Key Resources: Violence Against Women and Girls – Key Resources

Violence against women and girls
Women’s economic empowerment and violence against women and girls
Feminist mobilisation
Social norms
Humanitarian contexts
Engaging men
Global campaigns

Violence Against Women and Girls. GSDRC Professional Development Reading Pack No. 32 (2016) Emma Fulu, Birmingham, UK: University of Birmingham, (last accessed 16 March 2016), 5 pp.

This short document manages to convey a lot of information in a very short amount of space, and provides an excellent introduction to the subject of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in a global context, and as an international development issue. Included in the discussion are the various forms VAWG can take, and the costs of VAWG to women and societies. There follows a list of eight key readings recommended by the author plus a set of questions to guide reading, and a selection of further resources.

Ending Violence Against Women: A Challenge for Development and Humanitarian Work (2001) Francine Pickup, Suzanne Williams, and Caroline Sweetman, Oxford: Oxfam GB, ISBN: 0-7808559984380, (last accessed 22 March 2016), 386 pp.

Although now some 15 years old, this book remains an important resource, notable for being among the first calls for VAWG to be recognised as a key development issue. Clearly written and avoiding specialist language, the book provides a comprehensive survey of VAWG from a development perspective, and is divided into two parts. Part 1 – Exploring Violence Against Women – seeks to explain VAWG as a development concern, sets out human rights and development responses, discusses the prevalence, forms (e.g. trafficking, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and ‘honour’-related crimes) and impacts of VAWG, and the contexts in which it can occur. Part 2 – Strategies for Challenging Violence Against Women – comprises examinations of direct support to the survivors of violence, challenges to violent men, challenging attitudes and beliefs, and state responses (or lack of them), along with a concluding section which includes policy implications for international non-governmental organisation programming on VAWG.

‘Violence against women: an integrated, ecological framework’ (1998) Lori Heise, Violence Against Women 4(3): 262–90

This highly influential article helped to move thinking on VAWG on from considerations of single-factor explanations to an ‘ecological’ model which synthesises theories on violence derived from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and criminology with a feminist understanding of the influence of patriarchal structures and attitudes within society as causal factors of VAWG. The ecological model ‘conceptualizes violence as a multifaceted phenomenon grounded in an interplay among personal, situational, and socio-cultural factors’ (pp. 263–4). To understand why some men are violent then, where others are not, needs to be understood through the interaction of factors at the personal, relationship, community, and society level. The article discusses factors at each of these levels, and provides examples of applying the framework in an individual-level analysis and to a community/society context.

‘Violence against women: globalizing the integrated ecological model’ (2015) Emma Fulu and Stephanie Miedma, Violence Against Women 21(12): 1431–55, html (last accessed 30 March 2016)

Arguing that the effects of globalisation have yet to be systematically integrated into theories around violence against women, the authors of this article propose the addition of a global level to the existing ecological model framework popularised by Lori Heise (see above). Using data from the Maldives and Cambodia, the authors show how globalised ideologies, economic development and integration, religious fundamentalisms, and global cultural exchange as components of a larger globalisation process have affected men and women’s experiences and perceptions of violence against women. Co-author Emma Fulu expands on the Maldives context in her book Domestic Violence in Asia: Globalization, Gender and Islam in the Maldives (Routledge, 2013), describing the effects of global trends on a country that historically has had relatively low levels of VAWG.

Prevalence of intimate partner violence: findings from the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence’ (2006) Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Henrica A.F.M. Jansen, Mary Ellsberg, Lori Heise, and Charlotte H. Watts, The Lancet 368: 1260–9, (last accessed 30 March 2016)

The World Health Organization (WHO) Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence, published in 2005, was a major study into intimate partner violence. Seeking to provide reliable, comparative data from areas where little was previously available, the study surveyed over 24,000 women in ten countries in order to assess the magnitude of the problem and to inform policy responses. This paper discusses the methodology of the survey and the findings on the extent of physical and sexual intimate partner violence and controlling behaviours against women between the ages of 15 and 49. The findings ‘confirm the pervasiveness and high prevalence of violence against women in a wide range of cultural and geographical contexts’, and showed that across a wide range of settings, women were more at risk of violence from an intimate partner than from any other type of perpetrator. With men most at risk from strangers or acquaintances, this has important implications for how to focus anti-violence programmes and policies. The 2005 WHO study itself is available at (last accessed 30 March 2016), 206 pp.

