Current events

Young women are more likely to be the victims of gender-based violence than older women
  woman puts a hand in front of the camera lens

UOC reseachers participate in a study study on gender-based violence in young people in Catalonia (photo: M.T ElGassier /

Lorena Farràs Pérez

Women between 16 and 29 years old are more likely to suffer from such situations in every possible form and setting

These are the conclusions reached by a quantitative study carried out by a group of female researchers at the UOC after analysing specific data for this age group for the first time

Two out of every five women in Catalonia between the ages of 16 and 29 (39.4%) have been the victims of gender-based violence in the space of a year. This is 21.8 percentage points higher than the figure for all women, which is 17.6%. In other words, young women are the main victims of violence. The data are taken from a survey on gender-based violence in Catalonia, and this is the first time that this issue has been studied with a focus on young people. Researchers from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) have been involved in the analysis as part of the study on gender-based violence in young people in Catalonia, organized by the Youth Observatory of Catalonia.

"Age is always a risk factor, but we weren't expecting such a significant difference," admitted Claudia Malpica, a researcher at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and co-author of the report together with Natalia Garrido, a doctoral student at the UOC with the Gender and ICT (GenTIC) research group, and Maria Rodó, a researcher at the University of Barcelona. 

Historically, and in spite of the media impact and social rejection sparked when women are raped, young people as a group have been ignored in studies on gender-based violence, both because of the "adult-centred" focus of such studies and because of the male-centred approach of studies about young people.


Young people do not view control as violence

The study also looks at how gender-based violence affects young women differently depending on their individual profile. Of all the possible variables, the most affected victims are those without a partner. And, in the case of women who do not have a partner but have had one in the past, young women are also more likely to suffer from this type of violence than members of older age groups. As to intimate partner violence, psychological violence is the most prevalent type, with young women suffering the largest variety of forms, such as being subject to control over what they do, how they dress or whether they talk to other men. The study also found a higher prevalence of gender-based violence towards financially dependent young women or those with functional diversity, but also towards students or those in employment.

Another conclusion as to what is considered gender-based violence within an intimate relationship is that "there are various forms of gender-based violence that young people don't quite see as violence compared to other age groups," stated Malpica. These are: controlling what your partner is doing at any given time and where they are and with whom, stopping them from talking to other men, slapping them once, pushing them or stopping them from meeting or talking to friends or family. "However, as to the causes of this behaviour, young women mostly point to sexism as the main reason," said the researcher.


Reference publication

Rodó-Zárate, M.; Malpica, C.; Garrido, N. 2021. Violències masclistes en l’etapa juvenil a Catalunya. Part II. Explotació de l’enquesta de violència masclista a Catalunya de 2016 des d’una perspectiva de la joventut. Estudis, no. 40. Available at this link:


This UOC research supports Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 (Gender equality).



The UOC's research and innovation (R&I) is helping overcome pressing challenges faced by global societies in the 21st century, by studying interactions between technology and human & social sciences with a specific focus on the network society, e-learning and e-health.

Over 500 researchers and 52 research groups work among the University's seven faculties and two research centres: the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the eHealth Center (eHC).

The University also cultivates online learning innovations at its eLearning Innovation Center (eLinC), as well as UOC community entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer via the Hubbik platform.

The United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and open knowledge serve as strategic pillars for the UOC's teaching, research and innovation. More information: #UOC25years

UOC experts

Claudia Malpica

Claudia Malpica

IN3 researcher

Natalia Garrido

Natalia Garrido

Doctoral student