Domestic violence


The term of intimate partner violence includes a wide range of sexually, psychologically and physically coercive acts perpetrated against adult or adolescent women by a current or former intimate partner, without their consent.

Physical violence involves the deliberate use of physical force, strength, or a weapon to harm or injure a woman. Sexual violence includes abusive sexual contact, forcing a woman to engage in sexual acts against her consent, attempted or completed sex acts with a woman who is ill, disabled, under restraint or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Psychological violence includes controlling or isolating the woman, and humiliating or embarrassing her. Economic violence involves denying a woman access to and control over basic resources. Administrative violence refers to depriving a woman of her identification papers (residence permit, ID card, family records, passport, etc.). Once left undocumented, it is impossible for immigrant victims to prove their nationality, legalise their immigration status or defend their rights.

Key figures


  • In France, 121 women were killed by their current or former life partner in 2013. Victims of intimate-partner violence accounted for nearly 20% of all homicides recorded in the country during the same year. Every year, one out of 10 women is a victim of domestic violence. [source: Study published by the French ministries of Interior and of Women’s Rights on 7 May 2014]
  • According to research conducted in 2004 by the Women’s Federation, 25 to 30% of Chinese women are victims of domestic violence during their lifetime.

Focus on Asia

Acts of violence perpetrated against women by their current or former life partner are the most widespread form of violence against women worldwide. In China, it is estimated that 25 to 30% of the country’s 630 million women are subjected to domestic violence during their lifetime. Every year, the Women’s Federation hotline (phone number 12338 from China) handles around 50,000 cases of domestic violence (government data).

Fighting domestic violence requires combined initiatives at all levels by all societal stakeholders: family, individuals, local community, civil society. A law protecting the rights and interests of women was enacted in China in 1998, reasserting the principle of the State authorities’ responsibility for preventing and eradicating intimate-partner violence, and providing assistance to the victims. However, the law fails to provide for any recourse for prosecuting the perpetrators, and reporting rates on this type of violence are extremely low in the country since such behaviours are regarded as private. Some progress has nevertheless been observed. For instance, in 2010-2012, UNIFEM (UN Development Fund for Women) and the Chinese government established a special prevention and response programme specifically targeting domestic violence in China.

Key dates

6 February

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

8 March

International Women’s Day (UN)  


Sexual Awareness month


11 October

International Day of the Girl Child

25 November

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

10 december

Human Rights Day

NGO contacts

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