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Although men and children are also
sometimes victims of domestic violence, most victims are
women. Violence against women is one of the most serious
forms of gender-based violations of human rights. Despite
positive developments in law, policies and practices, it
still occurs in every Council of Europe member state at all
levels of society.
The 2006 Council of Europe's study suggests that across countries one fifth to one quarter of all women has experienced physical violence at least once during their lives, and more than one-tenth have suffered sexual violence. Furthermore, it is estimated that about 12 % to 15 % of all women over the age of 16 have suffered from domestic violence.
The Council of Europe has undertaken a series of initiatives to promote the protection of women against violence. In a period of 2006-2008, they ran a campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including domestic violence, in order to raise awareness that violence against women is a human rights violation and to promote the implementation of effective measures for preventing and combating such violence in the Council of Europe member states.