When undertaking VAWG prevention or response activities, it is important to work closely with key stakeholders, including organizations and local agencies that have expertise in these interventions.
As noted earlier, this resource guide is intended to serve as a starting point for IDB and WB sectoral specialists. Any data collection activities on the topic of VAWG, irrespective of whether women are being directly asked about their personal experiences or not, should not be undertaken without the guidance of an expert in VAWG. Failing to observe strict ethical guidelines may compromise the safety of the beneficiary and/or researcher.
Employ rigorous evaluation of VAWG-specific projects and include VAWG indicators within broader programs.53 Collaborating with academic/research organizations and other evaluation experts is essential for producing more rigorous project designs and evaluations, especially in the area of prevention, where there is a paucity of data. Similarly, it is vital to employ existing, agreed-upon VAWG indicators to ensure comparability, contribute to the body of evidence on effective VAWG prevention measures, and subsequently, assist policy makers and program managers to make informed decisions.54 In 2013 the UN Statistics Division published the Guidelines for Producing Statistics on VAW, which includes internationally agreed indicators in 4 core topics (physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence) and 3 optional topics (FGM/C, attitudes towards VAW, reporting to authorities/seeking help). In addition, the global compendium, developed by MEASURE Evaluation, includes a set of monitoring and evaluation indicators for use at the programmatic, policy, and institutional level across all sectors. For illustrative examples of indicators, please see Annex 3.55
Support multi-sectoral approaches and interventions. Complex, multi-faceted issues such as VAWG require a comprehensive response. Findings across all sectors have identified the need for collaboration between law enforcement, legal aid services, health care organizations, public health programs, educational institutions, and agencies devoted to social services and economic development. For example, identifying women suffering from VAWG at a health clinic requires a host of ensuing responses from the judicial sector (if she is to request a protection order) and social services (such as a shelter).56 Collaboration across sectors is essential for both providing effective services to survivors of violence as well as for preventing violence against women.
- National Action Plan on violence against women: Developing and implementing a National Action Plan on violence against women facilitates a clear, comprehensive, and coordinated multi-sectoral strategy for the primary prevention of violence against women. National Action Plans include cross-cutting actions to “establish governance structures, ensure participation of civil society, strengthen law and policy, build capacity of workforces and organizations, and improve evidence” as well as the “establishment and ongoing improvement of an integrated service, police, and judicial response to violence against women.”57
Many governments, particularly in Latin America, have also established national commissions to improve inter-sectoral coordination and monitor progress in developing national plans and policies on violence. Qualitative reports suggest that the existence of a national plan on violence against women creates commitment and political space for dialogue between civil society and the state. (UN Women. Handbook for National Action Plans on Violence Against Women, 2012.)
- Integrated multi-sectoral services under one roof for women: If feasible, programs that integrate services for women’s empowerment or/and for VAWG survivors under one roof are promising practices that may reduce violence and increase survivors’ ability to leave their perpetrator. By meeting the multiple needs of survivors in one location, these programs prevent women from spending additional time and resources seeking help at different institutions. Women are also spared from repeating their testimonies each time. These integrated programs include psychological and legal support for survivors of violence, sexual and reproductive health services, as well as economic empowerment activities, including vocational training, labor market intermediation, business development services, and microcredit.
Highlight the development and human rights impact of VAWG. Emphasize that VAWG is a socio-economic development issue as well as a violation of fundamental human rights for which policy makers, communities, and societies should be held accountable.63 The view that violence is acceptable or a private matter cannot be justified on the grounds of “culture” or “tradition.”64 Continuing to document the prevalence and impact of VAWG on health and socio-economic development will certainly assist with increasing the issue’s visibility, although, women’s universal right to live free of violence under all circumstances should form a substantive part of the argument.65,66
Include behavior change and community mobilization interventions to address harmful gender norms, attitudes and beliefs at all levels of society.67, 68 Attitudes that condone violence against women are deeply imbedded, to varying degrees, throughout most societies in the world, and are predictive of actual violence perpetration.69 Ensuring successful project buy-in at all levels, from communities, to service providers and institutions, requires a fundamental shift in attitudes and beliefs regarding violence against women.70 While this is a challenging, long-term process, projects should include a behavior change component targeting men, diverse members of the population, different age groups and the communities at large, as well as service providers at all levels (e.g., judges as well as law clerks).
- Identify existing groups: When attempting to design and implement behavior change interventions (including workshops and training71) at the community level, integrate activities into existing groups, such as men’s soccer leagues and women’s microcredit or savings groups in order to retain participants more easily.72
- Use participatory, inclusive approaches: It is good practice to use a participatory process and to engage all levels of society, including community leaders, women’s groups, NGOs, and government representatives.
Adapt evidence-based interventions or promising practices when possible, ensuring that interventions are culturally appropriate before transferring interventions from one country or region to another.74 While sharing promising practices and lessons learned is a valuable strategy for ensuring effective interventions are designed and implemented, program managers must exercise caution and take cultural differences into consideration before transferring an intervention from one country or region to another. Conditional cash transfers, for example, can be empowering for women in certain contexts and can contribute to increases in intimate partner violence in others.75Work with government partners and key stakeholders to include data on physical and sexual violence disaggregated by sex and age group in the routine data collection of the national health information system.76 A good example of an integrated data collection system is the web-based version of the GBVIMS currently used in Colombia that collects data from all service providers and integrates into one system.77 This system is currently being implemented in 14 countries.
Support impact evaluations and the dissemination of evidence of effectiveness of VAWG-specific projects/initiatives. The project or program should contribute to the body of evidence on promising (or harmful) practices by disseminating impact evaluation results to key stakeholders and policy makers.
- 53. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (2009). A Guide to Programming Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response Activities. Gender-Based Violence Working Group.
- 54. Bott et al., 2005.
- 55. Bloom, S. (2008). Violence Against Women and Girls: A Compendium of Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators.
- 56. Morrison et al. (2007). Addressing Gender-Based Violence in the Latin American and Caribbean Region: A Critical Review of Interventions. World Bank Res Obs, 22(1): 25-51.
- 57. UN Women. (2012). Handbook for National Action Plans on Violence Against Women.
- 58. Bott et al., 2005.
- 59. USAID, 2009.
- 60. An analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) indicates that national laws are an important protective factor: women who live in countries with domestic violence legislations have 7% lower odds of experiencing violence compared with women in countries without such laws, as well as a reduced prevalence of approximately 2% for every year the law has been in place. However, no country has been able to reduce the prevalence of VAWG to zero, irrespective of how long the law has been in place—as such, multi-sectoral approaches that include behavior change/social norms initiatives are essential for catalyzing long-term change. (Klugman et al., 2014.)
- 61. Bott et al., 2005.
- 62. USAID, 2009.
- 63. USAID, 2009.
- 64. USAID, 2009.
- 65. Bott et al., 2005.
- 66. UN Women, 2012.
- 67. USAID, 2009.
- 68. Bott et al., 2005
- 69. More than 35 population-based studies from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East have shown that attitudes condoning partner violence, by both men and women, were highly predictive of rates of violence perpetration (Heise, 2011).
- 70. Bott et al., 2005.
- 71. A systematic review of literature on effective interventions conducted by the World Bank and the Global Women’s Institute found that training is only effective when prolonged with follow up activities for over a three month period. A good model of a primary prevention strategy shown to reduce IPV is SASA!
- 72. Heise, 2011.
- 73. Bott et al., 2010.
- 74. USAID, 2009
- 75. Heise, 2011.
- 76. Bloom, 2008.
- 77. Bloom, 2008.