What factors are associated with recent intimate partner violence? Findings from the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence’ (2011) Tanya Abramsky, Charlotte H. Watts, Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Karen Devries, Ligia Kiss, Mary Ellsberg, Henrica A.F.M. Jansen, and Lori Heise, BMC Public Health 11: 109, (last accessed 30 March 2016)

Using data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Multi-country Study, this article identifies factors that are consistently associated with abuse. While the discussion on statistical methodology and analysis is perhaps not for beginners, the article’s results and conclusions are clearly articulated, with the authors finding that despite wide variations in the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV), factors affecting IPV risk were similar across locations, with secondary education, high socioeconomic status, and formal marriage offering protection, while alcohol abuse, co-habitation, young age, attitudes supportive of wife beating, having outside sexual partners, experiencing childhood abuse, growing up with domestic violence, and experiencing or perpetrating other forms of violence in adulthood, increased the risk of IPV. The strength of the association was greatest when both the woman and her partner had a risk factor. The authors’ conclusions include that IPV prevention programmes should increase their focus on transforming gender norms and attitudes, addressing childhood abuse, and reducing harmful drinking

Global and Regional Estimates of Violence Against Women: Prevalence and Health Effects of Intimate Partner Violence and Non-partner Sexual Violence (2013) Geneva: World Health Organization, eng.pdf?ua=1 (last accessed 30 March 2016), 57 pp.

This most recent report from the World Health Organization on the prevalence of violence against women and girls (VAWG) combines global and regional estimates together with an analysis of the health effects on women of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. With the finding that more than one in three (35.6 per cent) of women globally have experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner or sexual violence by a non-partner, the report concludes that VAWG is a ‘global public health problem of epidemic proportions, requiring urgent action’ (p. 36). Suggested interventions for prevention include: challenging social norms that support male authority and control over women and that condone violence against women; reducing levels of childhood exposure to violence; reforming discriminatory family law; strengthening women’s economic rights; eliminating gender inequalities in access to formal wage employment and secondary education; addressing social and cultural norms around masculinity, and gender power relationships and violence; and, at an individual level, addressing harmful use of alcohol.

A Theory of Change for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (2012) Zohra Moosa, London: ActionAid/Department for International Development/Gender and Development Network, vawg.pdf (last accessed 30 March 2016)

Designed for all those involved in delivering programmes and services to address violence against women and girls (VAWG), and to be used in conjunction with two other guides (A Practical Guide to Community Programming on Violence Against Women and Girls and Guidance on Monitoring and Evaluation for Programming on Violence Against Women and Girls, for which, see below) this document centres on a theory of change diagram. The diagram is accompanied by an outline of the seven principles that underpin it, and discussion on using the theory of change diagram, along with example indicators for each stage. The seven principles are as follows: context is critical; the state has primary responsibility for action on VAWG; holistic and multi-sectoral approaches are more likely to have impact; social change makes the difference; backlash is inevitable but manageable; women’s rights organisations create and sustain change; and empowering women is both the means and the end.

A Practical Guide on Community Programming on Violence Against Women and Girls, CHASE Guidance Note Series, Guidance Note 2 (2012) London: Department for International Development, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 35 pp.

