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Population size:


Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Prevalence of domestic violence against women (lifetime) 22%. According to CEDAW (2016), the number of cases of violence against women has increased.[2]

A study by the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health traced admissions to the emergency department of Reykjavik’s main hospital and documents the prevalent and methods of domestic abuse. The prevalence was 1.69 per 1000 women in the capital area over the research period. The majority of women were shown to have minor physical injuries of a superficial nature, located on the upper body. Although a low percentage of women were admitted, the associated cost for visits and admissions was substantial. The total cost for the hospital relating to IPV was €783,330.[3]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

No country-wide research. Domestic violence suspected to have played a role in deaths of 2 women in April. There has been a slight increase in reports in the capital area, Suðurnes, and Northeast Iceland.[4]

Current law and policy:

Iceland has set up a five-year equality fund, and pledges that over half the grants will be awarded to international equality efforts. However, Iceland’s image as a progressive country may be hiding a more dangerous reality.

The court system appears to punish women who report abuse to their children by the father, because of the system of equal shared parental responsibility. This downplays violence against children in order to prioritise unsupervised access to children for physically or sexually abusive fathers.

The courts are seen to operate an implicit bias against women. This has enabled abusive men to use the court system against them. Iceland ratified the Istanbul Convention in April 2018 and it came into force in August 2018. However, there has been no training for judges on the convention which means the judges’ assumptions of women will likely continue to prevail.[5]

Public spending - 1.4% of GDP on violence containment (excluding individuals’ expenditures and indirect costs such as lost wages resulting from lower productivity or absenteeism).[6]

Frontline Services:



[1] The World Bank, (1).



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