Violence against women in Austria – at least 20% of women have been victims of violence

While the crime rate in Austria is low compared to countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, violence against women in Austria is still a problem.

So much so, 20% of women in Austria are said to be exposed to physical or sexual violence from the age of 15 years old onwards — this according to a survey by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

At least 15% say they have been stalked.

While that is extremely high, it is still (shockingly) 13% lower than the EU average.

Although, of course, the true percentage of women who experience violence in Austria is likely higher than 20% as violence against women is underreported world wide.

This is particularly true when it comes to domestic violence, with Austrian police reporting up to 90% of violent acts perpetrated against women are by family members or intimate partners.

They also estimate the number of violent acts reported to police is extremely low.

Violence against women in Austria happens in every social class, every nationality, and every ethnicity.

On average, three women are murdered in Austria every month.

The cost of this violence is a huge detriment to Austrian society, as the EIGE estimates violence against women in Austria, when it comes to intimate partner violence, likely costs the country around EUR 1.8 billion every year.

Laws against violence against women in Austria

Austria does not have a specific law targeting violence against women, but various forms of violence are criminalized.

It is also a crime in Austria to engage in a sexual act with anyone against their will, or to intimidate them into a sexual act.

If found guilty of such a crime, the typical prison term is up to two years.

Help for women who are victims of violence in Austria

Victims of domestic violence in Austria can get a temporary restraining order against the perpetrator or an emergency barring order that bans them from access to the victim’s home.

There are also 30 women’s shelters around the country, which accept both women and children, as well as six counseling centers for victims of sexual violence.

Should you be a victim of violence in Austria perpetrated by a man, you can call the Women’s Helpline Against Male Violence (0800 / 222 555) for help.

You can call the telephone counseling hotline at 142 from Monday to Sunday — 12am to midnight, free of charge.

Michelle Topham