This guide is aimed at practitioners working at the community level, where traditions, eliefs, and norms can be amajor barrier to women’s access to justice, protection, and freedom from violence. Effective support at the community level is also vital for survivors of violence alongside interventions to improve the provision of specialist VAWG services. The guide is divided into the following sections: Challenges of working at the community level; Finding the right partners to engage at the community level; Protecting women within programming on VAWG; The enabling environment; and What works in tackling VAWG. Each approach in the ‘what works’ section is accompanied by a short case study outlining a successful programme example, detailing the programme’s impact and lessons learned.

Guidance on Monitoring and Evaluation for Programming on Violence Against Women and Girls, CHASE Guidance Note Series, Guidance Note 3 (2012) London: Department for International Development, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 28 pp.

The last of three guides on violence against women and girls (VAWG) produced for the UK’s Department for International Development (see above), this document is a clearly written ‘how to’ guide, in this case for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of VAWG programmes. It walks the reader through the process, from underlying principles and assumptions, through planning and monitoring, and evaluation during the VAWG programming cycle to examples of effective M&E of VAWG programmes.

United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993)

The 1993 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was the first international human rights instrument to address directly the issue of violence against women. The Declaration followed the 1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna, notable for the slogan ‘women’s rights are human rights’, reflecting the gender-blind nature of existing human rights instruments (excepting the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). These characterised human rights abuses largely as being perpetrated by the state against the individual, ignoring the gender-based violence experienced by women in their homes and communities in the form of, for example, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment in public, and harmful traditional practices. Article 1 of the Declaration defines violence against women 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’.

Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women (2009) Division for the Advancement of Women, Department for Economic & Social Affairs, New York: United Nations, a href=” for legislation on violence against women.pdf”> for legislation on violence against women.pdf (last accessed 30 March 2016), 67 pp.

Designed for governments and other stakeholders to improve existing legislation or to develop new laws around violence against women, the first section of this guide from the United Nations is a useful listing of international and regional legal and policy instruments, for example, the 1994 Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of Belem do Para). The second section sets out a model framework for legislation on violence against women.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls, Target 2, (last accessed 30 March 2016)

Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which replaced the Millennium Development Goals at the end of 2015, seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Under this Goal are nine targets, the second of which is to ‘eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of violence’. Goal 5 and its targets are widely seen as a major improvement on Millennium Development Goal 5, the overarching gender equality goal, the targets for which focused on parity in primary and secondary education, political participation, and economic empowerment for women. These targets ignored far more fundamental forms of discrimination against women, including violence, and also harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation, the elimination of which constitute Target 3. SDG 5 and its targets are the result of intensive lobbying by women’s movements and gender and development experts, in order for the SDGs to have a meaningful and transformative goal around gender equality. At the time of publication of this issue of Gender & Development, indicators for measuring success are yet to be finalised, and it remains to be seen whether the challenge of implementation of SDG 5 and its goals will be met successfully.

UN Women Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence Against Women, (last accessed 30 March)
Ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of UN Women’s key areas of work, and this growing digital knowledge repository is a major online resource for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. Content is available in English, French, and Spanish, and provides background and discussion, guidance, and tools for programming on VAWG across a range of sectors: Campaigns, Justice, Safe Cities, Conflict/Post Conflict, Legislation Security, Health, Men & Boys, and Shelter.

UN Women Global Database on Violence Against Women, (last accessed 30 March)
Launched in 2016, the Global Database on Violence Against Women aims to provide up-to-date information on measures undertaken by governments to address violence against women. Measures are organised into the following categories: institutional mechanisms; research and statistical data; laws; policies; budgets; services; prevention; perpetrators’ programmes; regional and international initiatives, and monitoring and evaluation. The site’s country profile pages set out what measures are in existence on a country-by-country basis, plus data on the prevalence of different forms of violence against women, including child marriage and female genital mutilation.

What Works to Prevent Partner Violence? An Evidence Overview (2011) Lori L. Heise, London: STRIVE Research Consortium, works to prevent partner violence.pdf (last accessed 24 June 2016), 184 pp.

