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Violence against women: an EU-wide survey. Main results report

A new report of the Agency for Fundamental Rights of the European Union (FRA) presents results from the world’s biggest-ever survey on violence against women, revealing the extent of abuse suffered by women at home, at work, in public and online. The report is based on interviews with 42.000 women, 1500 women in each country including Romania.

According to the report, most women stating they have suffered experiences of physical and sexual violence are in countries like Finland, Denmark and Latvia. Romania is in a second group of countries meeting the European average with 30% of women stating that they have suffered physical or sexual violence after the age of 15:

          24% of women in Romania have suffered partner violence

          14% of women in Romania have suffered violence from a non-partner

As for childhood experiences, 24% of women in Romania say they have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by an adult before the age of 15. Psychological violence affects between 30 and 39% of women. 6% of women suffered sexual violence from either a partner or non-partner, and in 97% of the cases of sexual violence the perpetrator was a man.  While on average in Europe 55% of women have experienced a form of sexual harassment, in Romania 32% of the respondents indicated having been subjected to sexual harassment at one point in life, 11% in the last 12 months. As for stalking, often associated with separation from a violent partner, the European average is 18%, while in Romania 8% of the respondents indicated this experience.

The study allows for the first time a comparison between EU countries. But before jumping to conclusions, the following aspects have to be considered:

          The study outcome are influenced by the extent to which it is culturally acceptable in a given country to talk to other people about experiences of violence against women, including to survey interviewers; in Romania sharing such experiences is often a cultural tabu.

          Higher levels of gender equality could lead to higher levels of disclosure about violence against women, as incidents of violence against women are more likely to be openly addressed and challenged in societies with greater equality where women know their rights and do not fear that by revealing violence they risk even more danger, as there are mechanisms in place to protect them. This seems to be a real problem in Romania.

The study shows that trust and access to information are real issues preventing women in Romania to speak up. While 77% of women think that violence against women is common and very common and 28% of them know themselves victims of violence among their relatives and friends, only 47% of women were aware about a law protecting them against violence. 74% of the women were not aware of any specialized support service. What is most concerning, only 17% of the respondents had contacted the police as a result of the most severe incident of violence and only 1% had contacted social services. The European average of addressability to Police and services is 33%.

The FRA report recommends that decision factors have to acknowledge the extent of violence against women and to ensure that measures adopted work in practice and not just on paper in response to the needs and rights of all victims of violence against women. Romanian non-governmental organizations active in prevention and combating of violence against women demand the following measures be taken by authorities:  

          Romania should ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention).

          Romanian Government should allocate national funding for prevention and combating of violence against women in order to ensure access to specialized services to women in all areas of the country. The state has a responsibility to ensure co-financing for the sustainability of specialized services operated by NGOs. These services have the longest experience (first shelters were opened by NGOs in Romania in 1998) and concentrate qualified professional expertize.

          Police, healthcare professionals, employers and specialist victim support services need to be trained, properly resourced and given the necessary powers to reach out to victims.

          Romania lacks a helpline specialized on violence against women. Such a service for information and referall of victims of services should be a national priority.

Contact information for specialized services for violence against women:


Service operator



Sensi Blu Foundation

0213 114 636



0212 525 117



0232 252 920

Targu Mures


0265 255 532



0753 893 531

Baia Mare

Centru Artemis

0262 250 770



0256 293 183


Pas Alternativ

0745 852 646

Contacts to other services: http://transcena.ro/index.php/lista-contactelor-utile/

Details on the launching event of the FRA Report http://fra.europa.eu/en/event/2014/fra-present-findings-its-eu-wide-survey-violence-against-women

 Organizations signing, representatives:

Asociația pentru Libertate și Egalitate de Gen – A.L.E.G.  – Camelia Proca,

Fundatia Centrul de Mediere si Securitate Comunitara – CMSC – Laura Albu

Asociatia Romanian Women’s Lobby – ROWL – Dina Loghin

Asociaţia Front – Tudorina Mihai

CPE – Centrul Parteneriat pentru Egalitate – Irina Sorescu

Centrul FILIA – Andreea Bragă

Asociaţia Transcena – Mihaela Săsărman

Asociaţia Anais – Mihaela Mangu

Institutul Est European de Sanatate a Reproducerii,IEESR- Elena Micheu