Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

Systematic collection of data on violence against women

Resolution 2101 (2016)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 4 March 2016 (see Doc. 13988, report of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, rapporteur: Ms Maria Edera Spadoni).
1. Violence against women is present at every level of society and no Council of Europe member State is immune to this phenomenon. However, under-reporting of violence against women is widespread and the figures given in population surveys do not match police or other official records. It is crucial to step up awareness-raising efforts to encourage victims to report incidents and to rebuild their trust in the national authorities to whom they report.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly is convinced that violence against women cannot be combated efficiently without reliable data. It is impossible to adequately target policies aimed at tackling violence against women if there is no precise information about its frequency and manifestations. Comprehensive data on violence against women are composed of crime records on all reported cases and reports by justice, health and social services, combined with population surveys, which give an idea of its prevalence. The Assembly stresses the importance of systematic and comprehensive data collection in this field as a precondition for efficient and effective action.
3. The Assembly acknowledges the commitment and actions of Council of Europe member States to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence. The entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210, “Istanbul Convention”) marks a major step in the global fight against this scourge. This convention requires its States Parties to collect data, support research and conduct population-based surveys on violence against women and calls for the establishment of a co-ordination body overseeing its implementation (Articles 10 and 11).
4. The Assembly also recalls its Resolution 2084 (2015) on promoting best practices in tackling violence against women, which called on member States to undertake research and data collection in several fields pertaining to the fight against violence against women, including reporting by professionals, compensation procedures and issuing of residence permits.
5. In the light of these considerations, the Assembly calls on Council of Europe member States:
5.1 with regard to preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, to:
5.1.1 sign and/or ratify, if they have not yet done so, the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence;
5.1.2 ensure that the preparation, implementation and monitoring of policies and legislation adopted to combat violence against women are based on reliable and accurate data;
5.2 with regard to data collection on violence against women, to:
5.2.1 designate or establish one or more official bodies responsible for the co-ordination of data collection and for the co-ordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and measures to prevent and combat all forms of violence covered by the Istanbul Convention;
5.2.2 collect data on all the forms of violence covered by the Istanbul Convention;
5.2.3 collect data on the causes of violence against women, on its consequences, on its prevalence and frequency and on the efficiency of policies and legislation;
5.2.4 analyse the causes of under-reporting of violence against women;
5.2.5 ensure that data is disaggregated, as a minimum requirement, by sex, age, type of violence and relationship of the perpetrator to the victim, geographical location and other factors deemed relevant, having regard to relevant data protection and anti-discrimination legislation;
5.2.6 ensure that data collection is part of all national plans aimed at combating violence against women and allocate sufficient funding to this end;
5.2.7 require every national police, judicial, health or social authority to collect data and draw up standardised forms for data collection by these authorities to allow comparability among similar institutions, and encourage electronic data collecting and processing;
5.2.8 provide specific training to all professionals on basic rules of data collection;
5.2.9 conduct, at regular intervals, population-based surveys on violence against women, with the same set of questions, in order to allow monitoring and comparison over time;
5.2.10 publish statistics on the number of cases of violence against women and other relevant data and organise public debates to raise awareness among the general public and to promote support and prevention services;
5.3 with regard to the protection of victims and of data collected, to;
5.3.1 take measures to effectively protect victims against threats and possible acts of revenge;
5.3.2 encourage reporting and rebuild trust in national authorities by setting up means of avoiding secondary victimisation, such as the presence of a specialist in violence against women in police stations and the organisation of special training for professionals handling cases of violence against women;
5.3.3 ensure that data collection on violence against women and data storage comply with requirements on data protection and confidentiality, in particular those of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108).
6. The Assembly also calls on national parliaments to ensure full implementation of the Istanbul Convention and to organise and/or support parliamentary hearings and public debates on the prevalence of violence against women and the need to systematically collect data for targeted policy making;
7. The Assembly acknowledges the important role of civil society in combating violence against women and calls for co-ordinated action and stronger co-operation between the public institutions in charge of data collection and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working with women victims of violence.