This is an excellent and comprehensive survey of research on intimate partner violence (IPV) up to 2011. Grounded in the ecological model of violence – that is, that there is no one single factor that causes IPV – the study is organised into thematic chapters.The first three topics – gender-related norms (including ideas of masculinity and female subordination), exposure to violence during childhood, and male alcohol abuse – focus on areas for which there is relatively strong evidence that these factors are contributing causes of partner violence. The second two topics – women’s economic empowerment and legal and justice systems – continue to be areas of much interest to advocates and donors and consequently have received a high level of resourcing. The chapters outline what is known about each issue, and assess the effectiveness of interventions in these areas. The review ends with a chapter on improving the violence evidence base, and recommendations for research sponsors.

What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Evidence Reviews, Paper 1: State of the Field of Research on Violence Against Women and Girls (2015) Emma Fulu and Lori Heise, Cape Town: What Works Consortium/Department for International Development, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 48 pp.

A product of a current major research programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (‘What Works to Prevent Violence: A Global Programme to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’,, this paper focuses on intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, and child abuse, outlining the current knowledge base for each area, and what risk factors influence each type of violence. The paper concludes with the identification of key gaps in knowledge and recommendations for future research, and argues that current evidence gaps should not preclude the developing and testing of prevention interventions.

What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Evidence Reviews, Paper 2: Interventions to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (2015) Emma Fulu and Alice Kerr-Wilson, Cape Town: What Works Consortium/Department for International Development, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 68 pp.

Another paper from the What Works Programme (see above), this document discusses the most common and promising interventions seeking to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG) and address key risk factors. As with the paper above, it focuses on intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, and child abuse, and assesses the success of interventions at the individual level, the relationship and family level, the community level, and the institutional level, with a total of 244 interventions in all included in the review. The paper ends with discussion of the findings overall, and a summary of evidence for different types of intervention. The paper highlights the fact that some intervention areas have received more attention than others, for example, school-based and micro-finance interventions. These consequently have a bigger evidence base, whereas more complex and multi-element interventions to alter social norms and transform ideas around have received less attention and are underresearched.

Women’s economic empowerment and violence against women and girls

‘Women’s economic inequality and domestic violence: exploring the links and empowering women’ (2015) Christine Hughes, Mara Bolis, Rebecca Fries, and Stephanie Finigan, Gender & Development 23(2): 279–97, (last accessed 30 March 2015)

Recent years have seen the growth in the development sector of Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) programming. This has come about because of concerns over gender inequality, which have arisen in the course of development organisations’ work on economic empowerment of poor households. In this article, (which offers a useful summary of the literature on WEE and domestic violence), the authors argue that evaluations and impact assessments in development organisations have not paid consistent attention to the possibility of increased or decreased domestic violence brought about by WEE programmes and their challenge to gender power relations. For the authors, challenging economic inequality between households must involve a better understanding of the impact of WEE programming on intra-household gender inequality, including rates of domestic violence. Drawing on the experience of Oxfam and other development organisations, the authors offer recommendations for practitioners aimed at better programme integration and more holistic empowerment, and call for planning to anticipate possible negative impacts, and ensure women are able to gain from WEE programmes without placing themselves at risk.

Women’s wealth and intimate partner violence: insights from Ecuador and Ghana’ (2015) Abena D. Oduro, Carmen Diana Deere, and Zachary B. Catanzarite, Feminist Economics 21(2):

In this academic article drawing upon 2010 national household surveys undertaken in Ecuador and Ghana, the authors examine the relationship between women’s ownership of assets and physical and emotional abuse by their spouses, with a woman’s share of couple wealth constituting valid proxy for bargaining power within the household. Differentiating between physical and emotional violence in both countries, the study finds that women’s share of a couple’s wealth is significantly associated with lower odds of physical violence in Ecuador and emotional violence in Ghana. The study also showed that the association between women’s share of couple wealth and intimate partner violence also depends on the household’s position in the wealth distribution in a given country. The authors stress, however, that women’s share of couple wealth does not constitute a ‘magic bullet’ for deterring intimate partner violence, with context always being a vital consideration. Although the authors discuss their statistical analysis of data in some detail, this should not put off nonspecialists, as the rest of the article is clearly and accessibly written.

Spousal violence and women’s employment in India’ (2015) Haimanti Bhattacharya, Feminist Economics 21(2):

Using data from the India 2005–2006 National Family Health Survey III, this academic article discusses women’s experiences of physical or sexual abuse by partners as related to their employment status, finding that married women who experienced spousal violence are more likely to be employed, and are also more likely to work for cash payment, and be employed year-round. For the author, while these results may appear to suggest that spousal violence is associated with higher likelihood of married women seeking financial self-reliance, in fact, further investigation of who decides how to spend women’s earnings reveals that Indian women who experienced spousal violence are less likely to have a say in decision-making on spending. This suggests that women who experience spousal violence may also be more susceptible to financial exploitation. The author argues that this evidence indicates a need for caution in analyses that uniformly embrace employment as a financial empowerment tool for women.

Toward freedom from domestic violence: the neglected obvious’ (2007) Bina Agarwal and Pradeep Panda, Journal of Human Development 8(3): 359–88

This academic article, co-authored by eminent feminist development economist Bina Agarwal – who wrote the classic work A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia, and whose work on intra-household bargaining is highly influential – argues that domestic violence, when viewed through the prism of Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach, represents a serious and neglected form of ‘unfreedom’. Using in the main data from a 2001–2002 survey undertaken in Kerala, India, the authors contend that, as a protection against domestic violence, a woman’s ownership of property or land, unlike employment (which studies show can have both a positive or a negative correlation), significantly reduces her risk of domestic violence.

Feminist mobilisation

Confronting Violence Against Women: The Power of Women’s Movements. Research and Policy Brief 21 (2016), Paola Cagna and Joannah Caborn Wengler, Geneva: UNRISD, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 2 pp.

This short briefing comes from UNRISD, as part of their ‘When and Why Do States Respond to Women’s Claims? Understanding Gender-egalitarian Policy Change in Asia’ project. It outlines a set of eight key recommendations for policymakers, women’s human rights advocates, and funders to bring about policy change and legal reform. The recommendations – which reflect the success of efforts to bring about such change in China, India, and Indonesia – include guaranteeing the right to organise and participate; strengthening the technical knowledge within women’s movements; enhancing solidarity between women’s organisations and with other movements; and connecting with champions within the state.

‘Feminist mobilisation and progressive policy change: why governments take action to combat violence against women’ (2013) S. Laurel Weldon and Mala Htun, Gender & Development 21(2): 231–47, (last accessed 21 March 2016)

Seeking to account for the stark differences in national policies to address violence against women (including in the areas of legal reform, public education, and provision of rape crisis centres), the authors of this article analysed policies on violence against women in 70 countries between 1975 and 2005. Their analysis reveals that the most important and consistent factor driving policy change is feminist activism, which plays a more important role than left-wing parties, numbers of women legislators, or even national wealth. Further, the authors’ work shows the effectiveness of strong, vibrant domestic feminist movements using international and regional conventions and agreements as levers to influence policymaking, demonstrating this to be a successful formula for bringing about progressive policy change in the area of violence against women.

Social norms

Shifting Social Norms to Tackle Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Department for International Development Guidance Note (2016) Michaeljon Alexander-Scott, Emma Bell, and Jenny Holden, London: VAWG Helpdesk, (last accessed 15 April 2016), 48 pp.

Arguing that much of the research and best practice on social norms interventions comes from programmes designed to address harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child, early, and forced marriage, and that the evidence base on what works to tackle the social norms that drive intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence is at an early stage in terms of scope and scale, this paper aims to provide practical guidance on designing and implementing effective programmes for programme managers working on violence against women and girls (VAWG). The paper is divided into the following sections: The role of social norms in driving VAWG; Diagnosing, identifying and measuring social norms; Key principles for programme design; A framework for programme design; and Case studies and examples of promising practice, and ends with a useful bibliography.

Community Mobilization: Preventing Partner Violence by Changing Social Norms (2012) Lori Michau, Bangkok: UN Women, attachments/sections/csw/57/egm/egm-paper-lori-michau pdf.pdf (last accessed 30 March 2016), 15 pp.

In this paper prepared for a UNWomen Expert Group Meeting on Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls, the author categorises community mobilisation as a form of primary prevention against intimate partner violence – that is, an approach aiming to prevent violence before it happens – which incorporates elements from the fields of public health and social justice. The author outlines the role of process, structure, and content in designing and carrying out community mobilisation, and goes on to discuss monitoring and evaluation of community mobilisation projects, along with key components for success, and typical challenges. The paper ends with recommendations for moving the work of mobilising communities forward.

Drivers of Change in Gender Norms: An Annotated Bibliography (2014) Rachel Marcus and Ella Page with Rebecca Calder and Catriona Foley, London: Overseas Development Institute, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 73 pp.

This document summarises selected texts outlining recent thinking on social norms and understanding why inequitable gender norms persist and when they change. The authors concentrate on ‘large-scale drivers’ of gender norm change, rather than project-based experience, so that the texts are organised into the following sections: economic change; migration; education; communications; social and political mobilisation; legal change, and conflict, with three introductory sections focusing on understanding social norm change, understanding gender norms, and multiple drivers of change. The paper ends with a section on backlash and resistance to changing gender norms. For the authors, the articles show that processes of change in gender norms and relations have been driven by several factors simultaneously, and of these, education, economic change, exposure to new ideas, and political and social mobilisation have often been the most critical.

Humanitarian contexts

Violence Against Women and Girls in Humanitarian Emergencies. CHASE Briefing Paper (2013) Department for International Development (DFID), London: DFID, (last checked 30 March 2016) 25 pp.

Produced by the UK’s DFID for a wide range of its staff, this briefing paper provides a very helpful overview of the issue of VAWG in emergencies, together with programming essentials. The paper outlines the nature of VAWG in humanitarian contexts, including conflict and natural disasters; the effect of emergencies on different forms of VAWG, e.g. increased levels of child marriage; increased risks of VAWG for specific groups, e.g. women and girls with disabilities; considerations around gathering and use of operational data; the consequences of VAWG in emergencies (that is,  physical and psychological health consequences and social impacts such as rejection by the family and community), and then goes on to discuss programming for VAWG in emergency contexts, including key actions, and measuring results. Brief case studies are given throughout, and the paper ends with a list of key international guidelines for addressing VAWG in emergencies, plus a list of further, useful links.

Preventing and Responding to Gender-based Violence in Humanitarian Crises. Humanitarian Practice Network Paper No. 77 (2014) Rebecca Holmes and Dharini Bhuvanendra, London: Overseas Development Institute, (last accessed 23 March 2016), 36 pp.

This paper, intended for humanitarian practitioners and policymakers, is based on a review of the literature on gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies and is a response to what the authors consider to be the lack of identification and dissemination of good practice in GBV programming in emergencies, along with lack of consensus on concepts and terminology (GBV versus sexual and gender-based violence), focus (women and girls only, or men and boys as well), and programming priorities (protection and prevention versus provision of medical and other services to survivors). The paper is organised into five chapters, with Chapter 1 providing a brief discussion of key concepts and definitions in relation to GBV. Chapter 2 presents an overview of the extent of GBV in emergencies, and some of the challenges in responding to the problem. Chapter 3 then analyses some of the literature on the evidence of GBV programming effects in humanitarian settings, and highlighting key lessons with regard to good practice. Chapter 4 discusses some of the main issues emerging from this review, and Chapter 5 concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for research, policy, and programming on GBV.

