General definition

Physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence between current or former spouses as well as current or former partners. It constitutes a form of violence which affects women disproportionately and which is therefore distinctly gendered.

Statistical definition

Any act of 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.

Additional notes and information

General definition: The resulting feelings of shame, fear and helplessness lead to low levels of reporting and, subsequently, relatively few convictions.

The largest burden of intimate partner violence is inflicted by men against their women partners.

The purpose of a separate statistical definition is to aid the EU Member States in collecting comparable administrative data on violence against women.


General definition

Council of Europe (2011). Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and its Explanatory Report.

Statistical definition

European Institute for Gender Equality (2017). Glossary of definitions of rape, femicide and intimate partner violence. See a list of Member State definitions here.