GBV Facts & Stats

Intimate Partner Violence

  • The WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women found the prevalence of physical intimate partner violence in pregnancy to range from 1% in Japan to 28% Peru with the majority of sites in the 4% and 12% range. Clinical studies around the world found the highest prevalence in Egypt with 32%, followed by India (28%), Saudi Arabia (21%) and Mexico (11%).
  • Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.
  • Women who have suffered from intimate partner violence are more likely to give birth to a low-birthweight baby, have an abortion, and experience depression.
  • Some national reports show around 70 percent women experiencing physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner.
  • Of the women killed in 2012, almost half were killed by an intimate partner or family member.
  • In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa, and the United States, between 40% and 70% percent of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners.
    • Reference: UN Women. Fast Facts: Statistics on Violence against Women and Girls. 2014
  • In all countries with available data, current and/or former intimate partners are the most commonly reported perpetrators of physical violence among ever-married girls.

Sexual Violence & Violence Against Women

  • The 2014 UNICEF study estimated that around 120 million girls under the age of 20 (about 1 in 10) have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point of their lives. Boys also report experiences of sexual violence, but they do so to a lesser extent than girls; in high income countries girls typically report lifetime rates that are three times higher than those for boys.
  • An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone.
    • Reference: UN Women, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, Fast facts: statistics on violence against women and girls
  • In some cases, violence against women can lead to death; about two thirds of the victims of intimate partner/family-related homicide are women, in contrast to all cases of homicide, of which 20% of the victims are women.
  • Violence against women also incurs significant economic costs, both direct and indirect. Direct costs include those associated with the police, hospital and other health services, legal costs, and costs associated with housing, social and support services. Indirect costs include those related to reduced employment and productivity and the diminished value of a life lived with violence.
  • Worldwide, 35 percent of women have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence as of 2013.
  • Of the 20.9 million victims of forced labor worldwide, 55 percent are women and girls and 98 percent of these women are sexually exploited.
  • Women in urban areas are twice as likely as men to experience violence, especially in developing countries.
  • Women who experience violence are:
  • Worldwide, up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16 years of age.
    • Reference: UN Women, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, Fast facts: statistics on violence against women and girls
  • The WHO identifies the following as causes and risk factors of gender-based violence; traditional gender norms that support male superiority and entitlement against perpetrators, harmful use of alcohol, weak legal sanctions, drug, poverty, and high levels of crime and conflict in society.
  • In a study including 183 male perpetrators of sexual assault, more than half of respondents felt quite a bit or very justified because the woman had gotten them sexually aroused. Forty percent or more agreed at least somewhat that the woman was responsible, that she led him on, or that they believed she would enjoy it once the sexual intercourse started. Perpetrators were least likely to justify their actions by agreeing that she got what she deserved or that she owed them.
    • Reference: Wegner, R., Abbey, A., Jennifer, P., Pregram, S, E., Woerner, J. ‘Relationships to Rape Supportive Attitudes, Incident Characteristics, and Future Perpetration’ Violence against Women, 2015, volume 21 no.8
  • As in most countries, awareness of emergency contraception (EC) as a pregnancy prevention method is low in comparison to other contraceptive methods. While existing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) programs in the assessed sites offer EC to survivors of sexual assault, family planning providers, especially in Uganda, reportedly disapprove of making EC available for non-sexual assault cases, citing that it could promote promiscuity, particularly among adolescents. EC is not available in the assessed health facilities providing family planning services in Kuala Lumpur, although they are available through prescription at pharmacies, nor in UNHCR’s implementing partner health facilities in Amman.