IASC (Inter-Agency Standing Committee) Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings: Reducing Risk, Promoting Resilience and Aiding Recovery (2015), IASC, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 351 pp. The IASC, made up of major United Nations and non-United Nations humanitarian actors, is responsible for inter-agency co-ordination of humanitarian assistance. This set of guidelines replaces the 2005 IASC Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, and provides a tool designed to ‘assist humanitarian actors and communities affected by armed conflict, natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies to coordinate, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate essential actions for the prevention and mitigation of GBV across all sectors of humanitarian response’. After two introductory chapters, which include a discussion of the nature and scope of GBV in humanitarian contexts, the main body of the Guidelines is made up of specific guidance for 13 thematic areas, each focusing on a separate sector of humanitarian response, with the thematic areas being as follows: camp co-ordination and camp management; child protection; education; food security and agriculture; health; housing, land, and property; humanitarian mine action; livelihoods; nutrition; protection; shelter, settlement and reconstruction; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and humanitarian operations support sectors (e.g. logistics and telecommunications).

Responding to Typhoon Haiyan: Women and Girls Left Behind. A Policy Brief (2015) What Works, Cape Town: What Works Consortium/Department for International Development, (last accessed 31 March 2016), 4 pp.

This short briefing paper distils the findings of a study into how the humanitarian sector met the needs of women and girls in the Philippines, following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. The study used as a tool what was the primary guidance for preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies at the time, the 2005 IASC Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, now superseded by the 2015 IASC Guidelines (see above). Key findings from the study were that the specific needs of women and girls and their risks of GBV were not consistently taken into account across the humanitarian response to the typhoon, with VAWG prevention and mitigation interventions considered to be a secondary concern rather than a life-saving priority. Also, understanding and interpretation of the 2005 Guidelines varied, resulting in inconsistent application and monitoring. The full report, Responding to Typhoon Haiyan: Women and Girls Left Behind. A Study on the Prevention and Mitigation of Violence Against Women and Girls in the Emergency Response is available at (lastaccessed 31 March 2016).

Violence Against Women in the Post-tsunami Context: People’s Report, India, the Maldives, Puntland (Somalia), Sri Lanka & Thailand (2007) (last accessed 21 March 2016), 56 pp.

Based on the work of 174 organisations and their discussions with 7,583 women from five of the 12 countries affected by the tsunami, this report seeks to document and examine the nature of violence experienced by female survivors of the tsunami, (with tsunami-affected women across all five countries reporting that there was an escalation in emotional, physical, and sexual violence) and actions to address such abuses, set against relevant laws, policies, and institutions in the five countries for curbing violence against women and for disaster response. The paper argues that violence in the post-disaster context extends beyond the conventional understanding of violence being physical, sexual, or emotional, to encompass persistent discrimination, as perpetrated by the state, communities, and families in civil, political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of women’s lives, restricting women’s opportunities to recover. The paper includes a chapter on the research methodology employed, and questions used for community discussion and individual interviews.

Engaging men

Why do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? Quantative Findings from the United Nations Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific (2013) Emma Fulu, Xian Warner, Stephanie Miedema, Rachel Jewkes, Tim Roselli, and James Lang, UNDP UNFPA, UN Women and UNV Bangkok, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 121 pp.

This report analyses data taken from the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence household survey on men’s perpetration and experiences of violence, 2010–2013, in which over 10,000 men in six countries across Asia and the Pacific – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea – were interviewed. The report finds that nearly half of those men interviewed reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner, ranging from 26 to 80 per cent across the sites. Nearly a quarter of men interviewed reported perpetrating rape against a woman or girl, ranging from 10 to 62 per cent across the sites. The report further explores prevalence of different types of violence and the factors that drive men’s use of violence. It ends with key findings and what needs to change, along with suggested examples of programmes and approaches to effect this change. Key finding number one was the need for a change in social norms related to the social acceptability (among both men and women) of violence and the subordination of women.

