Online Discussion on EIGE’s Gender Statistics Database – Section on Violence

28 May '15 Thu 10:0005/29/2015 5:00pm EuroGender Online Discussion public Online Discussion on EIGE’s Gender Statistics Database – Section on Violence Europe/Vilnius 05/28/2015 10:00am
29 May '15 Fri 17:00
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European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN)'s picture
Ligia Nobrega wrote:
One challenge we would like to discuss with you today refers to the difficulties we encounter in harmonising concepts, definitions and methodologies. This hampers comparability of statistics within EU Member States.
As only harmonised data can be compared internationally, harmonised sources are given precedence over non-harmonised sources in the database.
However, most of the challenges to be addressed within the section on violence are caused by limited collection of data. This hampers users of gender-based violence statistics from obtaining a comprehensive picture of the phenomenon of gender-based violence at the EU level. Having this in mind, statistics data and metadata generated at the national level will be stored and displayed in EIGE’s Gender Statistics Database even if non-harmonised and with limited comparability within Member states.

In our opinion, the definitions and the names that are included in legal binding documents (especially in those mandating data collection like it is the CoE Istanbul Convention) is the best way to harmonize the definitions of the constructs that are to be measured. Whenever there is a differentiation from the accepted definitions this must be described clearly in the metadata.

In regards to the extraction formats, all formats have their own usefulness but what I would found more useful is to have the possibility to extract data per country and, if possible, not an excel per variable; I mean to be able to select a domain and extract all data for one country in one database; or, even to be able to select which variables you would like to extract.

Even though I would like to have all options available, since the incomparability among countries is great (not only for administrative data but also for the survey data that has been gathered with identical methodology due to differences in disclosing abuse that was evident among countries in the FRA survey), I suggest NOT to provide the option of countries comparison to an open database;
Maybe it could only be provided the possibility to compare each country’s data with the EU-total.

Alexandrina Sat...

Thank you so much for this comments! It leads very well to our next session. During 13.30 - 15.00 CET – we will be discussing the use of statistics for monitoring Victims’ Directive and Istanbul Convention.

Raluca Popa 's picture
Council of Europe Violence against Women Unit wrote:

Hello, I am Johan Friestedt, a member of the Council of Europe team setting up the monitoring mechanism of the Istanbul Convention (Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence). Sorry to join late. Trying to see how this tool can help current and future EU States Parties to the Istanbul Convention to comply with their obligations under Article 11 of the Convention (data collection). There is clearly a great potential. But just a few remarks:

- it appears that not all forms of violence are taken into account (e.g. forced marriage, forced sterilisation and forced abortion). Am I correct?

Unlike here, sexual harassment is defined in the Istanbul Convention in a provision which is separate from that on sexual violence (including rape).

There is no reference to inter-partner violence in the Istanbul Convention, unlike in the current tree. On the other hand, there is a clear definition of domestic violence.

There are also entries which go beyond the scope of the Istanbul Convention, such as trafficking in human beings (which is the subject of a separate Council of Europe Convention).

I wanted to support my colleague Johan's comments. For the Council of Europe, the issue of harmonizing terminology and definitions with those of the Istanbul Convention are very important. And this is probably very important for member states of the European Union who are parties to the Istanbul Convention. Are you planning to look into this as you develop the database?

Pilar Lopez Diez's picture
Elena Sirvent García del Valle wrote:
I do not think that an adequate comparison between countries is possible at the moment. Each country collects different things and in different ways. That is why I was saying that even if I find great that Eige is going to use data from the Member states: 1- It is necessary to have very good metadata for data from individual countries 2- extraction should be limited per country This way, is possible to reflect what each Member State is doing so that others can get ideas and improve their own data sources. And at the same time, this database with data from the different countries could facilitate the work towards a proper harmonization. But at the moment there is no harmonization and I find to risky to show data of different countries as if they were comparable.

