Complaints and victims of gender violence increased in Spain

The 176,380 women who in 2022 were victims of sexist violence presented 71.56% of the 182,073 complaints registered with the judicial bodies. The convictions reached 77.45% of the total of the 57,059 handed down by the courts and tribunals. The number of minors prosecuted for this type of crime was 305, 18.67% more than the previous year. The president of the Observatory, Ángeles Carmona, points out that the increase in complaints and victims demonstrates greater confidence in Justice, but should alert us to the high incidence of sexist violence in our society.


The number of victims of gender violence, as well as the number of complaints filed for this type of crime, again showed a significant increase in 2022, of 10.7% and 11.8%, respectively, compared to 2021. According to the annual data, which the Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence has now made public.

Last year, the judicial bodies (courts for violence against women and courts on duty) agreed on 32,842 protection orders, 5.2% more than in 2021, and handed down 57,059 sentences, 5% more than the previous year. 77.45% of these resolutions contained a conviction, the highest annual percentage in the historical series.

The civil measures consisting of the suspension of the visitation regime, dictated by the courts of violence against women to protect the sons and daughters of the victims, maintained the upward trend shown since the entry into force of the Organic Law of comprehensive protection childhood and adolescence against violence. Thus, during 2022, the judicial bodies adopted 4,100 measures of this type, 104% more than in 2021, the year in which they totalled 2,008.

During 2022, the Spanish courts received a total of 182,073 complaints, 11.8% more than the previous year, in which 162,848 were registered. There were 176,380 women victims of sexist violence, 10.7% more than in 2021, the year in which 159,352 were recorded. Two out of three female victims (65.65%) were Spanish.

The rate of victims of gender violence for every 10,000 women was 72.9 throughout Spain, almost seven points higher than in 2021. The Balearic Islands were above the national average, with a ratio of 110.3; Murcia, with 103.4; Valencian Community, with 95.6; Canary Islands, with 88.2; Andalusia, with 86.3 and Madrid, with 75.8. The lowest rates were recorded in Castilla y León, with 46.8 victims for every 10,000 women; Galicia, with 49.6; the Basque Country, with 53.5; La Rioja, with 53.6 and Asturias, with 53.9.

Seven out of ten complaints (71.56%) were filed by the victims themselves, either in court or at the police station, a figure that is still much higher than that of the complaints filed by those close to the victim, 1.83 percent of the total. Complaints derived directly from police reports represented 14.9%; those originated by reports of injuries, 7.8% and those presented by third parties, 3.9 percent.

The percentage of female victims who availed themselves of the exemption from the legal obligation to declare remained very similar to that of 2021. A total of 16,839 victims, 9.5% of the total (compared to 9.86% in 2021), resigned to testify against their attackers. Of these, 9,540 were Spanish and 7,299 of other nationalities.

Orders of Protection Requested and Granted

In 2022, a total of 47,279 protection orders were requested in judicial bodies. Of these, 39,909 were initiated by the courts for violence against women and another 7,370 by the courts acting as guards.

The protection orders adopted totalled 32,842. In other words, in 2022, seven out of ten (69.46%) requested protection orders were agreed. The courts for violence against women agreed to 27,229, 68.2% of the requests they received, while the duty courts agreed to 5,613, 76 percent.

In 48.4% of cases, the couple relationship (spouse or affective relationship) was maintained at the time of requesting the protection order, a percentage very similar to that of 2021 (48.9%).

Two out of every three women (66.3%) who requested protection were Spanish and 1.7% of the total (Spanish and foreign) were minors. In both cases, the percentages are very similar to those of 2021.

Criminal and civil judicial protection measures

The judicial bodies also agreed, derived from protection orders and other precautionary measures, a total of 60,984 criminal judicial measures to protect victims (women and minors). In the criminal sphere, the most frequent were restraining orders (23,705), which represented 65.70% of the total protection orders and agreed precautionary measures, and the prohibition of communication (23,469), 65.92 percent of the total.

On the other hand, the judicial bodies issued 19,389 civil precautionary measures, whose purpose is the protection of women and minors while the criminal process is resolved. The most frequent were those related to the provision of food (5,844), which represented 20.25% of the total civil measures adopted, and those related to the attribution of housing (4,523), 15.61% of the total. In both cases, the percentages remained stable compared to 2021.

