Facts and Figures: Ending Violence against Women

  • The Palestinian legislative framework falls under four different systems (Israeli, Jordanian, Egyptian and Palestinian) according to geographic location. For example, East Jerusalem is currently subject to Israeli civil legislative jurisdiction [1].
  • The Palestinian Legislative Council (the Palestinian parliament) has been paralyzed since 2007 [2].
  • There are no specific laws or provisions in the oPt that protect women against domestic violence and sexual violence. Passing new laws, notably to protect women against domestic violence, or the amendment of existing laws that are deemed discriminatory towards women and in contradiction to human rights, remains hampered by the paralysis of the Palestinian Legislative Council [3].
  • Provisions of the Penal Code in force in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip contain discriminatory provisions for women in relation to rape, adultery, and sexual violence committed in marriage. For example, if women are not able to provide/show evidence of “force”, “threats” and/or “deception” to support rape claims, they risk being criminalized for “adultery” [4].

Violence against Women and Girls

  • 29.9% of ever-married women in the West Bank and 51% in the Gaza Strip have been subjected to a form of violence within the household; with 48.8% of women in the West Bank and 76.4% in the Gaza Strip declaring having been psychologically abused; 17.4% in the West Bank and 34.8% in the Gaza Strip physically abused; and 10.2% in the West Bank and 14.9% in the Gaza Strip sexually abused [5].
  • 3.3% of ever married women report being exposed to psychological violence at barriers and inspection points from soldiers; while 0.6% report exposure to physical violence, and 0.2% report sexual harassment [6].
  • 65.3% of women who were exposed to violence by their husbands declared preferring to remain silent; while 30.2% said they had recourse to their family, and 0.7% opted to seek the assistance of an institution (women institution or centre) [7]. 
  • According to the Independent Commission for Human Rights and women’s organizations, 28 women were killed in the name of so-called “honour” in 2013, which signals a worrying deterioration and/or increased reporting, since in 2012, the reported number was 12 and in 2011, it was 8.

Access to Security, Justice and Social Services

  • At present, there are 10 specialized Family Protection Units (FPU) operating in 10 districts of the West Bank - Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Jericho, Salfeet, Tubas, Tulkarem and Qalqilya – with the specific mandate to protect families, specifically women and children, and ensure that the rule of law is upheld.
  • There are currently 4 anti-violence centres/shelters in Palestine: Mehwar Centre in Bethlehem, functioning under the umbrella of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Family Defense Society shelter in Nablus, the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling emergency shelter in Jericho and Al-Hayat Centre in Gaza.


[1] Palestinian National Authority (2011), National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women 2011-2019.

[2] Palestinian National Authority (2011), National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women 2011-2019.

[3] Palestinian National Authority (2011), National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women 2011-2019.

[4] Palestinian National Authority (2011), National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women 2011-2019.