Mapping survey

A survey was conducted with WHO national focal points for the prevention of violence to identify current policy, practice and stakeholders and to gather information on current policy and programming on services for sexual assault from across 22 European countries (EU Member States and EFTA/EEA countries).

  • 18 from EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK (separate responses from Northern Ireland, England and Scotland);
  • 2 from an EFTA/EEA country: Iceland and Switzerland; and
  • 2 from EU accession countries: Macedonia and Montenegro.

The majority (14) were completed by representatives of government departments or ministries, of which eight include health in their remits.

Twelve respondents (55%) said definitions of sexual violence in their countries are different from those used by the WHO and the remaining 10 (45%) said the WHO definition is used or mainly used. 4

  • 12 (55%) of respondents said definitions of intimate partner violence in their countries were different from that used by the WHO.

Strategies and policies

  • 16 out of 22 respondents (73%) said that a national policy or strategy on addressing sexual assault was in place in their country.
  • 11 respondents (50%) said regional policies or strategies on addressing sexual assault are also in place in their country.
  • 17 respondents (89%) said the role of the health sector is referred to in strategies/policies.
  • The emergency services is the health actor referred to by the greatest number of strategies/policies described by respondents at 79%.
  • 17 respondents described the role of the health sector in strategies. The roles described most frequently are providing emergency care and collecting evidence.
  • 18 respondents (95%) said the role of the non-health sector is referred to in strategies and policies.
  • The police is the non-health actor referred to by the greatest number of strategies described by respondents at 95%.

Services and interventions

  • 10 respondents (45%) described dedicated sexual assault centres are available in their countries.
  • 14 respondents (64%) said services are available in health settings.
  • 13 (59%) said they are available in non-health settings.
  • The intervention provided in the most number of respondents¬°¬¶ countries is forensic examination and support which 100% of respondents said was available in their country.
  • 19 out of 22 respondents (86%) said services are funded by public money. 9 respondents also said private, NGO or charitable funds are used.
  • Data provided about how many women use services or what percentage of victims use services was not sufficiently comprehensive to be reliably analysed.
  • Of the 18 respondents answered the question about whether the sexual assault services available take into consideration the needs of vulnerable groups, 100% said the services did take account the needs of some of these groups.
  • The vulnerable groups whose needs are taken into consideration by the most services described by respondents are trafficked women and adolescent women with 100% each.
  • 13 respondents (59%) said interventions in their country are evaluated.
  • Only one respondent was aware of economic evaluations of sexual assault interventions in their country.
  • Respondents (86%) said training for health care professionals is available in their country.
  • 16 respondents (80%) said training for non- health care professionals is available in their country.
  • Between 67% and 75% of respondents said prevention programmes such as school-based programmes to prevent violence in dating relationships, changing cultural norms to gender inequality, changing cultural norms that support intimate partner violence and changing cultural norms that support sexual violence we in place.
  • 14 (77%) of respondents said there were multiple pathways for accessing services in their countries.

Download WHO focal points report