- Why work on prevention?
In order to effectively address VAWG, a comprehensive approach is needed through the adoption and implementation of laws and policies, accurate and consistent data collection, prevention by addressing its root causes, and the provision of essential services to survivors. Over the past three decades there has been a growing momentum to eliminate and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls. Despite progress, the rates of VAWG remain alarmingly high, and many challenges still persist, including insufficient implementation of laws, policies and programmes, and limited evaluation of their impact; inadequate coordination; and limited access to services by all women subjected to violence.
The most significant challenge, however, remains the persistence of attitudes, behaviours and practices that perpetuate gender stereotypes, discrimination and inequality, as root causes of VAWG. Addressing this challenge lies at the core of prevention work.
- What are the gaps?
In the area of prevention of VAWG, much work is yet to be done.
It still remains an area without a critical mass of data, expertise and interventions. It is often under-resourced and lacks impact evaluation. Unfortunately, the approach to prevention is often fragmented through stand-alone activities, limited, for example, to interventions such as awareness-raising and ad-hoc educational initiatives.
Growing evidence, however, indicates that successful prevention interventions have to be multi-sectoral and mutually re-enforcing to address factors that contribute to the risk of VAW at all levels and by engaging a wide range of actors in the society.
- UN Women’s Strategy for Change
UN Women reflects the need for a holistic approach to violence against women through its Flagship Programme Initiative (“Flagship”) on prevention and access to services to end violence against women. The Flagship is based on a theory of change which consists of three main areas:
- adoption and implementation of laws and policies that address VAW and overall gender discrimination and inequality that impede women from leaving abusive relationships;
- addressing the root causes of VAW, social norms, practices and behaviours that tolerate and condone VAW to prevent VAW occurring in the first place;
- and enhancing access of survivors to essential services to address their immediate needs and prevent violence from re-occurring.
The need for efficient data collection on VAW, as another main component of a comprehensive approach to VAW, is also addressed in another UN Women flagship programme on better production and use of gender statistics for evidence-based localization of the SDGs. UN Women continues discussions with other UN agencies, including UN Statistics Division, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO to address challenges of reliability and comparability of data collection through capacity building of national statistical offices.
UN Women also focuses on other thematic areas, such as economic empowerment of women and enhancing women’s political participation to strengthen women’s position in the society and create an enabling environment for preventing VAWG.