If something is important about data collection for the 28 European countries is to harmonize data. Almost anybody can understand why in the North of Europe there are "less" VaW crimes than in Sweden for example. And this idea is very harmful to sinsitize citizens because as some media say if in the most egalitarian countries in the world there are more male crimes against women it is not necessary to implement gender equality policies because our situation is better... and this stupid idea is because is absolutly necessary the harmonization of data. (In Spain only intimate partner violence is considered when talking abolut gender violence agains women. Nothing about rape, nothing about harasment, nothing about...). With this date is not strange that the VaW situation en Spain is better than in Sweden.

andrei ionescu's picture

Pilar right
In The Northen European States VAW is less than other EU countrie
the system is better than rest of other countries

Elena Sirvent García del Valle's picture

sorry Pilar, maybe I have not explain myself properly. I try again.

Of course harmonization is a top priority. But at the moment the reality is that there is no harmonization and we can not put together things that are different. From the point of view of statistics this would be a big mistake.

that is why I was suggesting to show all the avaliable data from the member states, but not together because they can not be compared.

And at the same time, we should start to work seriously in a proper harmonization of data and concepts, so that in a close future data from member states can be put together in the same tables.

Finally, I would like to let you know, since you say in your post that there are no data, that since 30th March there are data available about the prevalence of rape by non partners in Spain, dissagregated by perpetrators (father, aquantaince, other relative, stranger,....). you can find them on our website

Is true that until now in Spain the main emphasis has been put on intimate partner violence, mainly because is the most common type of VAW. And we are a country with  very accurate statistics on intimate partner violence.

We are now working in broading this scope to other forms of violence and, in this sense,  international tools can very helpful to show where each country has lacks and to see how others do it, so that we can all improve our data.

European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN)'s picture
Pilar Lopez Diez wrote:
Elena Sirvent García del Valle wrote:
I do not think that an adequate comparison between countries is possible at the moment. Each country collects different things and in different ways. That is why I was saying that even if I find great that Eige is going to use data from the Member states: 1- It is necessary to have very good metadata for data from individual countries 2- extraction should be limited per country This way, is possible to reflect what each Member State is doing so that others can get ideas and improve their own data sources. And at the same time, this database with data from the different countries could facilitate the work towards a proper harmonization. But at the moment there is no harmonization and I find to risky to show data of different countries as if they were comparable.

If something is important about data collection for the 28 European countries is to harmonize data. Almost anybody can understand why in the North of Europe there are "less" VaW crimes than in Sweden for example. And this idea is very harmful to sinsitize citizens because as some media say if in the most egalitarian countries in the world there are more male crimes against women it is not necessary to implement gender equality policies because our situation is better... and this stupid idea is because is absolutly necessary the harmonization of data. (In Spain only intimate partner violence is considered when talking abolut gender violence agains women. Nothing about rape, nothing about harasment, nothing about...). With this date is not strange that the VaW situation en Spain is better than in Sweden.

I TOTALLY agree; Moreover the journalist (and our colleagues sometimes), use the results in a way that creates misleading messages; and this is difficult to be controlled afterwards because media and politicians LOVE numbers but they are not at all interested to hear that the conclusions drawn when the data are mistreated are wrong... 

European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN)'s picture
Elena Sirvent García del Valle wrote:

sorry Pilar, maybe I have not explain myself properly. I try again.

Of course harmonization is a top priority. But at the moment the reality is that there is no harmonization and we can not put together things that are different. From the point of view of statistics this would be a big mistake.

that is why I was suggesting to show all the avaliable data from the member states, but not together because they can not be compared.

And at the same time, we should start to work seriously in a proper harmonization of data and concepts, so that in a close future data from member states can be put together in the same tables.

Finally, I would like to let you know, since you say in your post that there are no data, that since 30th March there are data available about the prevalence of rape by non partners in Spain, dissagregated by perpetrators (father, aquantaince, other relative, stranger,....). you can find them on our website

Is true that until now in Spain the main emphasis has been put on intimate partner violence, mainly because is the most common type of VAW. And we are a country with  very accurate statistics on intimate partner violence.

We are now working in broading this scope to other forms of violence and, in this sense,  international tools can very helpful to show where each country has lacks and to see how others do it, so that we can all improve our data.

