Women with disabilities more likely to experience violence

On 26 February, the European Parliament endorsed amendments to the proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ website put forward by the European Commission in December 2012.

Women with disabilities more likely to experience violence
etr ‘Fundamental Rights Agency’

is an organisation which check how people in Europe

can use their rights.


They made a report about women.

They checked if women are treated badly.

They found out that many women with disabilities

are treated badly or hurt.

Governments must make sure that all women are safe.


FRA logo “ ‘Violence against women’ means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Article 1, 1993 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women

Fundamental Rights Agency released a report providing the main results of the survey on the violence against women in the EU. The researchers interviewed 42,000 women across the 28 Member States of the European Union, asking women about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence. The responders reported experiences of stalking, sexual harassment as well as abuse in childhood. 

The results show that extensive gender-based violence persists in the EU member countries. 34% of women with disabilities reported having experienced some form of physical or sexual violence since the age of fifteen, compared to 19% of women without disabilities. Moreover, 46% of women with disabilities said they suffered from a physical, sexual or psychological violence before the age of 15.

When it comes to psychological violence and harassment, the numbers are even higher. 61% of women with disabilities faced a sexual harassment since the age of 15. Stalking was experienced by 26% of respondents with disability.

The responders with a disability expressed that their disability limits them in exercising some everyday activities on equal basis with other women. The FRA indicates that the differences are most evident among young women (18- to 29-year-olds), where women with disabilities are more likely to become victims of physical and/or sexual part­ner or non-partner violence, sexual harassment and stalking. With increasing age, the gap between disabled and non-disabled women diminishes and women indicate experiencing violence regardless of their disability.

The lack of data on violence against women was the main incentive for the FRA to undertake the survey. The results should serve for future EU strategies on equality between women and men and to put pressure on EU member states to ratify the Council of Europe Convention Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

Read the full text of FRA report on violence against women here.

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