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Overview

Raising awareness and educating the public about laws on violence against women are fundamental activities that facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of legislation and programs designed to curb such violence. Laws should allocate funds to support activities that will educate the public about the law. Educational programs are often an important part of a coordinated community response and should include messages for all relevant audiences, such as:

  • Women;
  • Girls;
  • Men and boys;
  • Employers;
  • Educators;
  • Government officials;
  • Law enforcement;
  • Judicial system;
  • Service providers;
  • Faith communities and traditional leaders; and
  • Health professionals.

Moreover, awareness and education helps to prevent violence in the first instance. Multiple campaigns can be organized to target communities at the local, regional, national, and global levels. Public campaigns can be used to raise awareness about an issue on a global, regional, national, or local level, including new or existing laws on violence against women. Raising awareness creates a public discourse that can challenge harmful social norms. Also, campaigns educate the public and victims about existing laws, new laws, and remedies so that women can use them more effectively. Furthermore, campaigns can be a way of communicating solutions to violence against women, and to encourage nations, municipalities and communities to take action and implement strategies that will help end violence against women. This will affect those responsible for implementing laws and will also create a constituency in the general public to encourage effective enforcement of the laws.

Effective implementation of laws addressing violence against women requires that the victims whom these laws are designed to protect are made aware of the laws as well as the remedies and resources available to them. Thus, awareness raising and prevention education should occur not only at the community level and beyond, but should also be aimed at individual women. Particularly, women who are in high risk groups, such as women traveling abroad in search of work, commercial sex workers, and those with limited access to information require the resources to be fully informed about violence against women, laws, and services. Knowledge of the laws and other available resources help educate women on ways to avoid violence and also inform them of their options if violence has occurred. Along with knowledge and awareness, messages of empowerment must be communicated in outreach programs in order to enhance a woman’s ability to take advantage of the resources available to them.

This section presents selected examples of campaigns focused on violence against women, from all regions on each of the topics areas covered in this asset.

Next Topic   Campaigns