  • The prevalence of FGC/FGM has been estimated from large-scale, national surveys asking women aged 15–49 years if they have themselves or their daughters have been cut. Considerable variations have been found between the countries, with prevalence rates over 80% in eight countries. Moreover, the prevalence varies among regions within countries, with ethnicity being the most influential factor.
  • It is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGC/FGM in the countries where the practice is concentrated. Furthermore, there are an estimated 3 million girls at risk of undergoing FGC/FGM every year. The majority of girls are cut before they turn 5 years old.
  • The evidence base on the physical health complications of FGC/FGM, which covers over half a century of research from more than 20 countries in Africa and beyond, shows that FGC/FGM is associated with an increased risk of urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, painful sexual intercourse and obstetric difficulties.
    • Reference: Effects of female genital cutting on physical health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Rigmor C Berg et al. 2014
  • Over 133 million girls and women in 29 countries in the Middle East and Africa have experienced some form of FGM/C.
  • Girls who undergo FGM/C generally experience extreme physical and psychological pain, as well as prolonged bleeding, infection (including HIV), infertility, complications during pregnancy, and death.

Adolescents and Girls


  • Cross sectional research from a decade long study within African countries, including Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa, as well as recent findings from India, consistently found women who experienced intimate partner violence were more likely to be infected with HIV.
  • A recent review of clinical studies conducted in Africa reports during pregnancy 23% to 40% of women experience physician violence, 3% to 27% experience sexual violence, and 25% to 49% experience emotional intimate partner violence.
  • In its first ten years of existence, Seruka has treated nearly 14,000 rape survivors in Burundi. Since 2008, UNFPA has supported Seruka in many ways, from supplying dignity and reproductive health kits to paying staff salaries.
  • In Burundi, 1,688 obstetric fistulas were repaired between 2010-2013.
  • In 2015 Central African Republic more than 60,000 cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) were registered during the same period by an inter-agency group headed by the UNFPA, of which about 30,000 involved victims of sexual violence, including rape. That is about 100 people a day.
  • Due to systematic and exceptionally violent gang rape, doctors in the Democratic Republic of Congo now classify vaginal destruction as a war crime. Thousands of Congolese girls and women suffer from vaginal fistula—tissue tears in the vagina, bladder and rectum—after surviving brutal rapes in which guns, branches and broken bottles were used to violate them.
  • From January to September 2014, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recorded 11,769 cases of sexual and gender-based violence in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, Orientale, Katanga and Maniema; 39% of these cases were considered to be directly related to the dynamics of conflict, perpetrated by armed individuals. As in 2013, North Kivu and Orientale remain the provinces most affected by conflict-related sexual violence, with 42% of all incidents taking place in Orientale.
    • Reference: Sexual Violence in Conflict, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2015.
  • According to Human Rights Watch, as many as 3,000 women in Central Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were raped between 1999 and mid-2001, demonstrating the extent to which rape is used as a method of warfare in the Congo’s ongoing conflict.
  • In Nairobi, Kenya 20 percent of women reported being sexually harassed at work or in school.
  • Refugees International estimates that up to 40 percent of women were raped during Liberia’s 14-year civil war.
    • Reference: Amnesty International, Central African Republic: Five months of war against women, London, November 2004.
  • According to official data from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in 2014 there were 1,392 incidents of sexual and gender-based violence nationwide, with the majority taking place in Montserrado county, where the most services and reporting structures exist. Of these, 626 were cases of rape, with 605 of the victims under 18. Nine “one-stop centres” recorded 1,162 cases, of which 965 were rapes, 27 were gang rapes and 85 were sexual assaults.
    • Reference: Sexual Violence in Conflict, Liberia, UNICEF, 2015.
  • Results from a survey conducted in Liberia in May 2008 found that a third of the 1,666 respondents reported serving time with fighting forces and a third of those former combatants were also female. Compared with male combatants, female combatants were more likely to be forced to serve as sexual servants than male combatants.
    • Reference: International Rescue Committee (2004). Situation Analysis of Gender-Based Violence in Liberia, International Rescue Committee, NYC, New York.
  • In Sierra Leone, girls comprised 25 percent of soldiers. They were recruited as soldiers as well as forced sexual partners, known as ‘bush wives’. When they returned to their communities, many of their families rejected them.
  • In a program for girls associated with armed groups in Sierra Leone, 32% reported having been raped and 66% were single mothers
  • Approximately 50,000 to 64,000 internally displaced women in Sierra Leone have histories of war-related assault; 50% of those who came into contact with the Revolutionary United Front reported sexual violence.
  • In Sierra Leone, a majority of women who played an active role as combatants were poorly represented in disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs.
