The EU has long recognised that violence against women is a violation of human rights and a form of gender-based discrimination that has a major negative impact on victims and significant costs for society. Women are most likely to face violence at the hands of someone they know, with one in five having experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

As women are disproportionately affected by intimate partner violence, this report will focus on women victims. While the principal duty to protect women from violence lies with the state, the perception that intimate partner violence is ‘a private matter’ needs to change across society, on an individual level as well as in the private, professional and public spheres.

This report examines the factors that encourage witnesses of intimate partner violence to intervene (including reporting the violence to the relevant authorities). It draws on EU-wide desk research and in-depth qualitative research in Denmark, Germany, France and Portugal.

As the desk research found a lack of data and evidence examining witnesses’ support for victims of intimate partner violence, this report provides new evidence on when witnesses intervene and in which types of environment.

Further reading

Press release: Covid-19 wave of violence against women shows EU countries still lack proper safeguards 

EIGE's resources on gender-based violence