Forms of violence against women

Violence against women is perpetrated in various forms on the physical, sexual, psychological, economic or social level.

We need to distinguish between personal violence, practised directly by an acting perpetrator, and structural violence, which does not originate from an individual but is an integral part of a social system and manifests itself in an imbalance of power with accordingly unequal opportunities for women and men.

Personal and structural violence are mutually dependent and complementary. Hence any effective fight against violence requires policies that address the perpetrator and support the victim while attempting to change the social inequalities between the sexes.

Domestic violence is the most frequent form of violence affecting women. According to police estimates, 90 percent of all violent acts take place within the family and the social surroundings. The number of unreported cases of domestic violence is very high. Research findings indicate that every fifth woman has experienced violence within a relationship.

Particularly at risk are women with disabilities - mainly because of the often existing dependence on assistance from other people.

Women and girls from immigrant backgrounds are furthermore also affected by a specific form of domestic violence - the tradition-based violence (female genital mutilation, forced marriages).

Brochure "Frauen haben Recht(e)"

The brochure lists the options available to women seeking protection and trying to assert their rights, summarises the major procedures and gives a comprehensive list of facilities providing counselling and help.

Document (in German)

"Frauen haben Recht(e)" (PDF) (PDF, 788 KB)

Study "High-Risk Victims"

The study analyses all convictions for (attempted) murder by male and female (ex-)partners in those years with a view to identifying special threats and gender-specific differences.


Further documents

Documents on the topic "female genital mutilation" are available in English, French, Arabic and German. Documents on the topic "forced marriages" are available in English, Turkish, Persian, Arabic and German: Publikationen zum Thema Gewalt gegen Frauen.

Further information

The following articles provide information about specific forms of violence against women, legal regulations, support services and initiatives within the topic "Violence against women":

Information in German is available in "Gewalt gegen Frauen"