Working to end violence against women in its many forms

Background Documentation related to CSW 57

Guidance, definitions and links

WHO guidance on Emergency Contraception

Inter-agency guidance on GBV in conflict situations

Inter-agency guidance on HIV in emergency settings

Inter-agency statement on pre-natal sex selection

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Because of its scale, multiple manifestations and impacts, violence against women and girls constitutes a major public health, as well as human rights, challenge. UNFPA takes a leadership role in addressing such violence, in its many forms, because it jeopardizes the reproductive health and well-being of women and girls in many situations.

Some of the ways in which gender-based violence compromises sexual and reproductive health include:

  • Threats and coercion within intimate partner relationships that restrict women’s access to contraception and other forms of reproductive care.
  • Sexual violence is exacerbated in conflict and disaster contexts. The chaos and a breakdown in social structures often leads to increased lawlessness, risk of abuse, and lack of access to critical and appropriate care.
  • Every day, 37,000 girls are married before age 18, and often much younger, which puts their health at risk, undermines their chances of getting an education and limits their options.
  • More than 3 million girls face the prospect of female genital mutilation or cutting, a practice with serious immediate and long-term health effects and a clear violation of fundamental human rights.
  • More than 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime, and even where it is illegal, perpetrators often go unpunished.

UNFPA Executive Director statement for  International Women's Day.

Preventing abuse from happening, and addressing the outcomes as early as possible are at the core of UNFPA’s work in these priority areas.

  • Policy making and legal protection
  • Collecting and analyzing data
  • Addressing GBV through sexual and reproductive health programs
  • Building violence prevention into humanitarian responses in conflict and natural disasters
  • Reaching out to adolescents and youth
  • Sending messages to men and boys about gender equality and zero tolerance for abuse
  • Joining hands with faith-based networks and traditional cultural leaders
  • Sharpening the focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized people

UNFPA is active in this year’s Commission on the Status of Women, playing a sponsoring role in more than a dozen side events.

News and Updates:

Dimensions of Violence Against Women and Girls, and How to End It
New Evidence on Men's Use of Violence against Women and Girls
Calling for an End to the Many Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls
Statement on the Occasion of International Women's Day
Exploring Links between Violence Against Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health

Related publications:

Issue Brief on GBV, Men and Boys and Sexual Violence in Conflict
Managing Gender-based Violence in Emergencies
Women are the Fabric

Related links:

Engaging Men and Boys
Ending Child Marriage
Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
Stop Gender-Based Violence in Times of Crisis
Action to End Violence Against Women in the Asia and Pacific