Focusing on prevention: Ending violence against women
Violence against women and girls is rooted in gender-based discrimination, social norms that accept violence, and gender stereotypes that continue cycles of violence. To date, efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls have mainly focused on responding to and providing services for survivors of violence. However, prevention—addressing the structural causes, as well as the risk and protective factors, associated with violence—is pivotal to eliminating violence against women and girls completely.
Prevention is the only way to stop violence before it even occurs. It requires political commitment, implementing laws that promote gender equality, investing in women’s organizations, and addressing the multiple forms of discrimination women face daily. The evidence about prevention has evolved considerably over the past decade, including as a result of various initiatives supported by UN Women.
UN Women has played a key role in developing evidence-based policy and programming guidance on prevention of violence against women and girls. As part of its prevention strategy, UN Women focuses on early education, respectful relationships, and working with men and boys, especially through, and in, the media, sports industries, and the world of work.
UN Women helps conduct research on attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours of men and boys, as well as young people, related to various forms of violence, and supports advocacy, awareness-raising, community mobilization, and educational programmes, as well as legal and policy reforms.
In Asia and the Pacific, for example, UN Women works with other UN agencies on the Partners for Prevention programme that aims to reduce the prevalence of gender-based violence in the region through behaviour and attitudinal change among boys and men, as well as increased institutional capacity and policy enhancements.
In partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and with inputs from young people, UN Women has also designed a curriculum—Voices Against Violence—for those aged 5–25 years. The curriculum includes tools to help young people understand the root causes of violence in their communities, and to help educate and involve their peers and communities in preventing violence against women and girls.