Preventing gender-based violence

Statistics on the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are startling and impossible to ignore. Despite the establishment of international and regional legal and policy frameworks for the prevention of SGBV, the rates of violence are not decreasing, and in some places, are actually increasing. 

Women are the primary victims of this violence, but men also suffer from various forms of sexual and gender-based violence. It is clear that what needs to be addressed is the fundamental gender inequality that exists in society in order to create new models of masculinity and femininity and thus more equal relationships. 

We need to better understand the root causes of these unequal social structures and negative attitudes and address them by developing and implementing effective prevention strategies. This requires a combination of research targeted towards identifying the underlying causes and policy formulation and implementation that is responsive to the results of such research.

Our programmes aim to challenge the underlying gender inequalities that persist in society and are the key barriers to the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence.  We believe that this is best done by building capacity for research, training and advocacy, to enable policy makers, civil society and women themselves to better implement strategies to combat violence.  We also are committed to the idea that men and boys should be actively involved, as agents of societal change, in violence prevention plans.

Key Messages

  • Violence is not just women's problem. Men and women must all be involved in prevention.

  • Violence is global. It affects everyone regardless of location.

  • Violence results from structural gender inequalities which all societies need to address.

  • Violence prevents women from realizing their full socio-economic potential.

  • Violence takes different forms. It can be physical, psychological, economic or socio-cultural.

  • Everyone is responsible for taking action to prevent violence.


A UNESCO and SSRC book on the links between gender, violence and HIV

Report of a Conference organised by UNESCO in Kinshasa, DRC, March 2011

 A report on existing data on gender-based violence and policies for prevention in the countries of the Great Lakes Region

Report of a conference held in Kinshasa, DRC, December 2010 (in French)