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Gender-based violence surveyed in 46 European universities and research organisations

Categories: GESIS-News

Since starting at their institution, nearly two in three staff and students responding to the UniSAFE survey have experienced at least one form of gender-based violence.

From January to May 2022, staff and students from 46 research organisations and universities in Europe participated in the UniSAFE survey addressing gender-based violence in academia. It is the largest survey conducted so far in the European Research Area, with over 42,000 responses. It was led by GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, with close collaboration of Oxford Brookes university and Örebro university in the context of Project UniSAFE, a research collaboration between nine European partners.


A unique feature of this survey is its holistic approach to investigating gender-based violence. The survey focused on capturing gendered experiences of violence, whether physical, sexual, psychological, or economic, - and online forms of gender-based violence. The survey also looked into intersections with respondents’ individual situation, such as their sexual orientation, age, ethnic minority status, disability, and international mobility among others. The consequences of such experiences were investigated for respondents’ well-being, career and studies.

"Gender-based violence is a systemic problem that affects academic institutions no less than other parts of society. The data we gathered with the prevalence survey clearly shows that gender-based violence happens everywhere and to all genders. Our dataset helps to better understand the size and impact of the problem in academia. The projects’ cooperating universities have taken an important step by showing openness to evidence-based development of countermeasures. I am very pleased that with the survey we can promote this development in a data-driven way.“ Dr Anke Lipinsky, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, PI of the UniSAFE Survey


Overall, results show that 62% of the survey respondents have experienced at least one form of gender-based violence since they started working or studying at their institution. Women (66%) and non-binary people (74%) were more likely than men to experience all forms of gender-based violence, except for physical violence which more non-binary people and men indicated. Moreover, respondents who identify as LGBQ+ (68%), who reported a disability or chronic illness (72%), and those belonging to an ethnic minority group (69%) were more likely to have experienced at least one incident of gender-based violence, compared to those who do not identify with these characteristics.

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