What is Gender - based violence?

Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations within all societies. Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience gender-based violence but the majority of victims are women and girls.

Gender-based violence and violence against women are terms that are often used interchangeably as it has been widely acknowledged that most gender-based violence is inflicted on women and girls, by men. However, using the ‘gender-based’ aspect is important as it highlights the fact that many forms of violence against women are rooted in power inequalities between women and men.

“Violence against women” is understood as ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life’ The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) Article 1.

Domestic violence

The Istanbul Convention (Council of Europe, Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence), as the benchmark for international legislation on tackling gender-based violence, frames gender-based violence and violence against women as a gendered act which is ‘a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women’. Under the Istanbul Convention acts of gender-based violence are emphasised as resulting in ‘physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coerican or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occuring in public or in private life.’

Domestic violence shall mean all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family or domestic unit or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim’ (p8, Istanbul Convention 2011)

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence refers to any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship. The Albanian legislation has recently accepted the notion of IPV, by extending the scope of beneficiaries of the foreseen prevention and protection mechanism by introducing for the first time the concept of intimate relationships DV victim. The introduction of this concept will enable the respective law enforcement agencies to respond to cases where victims are not officially married.

IPV can take many forms and examples include:

  • Acts of physical violence
  • Sexual violence and other forms of sexual coercion
  • Emotional and/or psychological violence
  • Controlling behaviours; restricting access to financial resources, employment, education or medical care.

Domestic violence (DV) or Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a prevalent phenomenon in Albania, and it is the responsibility of the state and individuals to initiate proper actions to stop and prevent it. GADC has addressed the IPV issue since its creation through projects targeting victims, violators, public opinion and institutions. 

The work of GADC on violence against women is aligned to the UN and EU Commission recommendations for Albania and the country’s EU accession, which state that the country is in need of institutional mechanisms to tackle gender-based violence, and needs to instigate secondary legislation regarding domestic violence. GADC is committed to push these matters forward.

Gender Based Violence more common than you think

The third National Population Survey “Violence Against Women” (2019) informed that one in two (52.9%) Albanian women have experienced violence during their life time. This study followed the first and second national surveys (2007, 2013) which focussed only on domestic violence. The 2018 Survey in addition to intimate partner domestic violence collects for the first time data on the nature and prevalence of other forms of violence: dating violence, non-partner violence, sexual harassment, stalking and brings forth findings on social norms related to violence against women.

65.8% of surveyed women experienced dating violence during their life-time, 47% have experienced intimate partners domestic violence; 1 in 5 women experienced physical and/or sexual violence and 18.2% of women experienced non-partner violence.

The Survey reveals that 18.1% of women experienced sexual harassment during their life-time and 12.6% of women experienced stalking.

The Survey brings data on the acceptance of violence against women among men and women in Albania. Findings revealed that 1 in 2 women believe violence between a husband and wife is a private matter; and 46.5% of women believe that a woman should tolerate some violence to keep her family together; 26.1% of women believe a woman should be ashamed or embarrassed to talk to anyone if she is raped. The survey data serves to monitor progress on indicators for Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 16 related to violence against women and girls.

All the surveyed women, said that domestic, sexual violence and harassment, and stalking are major concerns for the Albanian society. 83 % believe that it is key for the country to have
laws that protect women and girls from violence in marriage/families and 81 .9% believe that it is necessary to have in place legislation that protects them from sexual assault and rape.

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