  • According to the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (EC), 6.2 % of women have knowledge on EC, and 1.1% of women have ever used EC in Sierra Leone.
  • In South Africa, the 2011/2012 crime statistics report nearly 26,000 child victims, which account for 40% of all sexual offences. These figures are likely to be an underestimate, as only one in nine cases of sexual assault is reported to the police. Rape homicide, the most extreme form and consequence of sexual violence, is a relatively rare event in other countries, but was linked to 102 child murders in South Africa in 2009, and almost exclusively affects girls.
  • Police crime statistics released in September 2015 state that in 2014/2015 there were a total of 53,617 sexual offenses reported to the South African Police Services (SAPS). This translates into 147 cases per day.
    • Reference: Rape Crisis, Cape Town trust, 2015
  • According to a study carried out between 1994 and 2003, 20% of urban refugee girls in South Africa faced sexual violence and exploitation.
    • Reference: Kirsten Johnson, Jana Asher, Stephanie Rosborough, Amisha Raja, Rajesh Panjabi, Charles Beadling, and Lynn Lawry, Association of Combatant Status and Sexual Violence With Health and Mental Health Outcomes in Postconflict Liberia, JAMA, August 13, 2008; 300: 676 – 690.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, an assessment of gender inequitable norms and gender-based violence within seven sites in South Sudan found 82 percent of females and 81 percent of males agreed that ‘a woman should tolerate violence in order to keep her family together.’ While 68 percent of women and 63 percent of males agreed ‘there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten.’ Finally, women (47 percent) were more likely to agree that ‘it is okay for a man to hit his wife if she won’t have sex with him,’ than men (37 percent).
    • Reference: Scott, J., Averbach, S., Modest, A. M., Hacker, M. R., Cornish, S., Spencer, D., … & Parmar, P. (2013). An assessment of gender inequitable norms and gender-based violence in South Sudan: a community-based participatory research approach. Confl Health, 7(4)
  • In 2014, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) documented 117 incidents involving 206 victims, as compared to 149 cases involving 273 victims in 2013. Victims ranged in age from 4 to 70 years; 204 of the victims were female and 2 were male (boys). In two incidents, six women were killed in connection with attempted rape and 30% of the recorded rape survivors sustained serious physical injuries. Serious allegations were levelled against the Sudanese armed forces regarding a mass rape of some 200 women and girls in Tabit, north-east of El Fasher, North Darfur, over a period of 36 hours beginning on 30 October 2014.
    • Reference: Sexual Violence in Conflict, Sudan (Darfur), 2015
  • The experience of physical violence varies by background characteristics in Uganda. The percentage of women who have experienced physical violence since age 15 does not vary much by age, employment status, or education. This percentage is highest among women who belong to the Pentecostal religion (61%), among the Itesa ethnic group (70%), among rural women (58 percent), women in the Eastern region (66%), and women with five or more children (60%).
  • Close to six in ten women (58%) believe that wife beating is justified for at least one of the specified reasons and 44% of men believe that beating a female partner is justified in specific circumstances.
  • Reproductive health assessments in northern Uganda and Jordan revealed that emergency contraception is not provided in a consistent manner for unwanted pregnancies, including victims of sexual violence.
    • Reference: 27 M.A. Koenig, et al., Domestic violence in rural Uganda: Evidence from a community based study, WHO Bulletin, Geneva, 2003. Vol. 81, p. 53-60.
  • According to the International Consortium for Emergency contraception, in Uganda 30.7% of women are aware of Emergency Contraception is 30.7% and 0.3% have ever used EC.
  • Ever-married women are more likely than those who never married to have experienced physical violence, implying that in Uganda violence perpetrated by spouses is more prevalent than violence perpetrated by other individuals. Sixty-five percent of women who are divorced, separated, or widowed and 56% of currently married women have experienced physical violence since age 15, as compared with 51% of never-married women. The percentage of women who have experienced physical violence since age 15 ranges from 47% of women in the highest wealth quintile to 63% of those in the lowest quintile.
  • In Uganda, 28% of women age 15-49 have ever-experienced sexual violence and 16% have experienced sexual violence in the past 12 months. There are notable variations in the experience of sexual violence by age. Younger women (age 15-19) are less likely to report sexual violence ever and in the past 12 months than older women (19% and 9%, respectively). Muslim women, those of Basoga and Itesa ethnicity, and rural women are more likely than other women to have experienced sexual violence ever and in the past year. The percentage of women who have ever experienced sexual violence ranges from 17% of women in Karamoja to 35% of women in Central 2 region. Recent sexual violence among women ranges from 7% of women in Kampala to 22% of those in East Central region.
  • In Uganda, 16% of women experienced physical violence during pregnancy. This percentage increases with age from 9% among women age 15-19 to 24% among those age 40-49. Physical violence during pregnancy is higher among Pentecostal women (24%) those of Itesa ethnic background (27%) women in rural areas (17%), and those residing in Eastern region (25%). Women who are divorced, separated, or widowed are more likely to report experiencing violence during pregnancy (25%) than women who are currently married (15%) or never married (3%).


