Violence against women is rooted in women's unequal status in society, and that status reflects the unbalanced distribution of social, political, and economic power among women and men. It is one of the most pervasive human rights violations and a form of discrimination that results in physical, sexual, psychological and economic harm to women. It cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and/or geography.

Gender-related killings, also known as femicide/feminicide, are the extreme manifestation of gender inequality. According to a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 87 000 women  were intentionally killed worlwide in 2017. More than a third were killed by a current or former partner. As such, gender-based violence has farreaching consequences, harming families and communities. It not only reflects and reinforces gender inequalities, violates human rights, but also reduces human capital and undermines economic growth.

Systematic data collection has long been recognised as crucial for effective policy-making in preventing and combating violence against women, as highlighted by the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention) article 11. While data from surveys offer measures of prevalence of violence against women, administrative data collection plays an important role in monitoring the implementation of policies aimed at reducing and preventing this violence and in assessing the effectiveness of state response.

Since 2012, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) supports Member States (MS) in strengthening capacities for producing statistics on various forms of violence against women and data collection activities. Based on analysis of the data collection systems within the police and just sectors in each MS, an uniform set of definitions and indicators was developed by EIGE in 2017 to aid national data collection on rape, femicide and intimate partner violence (IPV). In the following year, each MS was provided with country-specific recommendations on actions to be taken according to the specific challenges faced by each. While some progress has been made in the production of gender-based violence administrative data, significant gaps and challenges remain across the EU, not only due to differences in the definitions and classifications of incidents, but also due to significant differences in data recording practices.