The effect of macrosocial policies on violence against women: a multilevel study in 28 European countries

  • Belén Sanz-Barbero
  • Consuelo Corradi
  • Laura Otero-García
  • Alba Ayala
  • Carmen Vives-Cases
Original Article



To describe and analyze whether a relationship exists between gender equality and political responses to gender violence (GV) against women with physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) in the European Union (EU).


We analyzed a subsample of 39,269 ever-partnered women aged 18 and older from the violence against women survey (2012) of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. Outcome was last 12 months physical and/or sexual IPV. Multilevel Poisson regression models were used.


Current prevalence of IPV was 4.2%. Having suffered abuse by an adult before age 15 was the strongest associated factor for increasing the probability of suffering (PR: 2.9). Living in countries with higher gender equality, with anti-GV legislation prior to 2005, in countries where the state involved multiple actors in GV response and in countries with family policies included in the Anglo-Saxon, Eastern European and Southern European typologies (reference: Nordic), diminishes the women likelihood of suffering IPV.


The response to IPV in the EU requires an integral approach that accounts for the efforts of multiple sectors as well as policies that reach greater levels of gender equality in the countries.


Intimate partner violence Spouse abuse European Union Legislation Multilevel analysis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This manuscript reflects original work. The manuscript has not been published previously (partly or in full) and is not under consideration elsewhere. All authors have participated in conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of the data; drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and approval of the final version and accept responsibility for its contents. European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights approved and supervised this secondary data analysis and design and provides a special license for this purpose (reference number 93210).

Supplementary material

38_2018_1143_MOESM1_ESM.docx (426 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 425 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belén Sanz-Barbero
    • 1
    • 2
  • Consuelo Corradi
    • 3
  • Laura Otero-García
    • 2
    • 4
  • Alba Ayala
    • 1
  • Carmen Vives-Cases
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.National School of Public HealthInstitute of Health Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  2. 2.CIBER of Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP)MadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Human StudiesLumsa UniversityRomeItaly
  4. 4.Nursing Section, Faculty of MedicineAutonomous University of MadridMadridSpain
  5. 5.Public Health Research Group, Department of Community Nursing, Preventive Medicine and Public Health and History of ScienceAlicante UniversityAlicanteSpain

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