French national survey on violence and gender relations (VIRAGE)

CC Manuel W.

In 2009, the taskforce for assessing French national policy for preventing and combating violence against women (Mission d’Evaluation de la Politique de Prévention et de Lutte contre les Violences faites aux Femmes), a body working under the aegis of/a commission of France’s National Assembly, recommended conducting a new survey on violence against women that would modelled be on the national survey on the same issue done in 2000 by the demographic institute of the Université Paris I (ENVEFF). Two years later, in 2011, the new European Union Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence called on signatory states to measure gender-related violence and better assess its effects on victims.


In response to this expressed need for more detailed knowledge, a research team has been formed as part of INED’s "Demography, gender and societies" unit to conduct a new survey that will update ENVEFF results and answer new questions raised now, nearly 15 years after the original path-breaking investigation.
The new project, entitled "Violence and gender relations (VIRAGE): contexts and consequences of violence undergone by women and men," has already received funding from the Ministère des Droits des Femmes, the Caisse Nationale des Allocations Familiales and the Agence pour la Cohésion Sociale et l’Egalité by way of the Fonds Interministériel pour la Prevention de la Délinquence.

The main goals of the VIRAGE survey are as follows:

Nearly 15 years after ENVEFF, to update and further detail French statistics on violence against women while extending the investigation to men. This far-reaching quantitative survey will be conducted with 25,000 persons (12,500 women and 12,500 men) aged 20 to 69. Data collection is scheduled to begin in metropolitan France for 2015 and somewhat later in the overseas departments.
Violence is a complex, heterogeneous phenomenon. Any description of it should take into account the contexts in which it occurs: family, work, public places, and others. There are also many different forms of violence (verbal, physical, sexual) and many different effects. The aim of the VIRAGE survey is to describe that diversity, distinguishing instances of violence in terms of the nature, frequency and context of the act and its consequences for the person who undergoes it. Moreover, a typology will be developed to distinguish the seriousness of victims’ situations; namely to determine the degree to which violence undergone by persons of different sexes is similar or different, the aim being to adapt prevention to the realities experienced by each sex.

The primary aims of the VIRAGE survey are

  • To estimate the number of victims of physical and sexual violence in the workplace and study connections between moral and sexual harassment.
  • To estimate the number of children living in families where domestic violence occurs and describe their situations.
  •  To estimate the number of adults who have undergone family violence in childhood or adolescence (sexual or other abuse) and describe their trajectories.
  •  To study relations between violence and discrimination against migrants, against homosexuals and against disabled persons.

To identify the effects of violence on school, occupational, residential and family trajectories and on health.