Middle East


  • A recent United Nations Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific found that nearly half of the more than 8,000 men interviewed reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner, with the proportion of men reporting such violence ranging from 26% to 80% across sites. In all six countries included in the study, the majority (between 65% and 85%) of men who reported using physical or sexual violence against a partner had committed such acts of violence more than once.
  • A 2010 study in New Delhi, India found 66% of women reported experiencing sexual harassment between two and five times during the past year.
    • Reference: UN Women, Facts and Figures: Ending Violence against Women. 2013.
  • There are no reliable estimates on the number of persons trafficked annually from Myanmar, although a total of 134 trafficking cases were investigated in 2008 involving 303 victims (153 female and 50 male), and 342 traffickers were prosecuted. Fifteen cases were of internal trafficking. Identified cases likely represent a small fraction of the scale of the problem. UNICEF, for example, proposed in 2003 that 10,000 girls are being trafficked every year from Myanmar into Thai brothels alone.
    • Reference: UNIAP Myanmar, United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, 2009
  • Two Shan rights groups have documented mass rapes involving hundreds of women and girls systematically carried out by Burma’s army; employing rape as a method of war, the Burmese government has tried to violently suppress a local rebellion in the Shan state since the mid-1990s.
    • Reference: Shan Women’s Action Network & Shan Human Rights Foundation, License to Rape: The Burmese Military Regime, May 2002.
  • North Korean women fleeing their country are frequently trafficked into forced de facto marriages with Chinese men. Even if they have lived in China for years, these women are not entitled to legal residence and face possible arrest and repatriation. Many children of such unrecognized marriages lack legal identity or access to elementary education.
  • In 2013, a UN Development program report found 80% of men in Papua New Guinea’s capital admitted to using physical or sexual violence against women.
    • Reference: UN Women, Facts and Figures: Ending Violence against Women. 2013.


  • A study based on 42,000 women interviewed in the 28 Member States of the European Union, found that only 14% of women reported their most serious incidents of intimate partner violence to the police and only 13% reported their most serious incident of non-partner violence to the police.
  • In the European Union, between 40% and 50% of women experience unwanted sexual advances from physical contact to other forms of sexual assault in the work place.
    • Reference: UN Women, Facts and Figures: Ending Violence against Women. 2013.
  • A nationwide survey conducted by Amnesty International in 2014 found a quarter of women in Belgium have experienced sexual violence by a partner and 13% were raped by someone other than their partners.
  • During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s, it is estimated that between 20,000 to 60,000 women were raped.
    • Reference: Women Under Siege, Conflict Profiles, Bosnia, 2012.
  • In Kosovo, thousands of Kosovar women were killed as victims of “ethnic cleansing”. An estimated 23,200 to 45,600 Kosovar Albanian women are believed to have been rape between August 1998 and August 1999, the height of the conflict with Serbia. However, obtaining a true picture of the scope of sexual violence committed during Kosovo’s extended period of apartheid and brief war has been as challenging as in other conflict-affected regions.
    • Reference: Prevalence of Gender-Based violence: Preliminary Findings from a Field Assessment in Six Shelters in Kosovo, Xhenet Syka, 2014.

Latin America