Launch of EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) Violence Against Women: EU Wide Survey

Launch of EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) Violence Against Women: an EU wide survey

RCNI, as the national Institute on Rape and Sexual violence and the lead national agency on data collection are delighted to be partnering with Safe Ireland, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and the National Women’s Council of Ireland today to launch the 1st Europe wide prevalence study of domestic and sexual violence ‘Violence against women: an EU wide survey.’

In light of these findings the RCNI calls on the Irish government to protect all funding to front line services and the vital support to those services which is the RCNI and Safe Ireland.

Fiona Neary, RCNI Director said, ‘This survey confirms that sexual violence against women and girls is pervasive and pandemic across Europe with 8% of Irish women saying they had experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 as against the European average of 11%.

‘Since 2009 core funding for rape crisis frontline services has been cut by 16.5% with further cuts confirmed for 2014. These cuts were to a sector that was already chronically under resourced and have been so unevenly distributed that in fact the Centre with the lowest funding was cut by over 30%.  At the same time secondary sources of funding, such as public donations and programme grants have also been severely reduced or stopped.

‘Ireland must continue to build on the work that has started – the on-going cuts to services and insecurity of national data collection programmes must be addressed by the state immediately, the challenge is to build on this foundation to work alongside the RCNI and the Rape Crisis sector to create the infrastructure and the cultural change that will prevent rape and sexual violence.’

‘The research finds that women and girls in different countries have a wide variety of experiences. It is clear that prevalence studies on violence against women simultaneously measure not only prevalence but also, to a greater or lesser extent, a country’s attitude towards talking about these crimes.

‘In some EU Member States it remains a taboo to talk about sexual violence, especially sexual violence within the family. The majority of Irish women who had experienced sexual violence from a non partner who did not go to the police (48%) or any other services (66%) said this was because they would deal with it themselves or because the perpetrator was a friend or it was a family matter. Women named a very high level of fear of assault in our society (28% saying they feared assault in the past 12 months) with surprising numbers of women in work reporting harassment (55% of women experienced sexual harassment, 32% were harassed by a boss, colleague or customer).

Without concerted intervention Ireland will remain a country where women feel they have no choice but to face sexual violence alone.  Until our families, schools, health care and other institutions name sexual violence, we should not expect girls and women who are victimised to do so.’

‘RCNI calls on the Irish government to respond to FRA conclusions, that adequately resourcing responses to victims and supporting systematic evidence generation is vital. The practice of passing the responsibility for this issue to limited remit agencies and departments resulting in gaps and missed opportunities must end. Whole of government action is needed to bring about credible long-term prevention work across all age groups in all statutory settings.


FRA, Violence Against Women: an EU wide survey, is available here 

FRA findings on Sexual Violence Occurrence Ireland Average (%) EU Average (%)
Sexual violence by a partner or a non-partner since the age of 15 8 11
Sexual violence by a partner since the age of 15 6 7
Sexual violence by a non-partner since the age of 15 7 6
Number of perpetrators in the most serious incident of physical and/or sexual violence by a non-partner3 or more perpetrators

2 or more perpetrators

1 perpetrator

101277 8884
Reasons for not contacting the police following the most serious incident of physical and/or sexual violence by a non-partner since the age of 15?Deal with it myself/involved a friend/family matter

Shame, embarrassment?





Experiencing any form of stalking since the age of 15
Experiencing stalking in the form of cyberstalking since the age of 15
Experiencing any form of sexual harassment:Since the age of 15

Six most severe forms*

In the past 12 months

Six most severe forms*                                               









Worrying about being physically or sexually assaulted by any
in the 12 months prior to the interviewBy someone from work, school or trainingBy a previous partner

By another acquaintance or a friend

By an unknown person







Avoiding places or situations for fear of being physically or sexually assaulted in the 12 months prior to the interviewAvoiding to leave the home on her own

Avoiding to be alone with a colleague or boss at workAvoiding to take certain streets or going to certain areas





* The six (out of total of 11) most severe forms of sexual harassment were considered: 1) Unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing, 2) Sexually suggestive comments or jokes that made you feel offended, 3) Somebody sending or showing you sexually explicit pictures, photos or gifts that made you feel offended, 4) Somebody indecently exposing themselves to you, 5) Somebody made you watch or look at pornographic material against your wishes, 6) Unwanted sexually explicit emails or SMS messages that offended you.

Copyright © 2012 European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights