Across the world, violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights, with a third of all women experiencing this kind of violence during their lifetime.
In every society, women and girls experience violence because of their gender. This includes physical, sexual, psychological and economic forms of violence, both within and outside of the home. Violence towards women and girls is often legitimised, justified or ignored due to discriminatory social norms, and fuelled by gender inequality. In some cases, women are even blamed for the violence committed against them and stigmatised as a result of it. In turn, VAWG undermines women and girls’ ability to control their own lives, restricting their choices and freedoms.
Explore GADN resources and learn more about violence against women and girls.
GADN Working Group
The VAWG Working Group influences the UK Government’s approach to VAWG policy and programming to ensure it is nuanced and rights-based. The Group also advocates for the UK Government to drive international action to eliminate VAWG.
More on the issue
Worldwide, 35% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives.
Some national studies show that up to 70% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Women and girls make up 71% of human trafficking victims globally. Nearly three quarters are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Approximately 650 million women and girls in the world today were married before they were 18 years old.
The UN defines violence against women and girls as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.
Wide reaching impact
VAWG impacts women both in the short and long term, physically, psychologically and practically. It profoundly affects women’s choices and general wellbeing, and prevents them from fully participating in society or achieving their potential.
VAWG has negative consequences not only for women but also for their families, communities and whole countries. The costs are financial as well as physical and emotional – ranging from greater healthcare and legal expenses to losses in productivity, draining national budgets and undermining overall development.
Work to shift negative norms and values legitimising violence.
Active engagement of women’s rights organisations and feminist movements.
Sexual and gender-based violence and refugees: the impacts of and on integration domains (University of Birmingham, SEREDA project, Institute for Research into Superdiversity, 2018)
Gender based violence programming in contexts affected by violence and conflict (Christian Aid, August 2018)
Preventing violence against women and girls in Bihar: challenges for implementation and evaluation (Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, July 2018)
VAWG mainstreaming in access to justice programmes: a framework for action (Development in Practice, January 2018)
In women’s eyes: key barriers to women’s access to HIV treatment and a rights-based approach to their sustained well-being (Salamander Trust, Athena Network and AVAC, December 2017)
Programme potential for the prevention of and response to sexual violence among female refugees: a literature review (Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, December 2017)
Women, war and displacement (Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence, November 2016)
“Violence. Enough already”: findings from a global participatory survey among women living with HIV (led by Salamander Trust, December 2015)
Violations of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV in clinical and community settings in Uganda (International Community of Women living with HIV in East Africa, November 2015)
Positive Discipline: Alternatives to Corporal Punishment (Raising Voices, 2009)