Press release: Inspirational US policy wins prestigious international prize on ending violence against women

Future Policy Award 2014: Duluth Model is world’s best policy / Exemplary laws from Burkina Faso and Austria win silver / Vision Award goes to Istanbul Convention

Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The “Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence” by the City of Duluth in the US state of Minnesota is the winner of the 2014 Future Policy Award for Ending Violence against Women and Girls. It beat 24 other nominated policies to the prize. The Gold Award is to be presented to Minnesota Representative Michael Paymar from the Minnesota House of Representatives today at a ceremony in Geneva by the World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women.

The “Duluth Model” won the Gold Award for effectively prioritizing the safety and autonomy of survivors while holding perpetrators to account through a coordinated response involving the whole community. This approach to implementing legislation on violence against women has since inspired violence protection laws and policies in other countries such as Austria, Germany, the UK, Romania, and Australia.

On learning about the gold prize for the pioneering “Duluth Model”, which he helped initiate with the late Dr. Ellen Pence in the early 1980s, Representative Paymar said: “This is a great honour. We never imagined the global impact that the Duluth Model would have, but more importantly how many lives would be saved.”

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder and Chair of the World Future Council, said: “This prize celebrates policies that help us to do the right thing by creating the right rules. We need laws which support a just world and protect the rights of future generations.”  

Silver awards were granted to two other policies. Burkina Faso’s Silver Award, to be collected by First Lady Chantal Compaoré, went to its law on prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation, adopted in 1996. Since the adoption of the law and the implementation of a National Action Plan, surveys confirm a significant decrease in the proportion of younger women who have undergone the harmful practice. About 12 per cent of girls under the age of14 are cut now, compared to 25 per cent in 2006.

Austria received the prize for its law granting psychosocial and legal court assistance for victims of violence during criminal and civil procedure. It effectively safeguards the rights of victims of violence and empowers them during court proceedings. This was a seminal change to the country’s Criminal and Civil Procedure Act.

“Comprehensive laws are a critical first step. Implementing them effectively is just as crucial. These winners show what can be achieved when both aspects are combined. IPU will continue to support parliaments’ efforts to make ending violence against women a reality,” said IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong.

The Council of Europe’s “Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence”, also known as the Istanbul Convention, which came into force in August of this year, won the World Future Council’s first ever “Vision Award” for a particularly promising policy.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka concluded: “The policies awarded represent truly inspirational models for others. Importantly, the emphasis has also been on rigorous implementation. Political will and sufficient resources are critical for promising legislation to have a real impact on reducing violence against women.”  

The Future Policy Award is the only award which honours policies rather than people on an international level. Honorable mentions were bestowed on Spain’s Organic Act 1/2004 on Integrated Protection Measures against Gender Violence and, in the vision category, on Bolivia’s Law against Harassment and Political Violence against Women from 2012.
The World Future Council will now work to globally raise awareness of the winning model policies and assist policymakers to develop and implement similar initiatives. On 25 November 2014, the World Future Council, together with its partners UN Women and IPU, will host an interactive panel discussion on the preconditions of successful policymaking and implementation at UN Headquarters in New York. Policymakers from Minnesota, Austria, Burkina Faso and the Council of Europe will participate. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is marked annually on 25 November.

More information on the award and the winning policies can be found in our brochure, which can be downloaded in English, French and Spanish.

Notes to Editors

Future Policy Award 
The Future Policy Award is designed to alert policymakers and the public to the importance of best practice in law-making and highlight outstanding examples of regulatory vision. The award draws attention to existing sustainable policies and demonstrates that when political will is asserted, positive change can happen. Celebrating visionary policies raises public awareness, encourages rapid learning and speeds up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies. For more information, see  

Previous Future Policy Award Topics:
2013: Disarmament       
2012: Oceans and Coasts         
2011: Forests   
2010: Biodiversity         
2009: Food Security

World Future Council 

The World Future Council consists of 50 eminent global change-makers from governments, parliaments, civil society, academia, the arts and business. We work to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children and grandchildren, with a focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions. The World Future Council was launched in 2007 by Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the “Alternative Nobel Prize”. It operates as an independent foundation under German law and finances its activities from donations. Find out more at:

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

As the global organization of national parliaments, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) works to establish democracy, peace and cooperation among peoples by uniting members to drive positive change. Its focus on gender equality and — in particular — women’s political participation, addresses a key component of democracy. Since 2008, IPU has also been working with parliaments to end violence against women through advocacy and awareness-raising activities, and the introduction and implementation of legislation to tackle the issue. Find out more at:
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to implement these standards. It stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas: increasing women’s leadership and participation; ending violence against women; engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes; enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality. Find out more at:


Media Contacts

World Future Council
Anne Reis
Media & Communications Manager
Tel: +49 40 30 70 914-16 (Hamburg, Germany)
Mobile: +49 174 193 3145

Jemini Pandya
Director of Communications
Tel: + 41 22 919 4158 (Geneva, Switzerland)

UN Women    
Oisika Chakrabarti
Senior Communications & Media Specialist
Tel: +1 646 781 4522 (New York, USA)