Engaging Men to Prevent Gender-based Violence: A Multi-country Intervention and Impact Evaluation Study (2012) Lauren Greubel, Washington, DC and Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Promundo, (last accessed 30 March 2016), 48 pp.

This paper reports the findings of a three-year project, implemented by Instituto Promundo, to involve men and boys in preventing violence against women and promoting gender equality. Young and adult men took part in gender-based violence (GBV) programmes in four locations – a community-based intervention in India, a sports-basedintervention in Brazil, a health sector-based intervention in Chile, and a workplace-based intervention in Rwanda. The paper finds that, overall, the results of the programmes were promising, with decreased support for attitudes that encourage men’s use of intimate partner violence across all programmes, and a self-reported decrease of use of violence against female partners in the three months prior to reporting across three of the four programmes. The paper ends with the following recommendations: that community leaders need to be trained on violence against women in order to become powerful voices in promoting messages and programmes; working within existing institutions must be enhanced; existing organisations, networks, and campaigns need to adopt and present a common message; women and girls should be incorporated into efforts to engage men in GBV prevention; and more rigorous and longer-term data collection and analysis is needed to understand the impact of programmes and what factors most commonly contribute to the perpetuation of violence against women and girls and gender inequality.

Sexual and gender-based violence’, Chapter 7 in Engendering Men: A CollaborativeReview of Evidence on Men and Boys in Social Change and Gender Equality (2012) Thea Shahrokh with Jerker Edström, 2015/09/EMERGE-Engendering-Men-Evidence-Review.pdf (last accessed 30 March

This chapter – from a report that focuses on men and boys in relation to moves towards gender equality across a range of issues – provides an overview of thinking around sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) over the past 20 years or so. In their discussion, the authors trace the development of approaches – from single-factor theories to, from the mid-1990s onward, an ‘ecological’ model which recognises the complex interplay between the individual and social norms and structures that can lead to violence against women and gender-based violence (with the authors pointing out that ‘silences’ remain, including the gender-based nature of homophobic violence). The chapter goes on to assess the results of interventions on engaging men and boys in preventing SGBV and ends with conclusions, and recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of future interventions.

Global campaigns

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence Campaign,  (last accessed 30 March 2016)

The 16 Days takes place every year, between 25 November, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and 10 December, which is International Human Rights Day. It was initiated in 1991 by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University in the USA, and has become a firm fixture in the calendar for many organisations, including United Nations agencies, and individuals working on VAWG and women’s rights in development across the world. The 16 Days provides a focus for campaigning and advocacy on efforts to end VAWG, and CWGL’s 16 Days website gives information on each year’s specific theme and ideas and guidance on campaigning activities.

UN Secretary General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women, (last accessed 30 March) UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon launched this campaign in 2008, with the aim of raising awareness and increasing the political will at government level to end all forms of violence against women and girls. Campaign goals include: the adoption and enforcement of national laws to address all forms of violence against women and girls; the adoption of national action plans that emphasise prevention and that are adequately resourced; and to see systematic efforts to address sexual violence in conflict situations and to protect women and girls from rape as a tactic of war.

Say No – UNiTE is the campaign’s social mobilisation network, engaging with activists and supporters. The 25th of each month is ‘Orange Day’, when campaigners are encouraged to wear orange, and raise awareness around aspects of violence against women and girls. The campaign’s Commit initiative calls on governments to implement new and substantive measures for ending VAWG in their countries. Countries joining the initiative have committed to a range of specific policies and interventions.

The White Ribbon Campaign, (last accessed 30 March 2016)

The White Ribbon Campaign is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls. Now with branches in a variety of countries, the campaign began in Canada in 1991, and asks men to pledge ‘never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women’. Branches differ in the type of activities undertaken, with some carrying out campaigning only, and others offering training and educational programmes alongside their campaigns and advocacy work.