Harmonization is crucial even though comparability won't be achieved even if we manage to harmonize our operational definitions, methodology of data collection etc.

As I said in a previous comment, it was crystal clear from the FRA survey that even with identical methodology, definitions, data collection methods etc. the results were non-comparable  among countries; for example it was showed Greece, Bulgaria and Romania as having lower prevalence rates than Sweeden and Filand (!!!). Of course, we all know that this is not the true situation and that it depends on other confounding variables affecting the disclosure rate (like how socially accepted is to openly discuss about abuse)  

andrei ionescu's picture

indeed, Romania must work a lot, but I am sure in next future all can be better than now!

andrei ionescu's picture

indeed, Romania must work a lot, but I am sure in next future all can be better than now!

Mattias Friström's picture

I don't think it is wise to compare data between countries if the data doesn't hormonize. As others have mentioned, there is a correlation between the gender equality within the country and the prevalence of men's violence against women. 
Data collection on, for example methods such as Measures to counter GBV  as well as differences in Attitudes, norms and perceptions are interesting to follow for each country without making the comparison between countries.   

European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN)'s picture

In regards to the last point of the Agenda
I think that a separate entry point should be created for the Istanbul convention (as you have done for the Beijing Platform for Action for example) including all of the indicators that needs to be collected for both the monitoring of the convention’s implementation and in order to comply with article 11.
I don’t know but I imagine that one of the tasks of GREVIO would be to create such a list with indicators for monitoring the implementation by MS.   
This would be a good start for countries that do not collect data (or collect very few) but they have ratified the convention because they would be at least provided with a to-be-collected list of variables; this also will enable civil society to request for the data that our country has a formal obligation to collect.
What I said above could also be valid for the Victims’ Directive but since there is no monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the Directives that have been endorsed in National law, I don’t have great expectations that it would improve the data collection at National levels.

Ligia Nobrega's picture
Raluca Popa wrote:
Council of Europe Violence against Women Unit wrote:

Hello, I am Johan Friestedt, a member of the Council of Europe team setting up the monitoring mechanism of the Istanbul Convention (Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence). Sorry to join late. Trying to see how this tool can help current and future EU States Parties to the Istanbul Convention to comply with their obligations under Article 11 of the Convention (data collection). There is clearly a great potential. But just a few remarks:

- it appears that not all forms of violence are taken into account (e.g. forced marriage, forced sterilisation and forced abortion). Am I correct?

Unlike here, sexual harassment is defined in the Istanbul Convention in a provision which is separate from that on sexual violence (including rape).

There is no reference to inter-partner violence in the Istanbul Convention, unlike in the current tree. On the other hand, there is a clear definition of domestic violence.

There are also entries which go beyond the scope of the Istanbul Convention, such as trafficking in human beings (which is the subject of a separate Council of Europe Convention).

I wanted to support my colleague Johan's comments. For the Council of Europe, the issue of harmonizing terminology and definitions with those of the Istanbul Convention are very important. And this is probably very important for member states of the European Union who are parties to the Istanbul Convention. Are you planning to look into this as you develop the database?

Thank you Raluca and Johan. As previously explained some headings are left too general on purpose in order to allow further break-downs and subcategories such as forced marriage, abortion, sterilisation. In the case of gender-based violence this will happen in a more prominent way due to all the statistics limitations faced within this specific area.

Trafficking in human beings is also relevant from the gender perspective and some data has already been published by Eurostat which will be considered in the database.

Finally, the Institute considers the Istambul Convention together with the Victims' Directive as one of the main references for the work to be undertaken either in the gender statistics database project and on its support to the Member States on methodologies and concpets for collecting gender-based violence data.

Zulema's picture

Good afternoon everyone!
I am Zulema Altamirano SNE in EIGE, working as GbV expert. Eventually I am able to join the discussion...apologies for doing it just now. I will catch up with the fruitful discusion of this morning later, now ready to read your contributions for this session. Thanks!

