Ending Violence Against Women & Girls

About Us

This initiative is led by the Equality Institute, Apolitical and Wellspring, designed in consultation with existing leaders in violence prevention worldwide. More on our partners below.

In the last five years, less than .002 percent of global Official Development Assistance was directed to preventing violence against women and girls. We exist to change this. This initiative aims to build shared global agendas to focus violence prevention efforts, and increase investments in evidence-based programming to end violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set the agenda for global priorities in development between now and 2030. Universally, they call for a sustainable future, whereby all people enjoy equal rights and poverty is a thing of the past. Unless we end violence against women and girls, we won’t achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

UN SDG 5.2 establishes the elimination of all forms of violence against women as a worldwide priority, and 25 years after the historic Beijing Commission on the Status of Women, addressing gender-based violence is one of six core action coalitions for the year from UN Women. Countries around the world are stepping up their efforts to end violence in a variety of ways:

  • In the last 20 years, multi-sector efforts in Nicaragua have led to a 63 per cent decrease in intimate partner violence experienced over women's lifetimes.
  • In France, preventing intimate partner violence is a priority at the presidential level, and this year saw increased measures to end it.
  • In November 2019, the U.K. recommitted its investment in ending violence against women and girls with a £67.5 million investment to scale up successful programs through its What Works initiative.
  • Australia is the first country in the world to take an evidence-based whole-of-government approach to prevention, with more than $840 million invested since 2013.

"The momentum is on our side, but we need to step up efforts around the world to protect all women and girls. This initiative can and will take global efforts where they need to go.” - Tina Musuya, Center for Domestic Violence Prevention

The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

Violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights. It is rooted in gender inequality and is a public health problem, and an impediment to sustainable development.

Nearly 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence, not including sexual harassment, by any perpetrator. Globally, 30% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, and between 38%-50% of murders of women are committed by intimate partners.

Furthermore, adolescent girls, young women, women belonging to ethnic and other minorities, trans women, and women with disabilities face a higher risk of different forms of violence. And the majority (55-95%) of women survivors of violence do not disclose or seek any type of services.

Violence negatively affects women’s physical and mental health and well-being. It also has social and economic consequences and costs for families, communities and societies. In 2016 alone, the global cost of VAWG was US $1.5 trillion - equivalent to approximately 2% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).

Fundamentally VAWG is driven by gender inequality however there are many factors that can increase the risk of violence such as low education, child maltreatment or exposure to violence in the family, harmful use of alcohol, attitudes accepting of violence and gender inequality.

While these statistics are harrowing, VAWG is preventable. Together, we can end violence against women and girls.

Violence against women and girls is preventable. Preventing VAWG requires a multi-sectoral approach and combined efforts across global, national and community levels.

Ending VAWG can be understood in three intersecting approaches – primary prevention, early intervention and response.

Response approaches work to support survivors and hold perpetrators to account – while also helping to prevent violence happening again. Early intervention aims to ‘change the trajectory’ for individuals at higher-than-average risk of perpetrating or experiencing violence. Primary prevention aims to stop violence before it starts. This can include whole-of-population initiatives and programmes that address the underlying drivers of violence and aim to advance gender equality.

Primary prevention is key and requires long-term, coordinated investments – both targeted and holistic – in a number of initiatives, at different levels. A successful primary prevention approach requires working to mitigate the risk factors of VAWG while amplifying the protective factors. Ultimately primary prevention works to address gender inequality – which is at the root of VAWG. It aims to transform harmful gender attitudes, beliefs, and norms that uphold male privilege and female subordination, justify VAWG and stigmatise survivors.

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Women, along with OHCHR, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, and the Dutch, Swedish, UK and US governments released the RESPECT framework of 7 strategies to prevent violence against women and girls.

R – elationship skills strengthened
E – mpowerment of women
S – ervices ensured
P – overty reduced
E – nvironments made safe
C – hild and adolescent abuse prevented
T – ransformed attitudes, beliefs, and norms

Ultimately the strategies work as interventions within the framework to contribute to outputs including the widespread implementation of VAWG programmes, increased resources and political will to address VAWG, and increased awareness about VAWG as a public problem and how it can be prevented.

This initiative uses the RESPECT frameworkto contribute to these outputs in order to end violence against women and girls.

"The high levels of rape and domestic violence that blight the lives of women and children in situations of protracted conflict... and in more stable situations, require a scaled up, evidence-informed response.” - Charlotte Watts, UK Department for International Development

This initiative is led by the Equality Institute, Apolitical and Wellspring, and the Research Agenda is led by the Sexual Violence Research Initiative with the Equality Institute.

Apoliticalis the global peer-to-peer platform for government. They connect policymakers to the solutions, people and partners they need to tackle increasingly complex and fast-moving problems - from climate change and inequality, to migration and AI.

The Equality Institute is a global feminist agency dedicated to the prevention of violence against women and girls. They work to advance gender equality and support violence prevention efforts to thrive through research, creative communications and global leadership.

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund supports the realisation of human rights and social and economic justice for all people. Their work is rooted in respect for the dignity and worth of every human being.

The Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) is the world’s largest research network focussing on violence against women and violence against children. It provides a forum where researchers, funders, policymakers and practitioners from across the globe can connect, promote their research, and influence policies to improve the lives of those who have experienced gender-based violence. SVRI funds research, strengthens research capacity, and promotes partnerships to influence change.

We’re stronger together. This initiative is supported by many organisations around the world. Find out more about them below. To become a supporter, contact us at admin@equalityinstitute.org.

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