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Physical Violence Against Women

Indicator Phrasing

% of women aged 15 - 49 who experienced severe physical violence in the past 12 months
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of women aged 15 - 49 who experienced severe physical violence in the past 12 months

French: % de femmes âgées de 15 à 49 ans ayant subi des violences physiques graves au cours des 12 derniers mois

Spanish: % de mujeres de 15 a 49 años que han sufrido violencia física grave en los últimos 12 meses

Portuguese: % de mulheres com idades entre 15 e 49 anos que sofreram violência física grave nos últimos 12 meses

Czech: % žen ve věku 15 - 49 let, které během posledních 12 měsíců byly fyzicky vážně napadeny

What is its purpose?

Freedom from violence is a critical aspect of women’s empowerment and greater gender equality. This indicator therefore measures the proportion of women who in the past 12 months experienced severe physical violence. Considering how sensitive (and in some ways also demanding) the collection of the required data is, it should be used only in interventions that are specifically addressing the prevention and response to gender-based violence.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of women aged 15 - 49 years:



Introduction: Life often brings both good and bad moments. I would now like to ask you some questions about the bad moments that life sometimes brings. If anyone comes near us I will change the topic of our interview. Again, I would like to assure you that your answers will be kept secret, and that you do not have to answer any questions that you do not want to. May I continue?


A0: the respondent provided consent / the respondent refused to continue


Q1: In the past 12 months, has someone ever hit you with a fist or with something else that could hurt you?


Q2: In the past 12 months, has someone ever kicked you, dragged you or beaten you?


Q3: In the past 12 months, has someone ever choked or burned you on purpose?


Q4: In the past 12 months, has someone ever threatened to use or actually used a gun, knife or other weapon against you?


A1-4: yes / no / did not respond



In all instances where the answer is “yes”, it is recommended (though not required) that you also ask the following questions:


Q5: In the past 12 months, would you say that this has happened once, a few times or many times?

A5: once / a few times / many times


Q6: Who was the person or people who did this to you? You do not need to tell me any names and I assure you that I will not share your response with anyone living in this area.

A6: [multiple options possible; if the gender of the attacker is not clear from the answer, ask about it]

1) her partner

2) her male family member

3) her female family member

4) her male friend

5) her female friend

6) a man she knew

7) a woman she knew

8) a stranger

9) did not respond



To calculate the indicator’s value:

1) exclude those respondents who did not report any incidence of physical violence but refused or could not respond to one or more questions

2) divide the number of the remaining respondents who replied “yes” to one or more of the questions (Q1-4) by the total number of respondents (do not count those you excluded in step 1)

3) multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage 


Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by the respondent’s age group and other factors depending on the local context.

Important Comments

1) Collecting data about gender-based violence is sensitive and can cause serious harm. Take advantage of IndiKit's Rapid Guide to Collecting Survey Data on GBV (see below) to know how to minimize the risk of any harm and ensure the desired quality of collected data. 


2) Consider including an additional question assessing whether the woman that suffered from physical violence has told anyone about it and if so, who (use general categories, such as “a friend” – do not ask about specific people or names).


3) If required for your project’s M&E purposes, you can extend the reference period - for example, to “in the past 2 years” (however, the standard period commonly used in surveys is 12 months).


4) In order to accurately record even smaller changes in the baseline and the endline values of this indicator, consider using a larger than usual sample size (so that the margin of error is not larger than 3-4 percentage points).


5) The guidance for this indicator was developed based on WHO (2005) Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women and Oxfam (2017) Measuring Women’s Empowerment.


This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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