Ligia Nobrega's picture

In order to support the discussions in our last session, allow us to provide some relevant background information which is guiding also EIGE's work in this area.
There have been no legal requirements in relation to data collection on gender-based violence at the European level. However, this situation has been improved with the enactment of the Victims Directive (2012/29/EU) of the European Union on 25th October 2012. The entry into force of the Convention on Prevention and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) of the Council of Europe on 1st August 2014 is another important development in this regard. The EU has not yet ratified this Convention.

The Victims Directive of the European Union establishes minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of any crime. It is, to date, the most important EU Directive with regard to data collection on gender-based violence.
It includes in its preamble, an EU-wide definition of gender-based violence and violence committed in close relationships. It reiterates in paragraph 64 the importance of systematic and adequate statistical data collection. Article 28 of the Directive states that Member States shall communicate available data to the European Commission, by 16th November 2017, and every three years thereafter, on how victims (including victims of gender-based violence) have accessed the rights set out in the Directive. This data should include at least the number and type of the reported crimes and, as far as such data are known and available, the number, age and gender of the victims.

Looking beyond the EU, the Istanbul Convention includes obligations on Member States that have ratified the Convention in relation to data collection and research. Article 11 stipulates measures to be taken by Member States that have ratified the Convention for the purpose of its implementation:

  • Collect disaggregated relevant statistical data at regular intervals on cases of all forms of violence covered by the scope of the Convention.
  • Support research in the field of all forms of violence covered by the scope of the Convention to study its root causes and effects, incidences and conviction rates, as well as the efficacy of measures taken to implement the Convention.
  • Conduct population-based surveys at regular intervals to assess the prevalence of and trends in all forms of violence covered by the Convention.
  • Provide the group of experts, as referred to in article 66 of the Convention, with the information collected in order to stimulate international cooperation and enable international benchmarking.
  • Ensure that information collected is available to the public.
Pilar Lopez Diez's picture

Thinking that the Istanbul Convention was necessary to sensitize countries which were doing very little work about men's mistreatment  and crimes against women, what now should be done by EIGE is to advance. The Istanbul Convention is quite contradictory: on the one hand,  it is said that "the violence against women is a manifestation of uniqual relations between women and men which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men..." and on the other, they use the term "domestic violence" all the time; well, "domestic violence" include for example that a niece has beaten her uncle. And, I think, this has nothing to do with domination and discrimination. If you mix different problems you are diluting them and in this context, that means that you are not focusing properly the more serious and dangerous problema women face all around the world, even the EU (FRAgency). So, I encourage EIGE to work in the direction of improving, not following what was done so far.

Zulema

Dear Pilar, thank you for your comment. I think the article 28 of the convention, if properly addressed by MS, can be a good step further for monitoring how MS are implementing the different aspects of the Istanbul Convention. And it will required of distinguishing between what is done related to domestic violence, and for each other form of violence against women defined in the Convention. It will be a key aspect to count on minimum standards for defining common indicators across EU MS that have ratified the convention.

Zulema's picture

Which additional entry points could be considered addressing current needs within the area of violence against women? (e.g. the need for Member States to monitor the implementation of the Istanbul or for reporting to the European Commission the implementation of the Victims’ directive could create the opportunity for a specific entry point in the database within the area of gender-based violence)
Do you consider that EIGE’s project on developing a gender statistics database could promote the production of more quality statistics for the purpose of monitoring Victims’ Directive and Istanbul Convention?

Alexandrina Satnoianu's picture

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European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN)'s picture
European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN) wrote:

Harmonization is crucial even though comparability won't be achieved even if we manage to harmonize our operational definitions, methodology of data collection etc.

