MORE THAN ONE quarter of women in Europe experience physical or sexual violence from a partner at some stage in their lives, according to a new study by the World Health Organisation.
Another 5.2 per cent of women experience sexual violence from someone who isn’t their partner.
The study is the first system review of scientific data on the prevalence of violence against women. It was released to coincide with a conference taking place in Vienna on eliminating violence against women.
“Violence against women cannot be tolerated in any society,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, the Regional Director of the WHO in Europe.
“Eradicating violence requires determined efforts to promote gender equality, challenge gender stereotypes and work with women and girls – not only as victims of violence but as empowered agents of change,” she said.
Experts meeting in Vienna are calling on countries to adopt the new WHO guidelines to improve the recording of violence against women.
“We must bring to light this hidden crime and the many different forms that gender violence takes throughout the European Union, from physical and psychological abuse in partnerships, to sexual assault and rape, forced prostitution, trafficking in human beings and female genital mutilation,” said Thérese Murphy, the head of operations at the European Institute for Gender Equality in Lithuania.
The EU has said that developing policies to combat gender-based violence is a priority.