Research and Statistics

What is Violence Against Women and Girls?

We see our work as part of a broader movement to combat Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). VAWG  is “a widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violation in our world today” (The United Nations Declaration on the elimination of  violence against women).

The UN goes on to define VAWG as 

“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”.

Gender-based violence or VAW  is directed against women (and girls) because they are women. It occurs globally in many forms. It can be seen as both the cause and the consequence of gender inequality. 

It includes:
  • Domestic abuse and violence (physical, psychological, financial and sexual)
  • Sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment);
  • human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
  • female genital mutilation; and
  • child marriage.
Global statistics on Violence Against Women and Girls
  • 137 women are killed by a member of their family every day. It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (50,000) were killed by intimate partners or family members. More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner.

(United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Global Study on Homicide, 2019). Sexual violence statistics

  • Globally, 35 per cent of women have ever experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, or sexual violence by a non-partner. This figure does not include sexual harassment.

(World Health Organisation 2013) 

  • 15 million adolescent girls worldwide, aged 15–19 years, have experienced forced sex. In the vast majority of countries, adolescent girls are most at risk of forced sex (forced sexual intercourse or other sexual acts) by a current or former husband, partner, or boyfriend. Based on data from 30 countries, only one per cent have ever sought professional help

(UNICEF 2017)

Key statistics about rape and sexual violence in England and Wales.

In the year to the end of March 2017, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated:

  • 20% of women and 4% of men have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, equivalent to 3.4 million female and 631,000 male victims
  • 3.1% of women (510,000) and 0.8% of men (138,000) aged 16 to 59 had experienced a sexual assault in the last year. 

In January 2013, An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales, the first ever joint official statistics bulletin on sexual violence released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Home Office, revealed:

  • Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men (aged 16 – 59) experience rape, attempted rape or sexual assault by penetration in England and Wales alone every year; that’s roughly 11 of the most serious sexual offences (of adults alone) every hour. 
  • Only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence report to the police
  • Approximately 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence
Key statistics on Domestic Violence in the UK:
  • Almost one in three women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime

Office for National Statistics (2019) Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2019

  • Two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales alone

Office for National Statistics (2019) Homicide in England and Wales: year ending March 2018 (average taken over 10 years)

  • In the year ending March 2019, 1.6 million women experienced domestic abuse

Office for National Statistics (2019) Domestic abuse victim characteristics, England and Wales: year ending March 2019

Children and domestic violence
  • 20% of children in the UK have lived with an adult perpetrating domestic violence

NSPCC (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today; Research into the prevalence of child maltreatment in the United Kingdom

  • 62% of children in households where domestic violence is happening are also directly harmed, SafeLives (2015) Getting it right the first time
  • An estimated 39,000 babies under one year of age live with domestic violence in the UK
  • Between 2005 and 2015, 19 children in 12 families were killed by violent fathers who had been allowed to see them through formal and informal child contact arrangements

Women’s Aid (2016) 19 Child Homicides

More information on violence against women, domestic violence and sexual violence can be found at:

Research and Statistics


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