Violence against women and girls and gender-based violence is a cause and effect of gender inequality and the power imbalance between women and men, and one of the most widespread violations of human rights.

This deeply entrenched phenomenon requires a coordinated and targeted prevention and policy response based on reliable and comparable data and evidence.

Over the past years, EU candidate countries and potential candidates from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo1, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia) and Türkiye have strengthened their data collection on violence against women (VAW), contributing to a better understanding of patterns and trends and providing much-needed data for evidence-based policymaking.

However, gaps in comprehensive, disaggregated data on various forms of VAW still pose a barrier to fully understanding the scope and scale of VAW in each country or region.

This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence