Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)


VAWG includes violence committed at home, in public, online or through the use of technology resulting in physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm, including threats of such acts, and the term women includes girls. Specific forms of violence include:

  1. domestic abuse (including financial abuse);
  2. sexual violence, abuse and exploitation (including commercial exploitation);
  3. sexual harassment and bullying;
  4. pornography including through published magazines (such as sexualised images of children and young people), via internet and by mobile;
  5. stalking;
  6. trafficking, forced prostitution (in adults) and all child sexual exploitation;
  7. female genital mutilation;
  8. forced marriage; and
  9. crimes said to be committed in the name of ‘honour.’
UN Women

Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls

The Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls features detailed guidance on how to implement laws, policies and programmes with access to promising practices, case studies and recommended programming tools from around the world.

Council of Europe

Istanbul Convention
Action against violence against women and domestic violence

Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

In a message to mark International Women’s Day 2018, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights underlines politicians and opinion makers’ duty to promote an honest and well-informed public debate about the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) and to focus on its potential to help states increase women’s safety and liberty in Europe.
“Combating violence against women and domestic violence must be a priority for us all. The Istanbul Convention is a modern and unique tool designed to protect women’s rights and no excuse should obstruct its ratification and implementation”, he says.

10 years of the Istanbul Convention

Joining forces around a landmark treaty on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence
May 11, 2021 – The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention after the city in which it opened for signature 10 years ago, on 11 May 2011, is the most far-reaching international legal instrument to set out binding obligations to prevent and combat violence against women. Thirty-four member states of the Council of Europe have ratified it, twelve have signed it – along with the European Union – and it is used as a basis for action by many countries outside Europe.


Tackling Violence Against Women

“Tackling Violence against Women” is an online resource aimed at explaining the global and regional human rights frameworks that exist to end gender-based discrimination and tackle violence against women and girls. It is designed for anyone interested in the global campaign against violence against women, with information likely to be of particular value to civil society organisations and advocates.

This site is rooted in the understanding that violence against women is: 1. a form of gender-based discrimination; and 2. a violation of women’s human rights. As such, it sets out the existing international human rights structures and instruments designed to tackle violence against women, as well as those which have the potential to be used to be used in this way. This includes explaining the treaties and judicial bodies which can be accessed by lawyers, and highlighting where campaigning and advocacy organisations can engage with human rights bodies in order to better protect and promote women’s human rights.

UK Department for International Development (DFID)

Community activism approaches to shift harmful gender attitudes, roles and social norms

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is driven in part by gender attitudes, norms on gender inequality and the acceptability of violence, which are socially reproduced and shared. Women’s rights organizations across the global south have dedicated themselves to challenging these. Early evaluations of work they have championed has shown that sufficiently equipped community volunteers, guided in a long-term structured programme, can enable widespread diffusion of new ideas on gender and VAWG and ultimately achieve changes in harmful attitudes and norms across communities.