One in five ever-partnered women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in Sri Lanka


In 2019, the Department of Census and Statistics conducted the first dedicated national prevalence survey on violence against women.

Known as the Women’s Wellbeing Survey (WWS) it covered all 25 districts in Sri Lanka and interviewed more than 2,200 women aged 15 and above.

The study found that in Sri Lanka, one in five (20.4%) ever-partnered women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

In analyzing women’s coping strategies when living with violence by a partner, the study found that nearly half (49.3%) of the women who experienced sexual violence by a partner did not seek formal help anywhere due to reasons such as shame, embarrassment and fear of being blamed or not being believed, and/or thinking the violence was normal or not serious enough to seek help.

This Women’s Wellbeing Study was technically supported by the United Nations Population Fund with financial assistance from the Government of Canada.

Violence by partners in any form can have a significant impact on women’s health and wellbeing and is also interconnected with the socio-economic recovery from crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hence in further sharing other detailed findings of this study, a series of consultative workshops are scheduled to be held with key Government stakeholders and other development partners over the next few months to better inform decision-making to ensure we leave no one behind.

To access the full report, please visit

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