This report presents the first global systematic review and synthesis of the body of scientific data on the prevalence of two forms of violence against women—violence by an intimate partner and sexual violence by someone other than a partner. It shows, for the first time, aggregated global and regional prevalence estimates of these two forms of violence, generated using population data from all over the world that have been compiled in a systematic way. The report also details the effects of violence on women’s physical, sexual and reproductive, and mental health.
A systematic search was used to compile evidence on the prevalence of non-partner sexual violence. An independent search was also conducted of international surveys on violence against women or surveys that included questions on exposure to non-partner sexual violence.
- Overall, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. While there are many other forms of violence that women may be exposed to, this already represents a large proportion of the world’s women.
- Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, 30% of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner. In some regions, 38% of women have experienced intimate partner violence.
- Globally, as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners.
- Women who have been physically or sexually abused by their partners report higher rates of a number of important health problems. For example, they are 16% more likely to have a low-birth-weight baby. They are more than twice as likely to have an abortion, almost twice as likely to experience depression, and, in some regions, are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, as compared to women who have not experienced partner violence.
- Globally, 7% of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner. There are fewer data available on the health effects of non-partner sexual violence. However, the evidence that does exist reveals that women who have experienced this form of violence are 2.3 times more likely to have alcohol use disorders and 2.6 times more likely to experience depression or anxiety.
There is a clear need to scale up efforts across a range of sectors, both to prevent violence from happening in the first place and to provide necessary services for women experiencing violence.