During 2022, 4,100 civil measures to suspend the visiting regime were also agreed. This type of measures, which represented 14.35% of the total civil measures adopted, increased by 104% compared to 2021 as a result of the application by the judicial bodies of the reform of article 544 of the Criminal Procedure Law that, since June 2021, establishes the suspension of the visiting regime “when a protection order is issued with criminal measures and there are well-founded indications that minor sons and daughters have witnessed, suffered or lived” with gender violence.

The civil measure consisting of the suspension of guard and custody also increased: the 2,335 measures of this type represent 8.09% of the total civil measures agreed in 2022. The courts for violence against women also adopted 178 specific protection measures of the minor to avoid danger or harm and in 409 cases they suspended parental authority.

Convicting sentences

Last year, the percentage of convictions handed down by judicial bodies (courts for violence against women, criminal courts and provincial courts) in proceedings related to gender violence increased by almost two points and stood at 77.45 % of the total.

The total number of sentences handed down in 2022 was 57,059 and, of these, 44,191 were convictions and 12,868 (22.55%), acquittals.

The highest percentage of sentences for abusers occurred, as in previous years, in the courts for violence against women, with 90.87%, and in the provincial courts, with 78.33% of the total sentences handed down. The criminal courts imposed sentences in 66.80% of the cases prosecuted.

Violence against women courts

The courts for violence against women held a total of 7,160 trials on minor crimes last year, 2.74% less than in 2021. Of these, 2,974 (42%) were for immediate prosecution. Of the total number of minor crimes prosecuted last year, 39% were insults and 37% unfair harassment.

These judicial bodies entered a total of 242,684 criminal matters throughout the year, with 62% of the crimes investigated involving injuries and ill-treatment provided for in articles 153 and 173 of the Penal Code.

The number of civil lawsuits filed by women victims of sexist violence in these courts -mostly non-consensual divorces and measures related to custody and maintenance of sons and daughters- amounted to 23,382, 7.42% more than in 2021, thus maintaining the upward trend of previous years.

Criminal Courts

The Criminal Courts, which prosecute crimes punishable by up to five years in prison, received 32,736 cases during 2022 and resolved 32,846. The number of sentences handed down by these bodies was 31,571, of which 21,090 were convictions (66.80%).

Provincial Courts

The Provincial Courts, whose specialised sections on violence against women prosecute the most serious crimes, punishable by custodial sentences of more than five years, handed down 480 sentences, of which 376 (78.33%) were convictions.

Juvenile courts

For their part, last year the juvenile courts prosecuted 305 minors for crimes of violence against women, 18.67% more than in 2021. Measures were imposed in nine out of ten cases, 278 in total, of which 229 were related to Spanish minors and 49 to minors of other nationalities. In the other 27 proceedings they did not impose measures.

Main data for the fourth quarter of 2022

The main indicators of gender violence showed, during the fourth quarter of last year, the upward trend of the entire year. The number of women victims of sexist violence, 43,424, was 5.90 percent more than in the same period of 2021, in which they totalled 41,004. Two out of every three victims (65.41%) had Spanish nationality.

The complaints also increased by 7.27%, which totalled 45,091 compared to the 42,035 in the last quarter of 2021. Three out of four of these complaints, 71.37%, were presented by the victim herself, while their family environment denounced the facts in 1.6% of the cases.

The number of women who availed themselves of the exemption from the legal duty to give a statement increased by 16.68% compared to the previous year. In total, there were 4,519 women, that is, 10.41% of the victims.

The courts for violence against women adopted a total of 6,685 protection orders between October and December 2022, 68.73% of the 9,726 requested before these judicial bodies. To these are added the 1,479 orders adopted by the courts on duty, 76.19% of the 1,941 petitions received.

In the period analysed, the courts imposed 15,413 protection measures of a criminal nature (derived from protection orders and other precautionary measures for the protection and safety of victims), the most frequent being the prohibition of communication (65.61% of the total) and the restraining order (63.53%).

In addition, the courts for violence against women agreed on 4,853 civil measures, the most common being those related to the provision of food (19.51% of the total), the attribution of housing (15.75%) or the suspension of the regime visits (15.41%) and guardianship and custody (9.09%).

The number of sentences handed down by judicial bodies in matters of gender violence were 14,507. Of these, 77.77% contained a conviction and the remaining 22.23% were acquittals.

The highest percentage of convictions occurred in courts for violence against women, in which 90.68% of the 6,349 sentences handed down contained a conviction. Of the 126 sentences handed down by the Provincial Courts, 76.98% were convictions, while the criminal courts imposed sentences on 67.58% of the 8,032 sentences handed down.