According to a recent study, 42% of women and 24% of men reported being subject to violence by their partner in Switzerland. Across both groups the percentage was 33%.
The survey, run by Sotomo on behalf of the National Federation for women’s solidarity, questioned 3,597 people across Switzerland. The National Federation for women’s solidarity provides safe houses for women across Switzerland.
Violence was defined as psychological, physical and sexual acts.
The study showed significant differences between age groups and income levels but none related to level of education.
The worst affected age group was those aged 26 to 45. 37% of this age group had experienced some form of domestic violence. Among women in this age group 46% reported experiencing domestic violence. For men the same percentage was 27%.
Overall, 44% of those earning under CHF 4,000 a month reported domestic violence compared to 28% of those with incomes over CHF 10,000.
Around 60% believed abusers possessed particular traits. Two thirds agreed that the main risk factors for men were alcohol consumption, personal experiences of violence, possessiveness and a traditional view of women. The main reasons cited for women becoming violent were alcohol, personal experiences of violence, jealousy and mental illness.
The study is part of a campaign by the National Federation for women’s solidarity to make violence against women more visible. Until fairly recently, domestic violence in Switzerland has been a politically tabou subject and considered something to be dealt with privately. Only towards the end of the 1970s when the first safe houses opened did the situation begin to change, according to the organisation.
The study revealed certain attitudes towards domestic violence that appear to stand in the way of progress on the problem. Half believed domestic matters should remain private. Men (59%) were more likely than women (46%) to hold this belief. Others believed that sexy clothing made the wearer partly responsible for any resulting violence. 22% of men and 13% of women believed this. Half of those aware of domestic violence involving someone they knew reported not intervening. The main reason for not getting involved was a sense that getting involved would worsen the situation.
In 2020, more than 20,000 cases of domestic violence were recorded by the authorities in Switzerland, only a tiny portion of the real figure.