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Comparable Data is key to tackling Violence against Women

Although administrative data on violence against women is collected in all EU Member States, their usefulness for policy-making is limited by insufficient comparability. Police and Justice are best in collecting data concerning violence against women, but the data collected are not always sex-disaggregated and therefore inefficient for use by EU legislative bodies. This is one of the main conclusions of a study by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) „Administrative data sources on gender-based violence against women in the EU: current status and potential for collection of comparable data”.

On 8 December representatives of Police and Justice of the 28 Member States, in the presence of a representative of the Presidency of Italy, the European Commission, and other key personnel working in the area of gender-based violence gather at the Council of the European Union, to discuss how data collected by institutions connected to incidents on gender based violence could be harmonised. “Experienced professionals on the ground are best placed to indicate how data can be collected more efficiently to help governments identify the challenges and plan right measures to ensure a society free from violence against women“, claims Virginija Langbakk, Director of EIGE.

The eradication of violence against women is a declared goal of the European Commission and EU Member States. This commitment is affirmed in the European Commission’s Women’s Charter (2010)1, the European Pact for Gender Equality 2011-20202, the European Commission’s Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-15, and the Stockholm Programme 2010-14.

In recent years the European Institutions have expressed their wish to strengthen their efforts in eliminating violence against women (gender-based violence). For EU-policies to be efficient, the Institutions need evidence in the form of comparable and harmonised data on prevalence, criminal statistics, and information collected in all sectors related to this area.

In 2013 EIGE launched the study “Administrative data sources on gender-based violence against women in the EU” to find out what type of administrative data are being gathered in the EU-28 and how. Administrative data provide detailed information on how justice, police, health, social services and related institutions deal with prevention, protection and prosecution of incidents. The study analyses 144 administrative data sources with a national scope and 90 related statistical products.

The results show that Police and Justice are well advanced in the collection, production and provision of administrative data on violence against women in all the EU Member States. There is also a lack of specific mechanisms for systematic data collection. “A better coordination of the collection of data amongst the Member States and a better use of criminal statistics would further improve the usability of the data for policy making on EU-level”, specifies the Director of EIGE, Virginija Langbakk.

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