Ending Violence Against Women and Girls
In 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched his UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, which aims to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and responding to all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.
The campaign calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing this global pandemic.
UNiTE also works to engage men as part of the solution to end gender-based violence and since its launch in 2009, members of the Secretary-General’s Network of Men Leaders have supported the work of women around the world to defy destructive stereotypes, embrace equality, and inspire men and boys everywhere to speak out against violence.
In countries around the world, a number of promising practices to prevent or respond to violence against women have been developed by States, NGOs and civil society organizations. These include: enacting clear policies and laws; establishing strong enforcement mechanisms; hiring effective and well-trained personnel; and involving many parts of government and the community.
Some examples of efforts by the UN and its partners to achieve progress in putting an end to violence against women and girls in all its forms are highlighted below.
The UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women is the only global multilateral fund exclusively dedicated to ending all forms of violence against women, and which harnesses the support of governments, corporations, individuals and foundations to encourage innovative responses to addressing the cause. Since it began operations in 1997, the Fund has awarded over $60 million in grants to 317 initiatives in 124 countries.
Influencing laws and policies
- The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, part of UN Women), working with local partners, has supported the adoption of laws against domestic and sexual violence, and rape and family law provisions, in Colombia, Sierra Leone, Vietnam and Zimbabwe, amongst others.
- In Rwanda, support given by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to women parliamentarians contributed to the drafting of a law criminalizing gender-based violence.
- Through its Safer Cities Programme, UN-HABITAT has undertaken surveys on violence against women in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon and Papua New Guinea, with the aim of assisting policy development and advocacy.
UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman, at a press conference to update on UNIFEM's "Say No to Violence Against Women" Campaign.
- Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women is the social mobilization platform for the UNiTE campaign. Say NO – UNiTE counts, showcases and facilitates local and national advocacy efforts towards ending violence against women and girls by individuals, governments, civil society and UN partners. Through an interactive and social media-friendly website, Say NO – UNiTE engages people from all walks of life and links local actions to an expanding global network.
- Stop Rape Now is a joint effort by a network of UN agencies known as UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict to prevent the use of rape as a tactic of war and respond effectively to the needs of survivors. Its GET CROSS! initiative calls on members of the public, as well as celebrities and other prominent figures at the national level, to submit a photograph of themselves adopting the crossed-armed ‘X’ gesture, sending the message that sexual terror will not be tolerated. Photos are showcased on the Stop Rape Now website.
- UNFPA used the occasion of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa for the global release of the Breakaway video-game, which uses football as the medium to address violence against women.
- In Nigeria, UNIFEM (part of UN Women) and partners have supported police training on violence against women and human trafficking.
- In Cambodia, an estimated 2,485 villagers participated throughout 2008 in community conversation sessions, organized by village facilitators and UNDP, to promote the communities’ understanding of social and legal issues related to domestic violence.