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Key Facts and Figures

“they happen in my country, too. In my town, around my corner”

  • 35% of women globally have experienced intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. In some countries, this increases to as much as 70% [1].

Domestic Violence / Intimate Partner Violence

  • 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not a criminal offence [2].
  • Intimate partner violence is the most prevalent form of VAWG [3].
  • In Africa, the East Mediterranean, and South East Asia, approximately 37% of ever-partnered women reported having experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime [4].
  • The annual cost of intimate partner violence has been estimated at $5.8 billion USD in the US, £22.9 billion in England and Wales, and $13.6 billion AUS in Australia [5].
  • Studies suggest that as many as half of all female homicide victims are killed by their current or former partners [6].

Girls and Violence

  • Every year, 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or on their way to school [7].
  • In the US, 83% of girls attending public school reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment. In Malawi, half of all schoolgirls had experienced sexual violence in school [8].
  • More than 64 million girls worldwide are child brides [9].
  • 140 million girls and women have experienced FGM/C [10].

Human Trafficking

  • Women and girls represent 55% of the estimated 20.9 million persons trafficked into forced labour worldwide, and 98% of the 4.5 million trafficked for sexual exploitation [11].

Sexual Violence during Conflict

  • Conflict increases risks exponentially – it is estimated that 20,000-50,000 women were systematically raped during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina [12] and 250,000-500,000 in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
  • Of those raped in the Rwandan genocide who survived, 7 in 10 are now living with HIV” [13].

A Global Epidemic

A ground-breaking study undertaken by the WHO was recently released. Using an ecological, public health approach to the research, this report is solidly evidence based and provides accurate and scientific facts and conclusions.

  • Of significant interest is the work done to identify several common risk factors for potential victim/survivors and perpetrators:
  • Low education is a major factor for perpetrators
  • Low education is also a known factor for increasing risk for women and girls
  • Witnessing family violence and exposure to child mistreatment is a risk for perpetrators and victim/survivors
  • Weak legal sanctions are associated with increased risk

It is clear that the more we learn about violence against women and girls and the more attention we pay to this issue, the more and more we see just how widespread this epidemic is. It happens everywhere and takes many, many different forms. But the outcome is always the same – it hurts women and girls, it hurts families, it hurts communities, and it hurts our world. There are no positive outcomes, EVER, of violence against women and girls.


1. World Health Organization, Global and Regional Estimates of Violence against Women, 2013 –, p2.

[2] UNITE Report: A Promise is a Promise, p.2.

[3] UN Report: ‘Ending Violence against Women: From Words to Action. Study of the Secretary General Fact Sheet, 2006.

[4] WHO Report:’Global and Regional Estimates of Violence against Women’ 2013, p.16.

[5] Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, p. 2, Atlanta, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cited in UN General Assembly, 2006, “In-depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women: Report of the Secretary-General,” A/61/122/Add.1, p. 137 – See more at:

[6] Krug EG et al, World report on violence and health. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2002.

[7] ActionAid Report: Destined to Fail, How Violence against Women is undoing Development, 2013 p.1.

[8] As above, p.37.

[9] United Nations Report: From Invisible to Indivisible: Promoting and Protecting the Right of the Girl Child to be Free from Violence, p.29.

[10] World Health Organisation Report: Female Mutiliation: Fact Sheet No. 241, 2012.

[11] International Labour Organisation Report: ‘ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour: Results and Methodology’, 2012, p.14

[12] Ward, J on behalf of the Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium’Bosnia and Herzergovina, Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Refugee, Intenally Displaced, and Post Conflict Settings, 2002, p.81.

[13] UN Report on the ‘Situation of Human Rights in Rwanda’, 1996, p.68.

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