As I said in a previous comment, it was crystal clear from the FRA survey that even with identical methodology, definitions, data collection methods etc. the results were non-comparable  among countries; for example it was showed Greece, Bulgaria and Romania as having lower prevalence rates than Sweeden and Filand (!!!). Of course, we all know that this is not the true situation and that it depends on other confounding variables affecting the disclosure rate (like how socially accepted is to openly discuss about abuse)  

[/quote]

I think the results of the FRA survey are comparable - exactly for the reasons which you listed, such as the use of harmonised definitions and methodology. What is left to explain the differences is the fact that women in different countries see violence against women - and particularly intimate partner violence - in different ways, which has to do with awareness of violence in the partnership as something that is acceptable but that can be talked about and discussed. I also believe these results lead to conclude that further awareness-raising efforts are particularly needed in those EU Member States where rates of violence in the survey were lower than expected. At the same time, one should also consider other possible explanatory factors which have been shown to contribute to the differences in other forms of violence - not only violence against women - between EU Member States (pp. 22-26 in http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/violence-against-women-eu-wide-survey-main-results-report)

Yes, you are right! Wrong english expression...

What I meant to highlight was that even in cases where the data are totally comparable (as in the FRA survey) we cannot compare the prevalence rates among countries in order to   conclude in which countries women are more/less exposed to violence; and that this is due to all these variables (that are indeed commented on the FRA's Report), which increase or decrease the under-reporting rates in different countries.

quote=Sami Nevala - EU Agency for Fundamental Rights]

Sami Nevala - EU Agency for Fundamental Rights's picture
European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN) wrote:

Harmonization is crucial even though comparability won't be achieved even if we manage to harmonize our operational definitions, methodology of data collection etc.

As I said in a previous comment, it was crystal clear from the FRA survey that even with identical methodology, definitions, data collection methods etc. the results were non-comparable  among countries; for example it was showed Greece, Bulgaria and Romania as having lower prevalence rates than Sweeden and Filand (!!!). Of course, we all know that this is not the true situation and that it depends on other confounding variables affecting the disclosure rate (like how socially accepted is to openly discuss about abuse)  

Sorry, I deleted my earlier post because of a typo.

My message - to react to the post by EAVN - was that the FRA survey is comparable - for the reasons that were listed above such as harmonised methodology and definitions. After controlling for all of this, the differences that remain in the results between EU Member States are very likely to be due to differences in the way women see intimate partner violence as something that is unacceptable, and something that can be talked about. The results lead to conclude that further awareness-raising efforts are crucial especially in those EU Member States where the rates of violence in the survey were lower than what could be expected. There are also many other factors that can be used to explain the differences, and some of these apply not only to violence against women but to violence in general, as suggested in earlier surveys (see pp. 22-26 in http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/violence-against-women-eu-wide-survey-main-results-report)

Zulema

Hello Sami, thanks for your link! I would also add that reasons for women to choose not to share experiences of violence in an interview or survey can be influenced by a difference range of factors, from personal ones (such as awareness, fear, safety, willingness to recall the traumatic experience, etc.) to social and cultural ones.
Furthermore, I would like to highlight the importance of differentiating between related factors, or drivers (such as level of criminality or alcoholism) and the roots of the phenomenon of violence against women. Both aspects are important to explore in deep for a broader knowledge and to contextualise differences between MS and also over time, which for me is a key aspect to monitor improvements in MS towards eradicating VaW, by using same methodology and survey.

Alexandrina Sat...

Hi Sami!

Have read that you have deleted the previous post because of typo and wanted to tell you that you can edit the posts. On the top rightcorner of your post there is a small wheel and next to it an arrow. if you click on the arrow - it tells Edit/ Hide/ Delete.

Just wanted to tell you that you can use this function to edit your posts.

Ligia Nobrega's picture

We are approaching the end of this productive online event butr we still have some last questions we would like you to discuss.
Do you consider that EIGE’s project on developing a gender statistics database could promote the production of more quality statistics for the purpose of monitoring Victims’ Directive and Istanbul Convention?
·         To what extent?

·         How?

Mattias Friström's picture

I think the development of EIGE's gender statistics database that also includes men's violence against women could promote more quality statistics in that area. But the issues of different terminologies needs to be adressed first before comparisons can be made.   

Thank you for an interesting conversation on data collection and men's violence against women.
Good bye, 
Mattias 

Alexandrina Satnoianu's picture

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Philip McCormack's picture

Hi all!

My apologies! I had hoped to be able to participate more fully in this discussion. I have been incredibly busy these last few weeks and today, I'm afraid, is no different. I am keeping an eye on the discussion and will provide some input directly to Alexandrina over the coming days.

Thanks again to EIGE for facilitating such interesting conversations.

Phil.

Alexandrina Sat...

Hi Philip!

Please do provide us with your valuable contribution!
You can do it directly on the page as the window for comments remains open until tomorrow 4pm CET.
It would be very good to write your comments on the page as to have them as part of the transcript and of the report.

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European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN)'s picture
Ligia Nobrega wrote:

We are approaching the end of this productive online event butr we still have some last questions we would like you to discuss.

Do you consider that EIGE’s project on developing a gender statistics database could promote the production of more quality statistics for the purpose of monitoring Victims’ Directive and Istanbul Convention?

·         To what extent?

·         How?

Your first question is very difficult to be answered because the extent depends upon political will in each MS.

If this database consists part of the monitoring mechanism for one or both of the Instruments, then it could promote both the quantity and the quality of administrative data that will be collected [with the precondition that all countries will have to complete this specific database and not just provide any non-harmonized data they have available].

In other words the "how" needs a legal obligation for a mandatory completion (at least for some countries). 

But for countries with long tradition of data collection, it would be a problem if this database is totally new; so, maybe a good (not easy though) solution would be, instead of creating a totally new database to adopt the best coding system from each country (after the harmonization) of the definitions.

All of these are theoretically speaking, because in reality I totally understand how difficult such an effort would be.

  

Anna Rita Manca's picture

Dear Participants, 
Thank you very much for your committment and for the interesting discussion.
We will incorporate as much as possible all comments for the improvement of the project on the Gender Statistics Database.

You will hear very soon from us.
Best wishes, 
Anna

Ligia Nobrega's picture

I would like to thank all the participants for your engagement and valuable contribution.
All your comments and suggestions are extremely relevant for the progress of the project and the completion of EIGE's gender statistics database which EIGE is planned to make fully available by this Autumn.
Just one last quote particularly touching this sensitive area:
Numbers are crucial to quantifying any problem.
But numbers can also be a smokescreen preventing us from seeing the pain happening around us every day.
Share them with a grain of salt. Let others know that behind each number is a human who has suffered deeply, and that she too deserves to be counted.”

European Anti-Violence Network (EAVN)'s picture

Thank you all for the interesting discussion!
thanks to EIGE also for hosting us as well as to all of the discussion coordinators
Goodbye!

Zulema's picture

Dear all,
Thank you so much for this oportunity to collect your views and reflect together in making the best of the gender statistics database, in such a sensitive area as violence against women.
Nice evening!
Zulema

Pilar Lopez Diez's picture
Ligia Nobrega wrote:

I would like to thank all the participants for your engagement and valuable contribution.

All your comments and suggestions are extremely relevant for the progress of the project and the completion of EIGE's gender statistics database which EIGE is planned to make fully available by this Autumn.

Just one last quote particularly touching this sensitive area:

Numbers are crucial to quantifying any problem.

But numbers can also be a smokescreen preventing us from seeing the pain happening around us every day.

Share them with a grain of salt. Let others know that behind each number is a human who has suffered deeply, and that she too deserves to be counted.”

I completely agree with you, Ligia.

Maria José Carrilho's picture

[quote=Ligia Nobrega]

I would like to thank all the participants for your engagement and valuable contribution.

All your comments and suggestions are extremely relevant for the progress of the project and the completion of EIGE's gender statistics database which EIGE is planned to make fully available by this Autumn.

Just one last quote particularly touching this sensitive area:

Numbers are crucial to quantifying any problem.

But numbers can also be a smokescreen preventing us from seeing the pain happening around us every day.

Share them with a grain of salt. Let others know that behind each number is a human who has suffered deeply, and that she too deserves to be counted.”

Hello everyone from Portugal

Sorry for the delay!

 According the Background document "the main purpose of this database is to build an overview on gender statistics, highlighting differences and inequalities between women and men". So, in my opinion the area Gender-base violence reports to both men and women. I agree that  it is important that database provides information  about the "sex of the perpetrator and victim.