Violence against women and girls occurs in every segment of society, regardless of class, ethnicity, culture, or country
At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with the abuser usually someone known to her. Violence against women and girls is a universal problem of epidemic proportions. Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, it devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development.
Statistics paint a horrifying picture of the social consequences of violence against women:
- In 2002, the Council of Europe adopted a recommendation declaring violence against women a public health emergency, and a major cause of death and disability for women 16 to 44 years of age.
- In a World Bank report, it was estimated that violence against women was as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill-health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.
- The economic cost is also considerable - a 2003 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the costs of intimate partner violence in the USA alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: 4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
Fighting gender-based violence is a major concern for UNIFEM. UNIFEM works on several fronts to interrupt the cycle of violence against women, with an overall objective of linking violence to the source that feeds it: gender inequality. UNIFEM multiplies the power of its groundbreaking strategies through advocacy campaigns and close partnerships with governments, women's groups and other branches of the UN system.
- Protective laws and national actions: In a number of countries, UNIFEM works with its partners on establishing legal frameworks to combat violence. Laws alone, however comprehensive they may be, must be followed by plans for specific national actions, which is why UNIFEM is active on this end as well.
- Measuring the problem: UNIFEM has been at the forefront of supporting the collection of data and research on violence against women. Much of this information would otherwise not exist, making it impossible to understand the scope of the problem, or devise the means to stop it.
- Prevention: Strategies to stop violence before it starts are essential, but lack resources and visibility. UNIFEM supports prevention initiatives from the local to the international level, including in conflict and post-conflict situations, where violence against women is prevalent and horrific.
- Support for women's organizations: Women's organizations have developed some of the most creative and effective responses to violence, often in societies where the problem is otherwise largely ignored. UNIFEM helps draw attention and resources to these efforts, and brings the voices of activists together across countries and onto the international stage.
- The Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women: Housed within UNIFEM, the Trust Fund offers grants to innovative projects to prevent violence that are run by community, national and regional organizations. With relatively modest sums, grantees have passed new laws, trained police, and involved men and boys in stopping violence. The Trust Fund also collects and shares information about effective strategies that can be replicated or implemented on a larger scale.
The UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women
The UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women was established by General Assembly resolution 50/166 in 1996 and is managed by UNIFEM. The Trust Fund is the only multilateral grant-making mechanism that supports local, national and regional efforts to combat violence.
Since it began operations in 1997, the Trust Fund has provided more than $44 million to 291 initiatives in over 100 countries. Raising awareness of women's human rights, these UNIFEM-supported efforts have:
- linked activists and advocates from all parts of the world;
- shown how small, innovative projects impact laws, policies and attitudes; and
- helped break the wall of silence, moving the issue onto public agendas everywhere.
With grants ranging from $100,000 to $300,000, Trust Fund projects conduct public education and awareness campaigns, build coalitions, involve law-enforcement, judicial and government agencies, train educators, healthcare personnel and police officials to respond to and prevent violence. Many projects strive to alter community attitudes and involve men as allies.
Help us increase funding for this important resource. Organize a Walk to End Violence Against Women. You set the date, the time, the place and the pace for your walk. The only requirement is to contribute $10 to support the Trust Fund (100% tax-deductible). If you are unable to walk, please consider making a donation using the button below.