At the start, a current survey by Statistics Austria on the situation in Austria was presented on Friday. This paints a devastating picture. Every third woman in Austria from the age of 15 has already experienced physical or sexual violence. Almost one in six adult women has been affected by threats of physical violence. Many women experience different forms of violence at the same time – from assaults to stalking.
According to Statistics Austria, around 762,000 women from the age of 15 were victims of physical violence within or outside of intimate relationships (23 percent). Almost the same number of women experienced sexual violence (24 percent). 1.1 million women between the ages of 18 and 74 were affected by at least one of the two forms of violence. That is 34.5 percent of all women of this age.
280,000 women raped
More than 280,000 women aged 15 and over in Austria (eight percent) have already been raped. Almost half a million Austrians (15.25 percent) experienced threats of physical violence.
The statistics also show that in more than half a million cases the aggression comes from one’s own partner or (rarely) one’s own partner. The share of victims of violence among all women who are currently in a partnership or have ever been in a relationship is 16 percent. Of the women who experienced physical or sexual violence in a previous relationship, 54 percent suffered physical injuries.
Spiral of intimate partner violence
Furthermore, according to Statistics Austria, 8.3 percent of women in an active or previous relationship stated that they had been threatened with physical violence in an intimate relationship. Almost 37 percent had experienced psychological violence in a partnership. More than 81 percent of all women who experienced physical violence in past relationships reported repeated attacks in new relationships.
According to Statistics Austria, more than a quarter of all women also experienced violence outside of intimate relationships. Four percent were victims of rape by strangers. Stalking affected every fifth woman between the ages of 18 and 74. That’s almost 710,000 women who have received unwanted messages or gifts, obscene, threatening or silent calls.
Harassment at work and at university
736,613 women in Germany have experienced sexual harassment at work. That is more than every fourth woman who has already worked at least once. The most common forms of sexual harassment in the workplace include inappropriate stares or salacious looks, sexual jokes or abusive comments about their bodies or personal lives, and unwanted physical contact. In a separate study by the Austrian Students’ Union (ÖH), twelve percent of the students stated that they had experienced sexualized violence.
Photo series with 2 pictures
A sample of 6,240 women aged 18 to 74 living in private households was used for the survey. They were interviewed from October 2020 to March 2021. The survey was carried out on behalf of Eurostat and the Federal Chancellery.
Thousands of victims of genital mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM), to which an estimated 200 million women are subjected worldwide, is also becoming an increasingly important issue in Austria. Female genital mutilation in childhood is particularly widespread in the Sahel and north-eastern Africa, in Indonesia and parts of the Arabian Peninsula. In a broadcast on Friday, the Red Cross estimated the number of girls and women affected in Austria to be between 6,000 and 8,000.
“16 Days Against Violence”
To counter this issue, the awareness-raising campaign “16 Days Against Violence” will start worldwide on Friday. From the International Day against Violence against Women on November 25th to Human Rights Day on December 10th, famous buildings around the world are illuminated with orange light. Church institutions also shine in orange – more on this in religion.ORF.at. In Vorarlberg, in view of the energy crisis, orange flags are used – more on this at vorarlberg.ORF.at. Flags are also displayed in public buildings in Upper Austria – more on this at ooe.ORF.at.
Journalist Yvonne Widler on violence against women
Author and journalist Yvonne Widler talks about femicides in Austria. In her book “Heimat bist du toter Daughters” she dealt intensively with violence against women and femicide.
Emergency numbers on receipts
The cash register initiative of domestic retailers is also starting again throughout Austria: the police emergency number 133, the number for the women’s helpline against violence (0800 222 555), the number for the violence protection center (0800 700 217) and the victim emergency number of the Austrian judiciary (0800 112 112) printed.
“I want every person affected by violence in Austria to know that they are not alone in this difficult situation. That is why I would like to thank the Austrian trade association for this important cooperation,” said Minister of Justice Alma Zadic. (Greens) “In thousands of shops, on millions of receipts, a QR code and the most important hotlines are printed,” explained Rainer Will, Managing Director of the Trade Association.
“Especially at Christmas time, we would like to use the 1.9 million daily contacts with our customers at the cash registers throughout Austria to make it easier for affected girls and women to access offers of help,” says Christoph Matschke, CEO of REWE International AG.
Government points to higher budgets
Women’s Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP) emphasized in advance that a large part of the women’s budget flows into protection against violence. 24.3 million euros have been budgeted for 2023. Social Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said that in 2023 the budget for violence prevention in his department would be increased from the current four to seven million euros. On December 6, there will also be another violence protection summit with numerous experts.
Gerhard Karner’s (ÖVP) Ministry of the Interior referred to the continuous further development of the Violence Protection Act. There is also an increase in the number of bans on entering and approaching, which is interpreted above all as a high willingness to report and as a high level of trust in the police.
In 2020 there were 11,652 entry and approach bans, in 2021 there were 13,690, this year by the end of October 12,100. In 2022 alone, around 10,000 people at risk have already been sent to violence prevention counseling, which is now mandatory. In addition, there have been more than 160 security police case conferences since the beginning of the year – they serve to network all the departments involved in special risk cases. The year before, there had been 57 conferences.
Victim protection needs more staff and money
However, anti-violence organizations and the opposition are calling for further steps. Women’s organizations, women’s shelters, the AÖF association, the women’s helpline, all women’s and girls’ advice centers and victim protection organizations need at least 228 million euros a year and 3,000 additional full-time jobs.
The Professional Association of Austrian Psychologists (BÖP) describes the situation in Austria as alarming and unacceptable. “Just because it often takes place behind closed doors or invisibly does not mean violence is a private matter,” it said in a statement.
An end to this development is “unfortunately not in sight,” said BÖP President Beate Wimmer-Puchinger. The association calls for significantly more support for those affected, greater commitment to raising awareness in society and a solidarity of all health professionals and other relevant stakeholders in order to work together against violence.