Collecting data on violence presents long-standing challenges

Across the three levels that comprise the domain of violence’s measurement framework, recent data is available only for femicide. This form of violence is commonly understood as ‘the killing of a woman in the context of intimate partner violence’ (EIGE, 2017a, p. 4), but there is no legal definition of femicide as a criminal offence, either at EU or Member State level (Schröttle and Meshkova, 2018).

This implies that capturing the current situation requires a proxy (albeit one that is unable to account for the motive of the killing): the number of female victims of intentional homicide killed by an intimate partner or family member (EIGE, 2018c). In 2017, Eurostat recorded 854 women victims of homicide by a family member or intimate partner[1]. The country with the highest rate of femicide (calculated per 100 000 women) was Latvia, while the lowest rate was recorded in Greece (Figure 24).

These figures should be read in the light of the fact that Eurostat data is based on harmonised national police statistics, which can differ in their methods of collection and aggregation (Corradi et al., 2018). Another caveat to consider is the fact that violence against women is universally under-reported; therefore, the data is unable to capture the ‘grey zone’ resulting from the difference between actual prevalence and disclosed violence (EIGE, 2016; Walklate et al., 2019).

Figure 24. Women victims of intentional homicide by an intimate partner or family member (per 100 000 female population), 2017

For the other forms of violence, no new data has become available since the publication of the Gender Equality Index 2019, except for some new insights into trafficking in human beings. Data presented by the Council of Europe in its latest general report on the activity of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings revealed that in the EU the number of identified victims of trafficking rose from 9 510 in 2015 to 14 363 in 2018: an increase of 51 %.

The numbers are not directly comparable between countries, because of different collection and registration methods and difficulties in the process of identifying victims, and nor are they disaggregated by gender. The Council of Europe also highlighted that these data presents an underestimation of the problem (the hidden nature of which makes it extremely hard to measure).