Domain of violence
Violence against women is one of the most pervasive crimes of our time. It takes many forms, including physical, sexual, psychological and economic. It can occur among intimate partners, in broader domestic, professional and public settings, and in virtual spaces. Ageing, living with a disability, being a foreigner and other life circumstances can increase women’s vulnerability to gender-based violence.
Freedom from violence and stereotyping is a key pillar of the 2020–2025 EU gender equality strategy. The EU strategy on victims’ rights (2020–2025) pays particular attention to the specific needs of victims of gender-based violence, building on the victims’ rights directive. In 2017, the EU signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention). The EU’s accession to the Convention is a key priority for the Commission.
The domain of violence is considered an additional domain of the Gender Equality Index. Its particular status stems from conceptual and statistical considerations. Violence against women is the most coercive manifestation of gender inequalities. It is a major cause and consequence of the structural inequalities women face in employment, income, education, power distribution, unpaid care and health. Therefore, it has an essential place in gender equality debates and monitoring. However, the domain of violence statistically focuses on violence against women, not gender gaps, and is treated differently to the other Index domains.
The domain is based on a stand-alone three-tier structure of measurement (EIGE, 2017a). It enables monitoring of the extent of various forms of violence against women, determination of contextual factors for inter-country comparison and evaluation of developments over time in the EU:
- A composite measure combines indicators on prevalence, severity and disclosure of the most common and widely criminalised forms of violence against women (physical violence, sexual violence and femicide). Based on data collected by FRA in 2012 (FRA, 2014), the EU composite measure score was 27.2 out of 100 (the higher the score, the greater the level of violence against women) (EIGE, 2017a). An update of this score will be available in 2024 following the completion of the next survey on violence against women led by Eurostat, complemented by a FRA and EIGE joint survey.
- Additional indicators cover a broader range of forms of violence against women defined in the Istanbul Convention. These forms of violence, for example psychological violence, sexual harassment, stalking and female genital mutilation (FGM), are analysed separately to the composite measure because of a lack of consensus on definitions or a strong policy framework at national or EU level.
- Contextual factors are structured around the Istanbul Convention provisions and cover six dimensions: policies, prevention, protection and support, substantive legislation, involvement of law enforcement agencies, and societal framework.
 The 2020–2025 EU gender equality strategy, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52020DC0152.
 The 2020–2025 EU strategy on victims’ rights, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52020DC0152.
 Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, https://rm.coe.int/
 Conceptually, acts of violence targeting women are the corollary of structural inequalities experienced by women in the fields of work, health, money, power, education and time use. From this point of view, violence against women brings an important aspect to the domains of the Gender Equality Index. From a statistical perspective, the domain of violence cannot be treated in the same way as the other domains of the Gender Equality Index because it does not measure gaps between women and men. Rather, it presents women’s experiences of gender-based violence. Unlike other domains, the overall objective is not to reduce the gaps in violence between women and men, but to eradicate violence altogether (EIGE, 2013, p. 31). This fundamental difference between the other domains of the Gender Equality Index and the violence against women domain justifies the fact that this domain is treated differently.
 The data collection phase is planned to take place between 2020 and 2022.
 FRA and EIGE will collect data on violence against women (VAW II survey) in those EU Member States where national statistical authorities are not conducting national data collection in the context of the ‘EU survey on gender-based violence against women and other forms of inter-personal violence’ (EU-GBV survey), as coordinated by Eurostat. This encompasses up to 10 EU Member States that are not participating in the Eurostat initiative. The data will be published in Gender Equality Index 2024.