corresponding jurisdiction. UKSCT refers to Scotland. Data for UKSCT, FR, NL refer to 2017.

The data examined in this Data Talk adheres to EIGE’s definition of intimate partner violence, making it a unique data source. 

Further information   

EIGE’s Gender Statistics Database: 13 indicators on intimate partner violence

Fact sheet: The role of the police in administrative data collection

Fact sheet: The role of the judiciary in administrative data collection

Methodological report