Every Third Citizen Is Subject to Some Form of Domestic Violence, Finds New Survey


16 August 2012: The findings of a recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and the UN—the first baseline survey of its kind in this country—show that over 35% of men and almost 40% of women have been subjected to some form of domestic violence, predominantly psychological violence.


As well as confirming that a higher proportion of women than men are subjected to all forms of domestic violence, especially physical and sexual violence, the survey found that:


  • 80% of female victims of physical violence are unemployed or economically inactive.
  • Women living in rural areas are much more vulnerable to physical domestic violence. 
  • Women from middle to low income families record a much higher rate of domestic violence.
  • More than half of all cases of domestic violence affect women with only primary or lower levels of education.


The survey also found that the social stigma attached to such crimes means that many victims of domestic violence remain silent and continue to live in fear, with over three quarters of incidents not reported to any of the publicly available services.


And while the services most often contacted were the police, social work centers and health centers, the level of public satisfaction with the quality and efficiency of these services remains low.


Moreover, although 90% of respondents are aware that domestic violence is a criminal offence and almost 80% understand that social services exist to protect victims, only 45% were aware of the specific legal steps available to the public in cases of domestic violence, especially for the protection of victims and the punishment of perpetrators.


The findings of this survey thus show the need to develop more targeted actions at local level to raise awareness and increase confidence amongst victims of domestic violence that they can obtain discrete and efficient support and protection from national institutions.


The country has taken significant steps to tackle the problem of domestic violence in the past ten years, demonstrating its commitment to building a society with zero-tolerance for such crime. It recently became one of the first countries to ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women.


Over the past years, the UN agencies in the country have worked closely with national institutions and civil society organizations to help implement the National Strategy on Domestic Violence for 2007 to 2011.


Many important processes have been initiated to help strengthen the relevant institutions and to empower the victims of domestic violence. For example:


  • Nearly 400 victims of domestic violence have benefited from free legal aid services.
  • More than 800 professionals—including personnel from the Ministry of Interior, social workers, judges and public prosecutors—have been trained in ways to tackle cases of domestic violence more appropriately and efficiently.
  • A national coordinative body has been established to help prevent domestic violence, together with local bodies in 33 municipalities.
  • More than 60 victims of domestic violence have been helped to set up their own businesses, to gain subsidized employment, or to acquire additional education.
  • Awareness-raising activities, meanwhile, have resulted in over 70% of the population being aware of the problem of domestic violence.

A lot of work still needs to be done by institutions and civil society organizations to reach out to, encourage, support and empower the victims of domestic violence.


The objective of this survey was to provide an in-depth analysis of citizen’s perception of quality and efficiency of the institutions mandated to provide protection and support to the victims of family violence and also, help expand the overall capacity for evidence-based policy making and implementation.


The survey was conducted throughout March and April 2012 by the polling house BRIMA Skopje, associate member of GALLUP International, and 2100 participants, over the age of 15, were effectively surveyed.