The United Nations defines violence against women as a type of violence which a woman experiences because she is a woman, or a type of violence which women are more likely to experience than men.

The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

This includes rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, forced marriage, ‘honour’-based crimes, female genital mutilation, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, forced prostitution, sexual harassment and stalking – all of which are much more likely to happen to women.

Violence may be physical, psychological, or sexual, or a combination of all three. Deprivation or neglect can also be part of the experience.

The cost of violence against women

Apart from the very obvious human cost, research shows that the cost of violence against women to the economy is also extremely high.

Researchers estimate that:

  • Violence against women costs society £40bn per annum

  • Violence against women costs London £5bn per annum

  • Domestic violence in England & Wales costs £6bn per annum

  • Each rape costs society approximately £76,000 pounds