The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations System. It supports the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health is defined in WHO's Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. WHO supports countries as they coordinate the efforts of multiple sectors of the government and partners to attain their health objectives and support their national health policies and strategies. WHO’s work on violence against women spans more than twenty years and includes: a) Building the evidence base on the size and nature of violence against women in different countries and developing methodologies and ethical and safety guidelines for measuring violence and its consequences; b) Establishing norms and standards for the health systems’ response to violence against women, particularly for intimate partner violence, sexual violence and female genital mutilation, including development of guidelines and tools (e.g. clinical handbook, training curricula, capacity assessment tools, strengthening health system job aids); c) Supporting countries (Ministries of Health and other relevant partners) to implement such tools, including in humanitarian settings and through participation in the Joint UN Programme on essential services for women subject to violence; d) Building evidence through research and data collection and development of prevalence estimates and global monitoring for different forms of VAW; e) Advocacy for strengthening the role of the health sector in multisectoral response to address VAW and for the integration of strategies to address VAW in existing health programmes such as those for sexual and reproductive and maternal and child health, HIV prevention, mental health, adolescent health and others.
See main instruments above. In addition, WHO’s work on violence against women is based on several resolutions by its governing bodies: World Health Assembly Resolution WHA49.25, Prevention of violence: a public health priority (1996); World Health Assembly Resolution WHA50.19, Prevention of Violence(1997); World Health Assembly Resolution WHA56.24, Implementing the recommendations of the World report on violence and health (2003); African Regional Committee Resolution AFR/RC54/R6, Child sexual abuse: a silent health emergency (2004); and the European Regional Committee Resolution EUR/RC55/10, Prevention of injuries in the WHO European Region. In May 2008 the World Health Assembly, adopted a resolution against FGM, which urges all Member States to, among others, enact and enforce legislation, support and enhance community-based efforts, and develop and promote guidelines for care of victims. More recently, the2014 World Health Assembly resolution WHA67.15 on “Strengthening the role of the health system in addressing violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children” ; Strategy and Plan of Action on Strengthening the Health System to Address Violence against Women, PAHO (2015); and World Health Assembly resolution WHA 69.5 WHO global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system within a national multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children (2016).
WHO supports and undertakes research, develops guidelines and tools, strengthens the capacity of national health systems to develop policy and strengthen their response and services for survivors of violence against women and engages in advocacy and partnerships to address violence against women. Its efforts on violence against women include intimate partner violence, sexual violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), child and adolescent sexual abuse, child abuse and maltreatment, and violence against health workers. WHO also collaborates with IOM on the health of migrants and people who have been trafficked, including responding to violence. This work is being undertaken across a number of areas of work in WHO and by the different levels in WHO: at Headquarters, regional and country level. WHO participates in many UN inter-agency activities, processes, and partnerships, including UN Action (on sexual violence in conflict), the the Inter-agency Standing Committee, the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on reproductive health in humanitarian settings, the response to gender based violence in humanitarian settings through the health cluster, and UNAIDS Outcome Framework. It participates in the UN Joint Programme on Essential services for women subject to violence and a Joint Programme on strengthening methodologies and measurement and building national capacities for VAW data.
Gender based violence quality assurance tool (standards for the provision of high quality post-violence care in health facilities (2018)
Responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused: WHO clinical guidelines (2017)
Strengthening health systems to respond to women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence: A manual for health managers (2017) Global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system within a national multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children (2016)
Ethical and safety recommendations for intervention research on violence against women. Building on lessons from the WHO publication: Putting women first: ethical and safety recommendations for research on domestic violence against women (2016)
Strengthening the medico-legal response to sexual violence (2015) (with UNODC)
Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence: a clinical handbook – field testing version (2014) (with UNW and UNFPA)
Responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women: WHO clinical and policy guidelines (2013)
Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence (2013)
16 Ideas for addressing violence against women in the context of the HIV epidemic: A programming tool (2013)
Preventing intimate partner and sexual violence: taking action and generating evidence, 2010
WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women – Report – initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women’s responses (2005)
WHO developed a capacity-building package on primary prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence accompanying the guidelines “Preventing intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women: taking action and generating evidence.” Three regional workshops on primary prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence were conducted for policy makers and implementers from several countries in the African Region, the Western-Pacific region and the Americas. On the basis of the feedback of the workshops the training package was revised. The training package is currently being translated into Spanish. It can found in English at: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/capacitybuilding/courses/intimate_partner_violence/en/index.htmlHide
WHO reported that the 5th Milestones of a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention Meeting was held in Cape Town, South Africa. Under the theme "Joining forces, empowering prevention" almost 300 experts from more than 60 countries discussed progress in WHO's Global Campaign for Violence Prevention and strategized the way ahead by developing a global plan of action for 2012-2020. A special session during the meeting was dedicated to new research and effective interventions to address intimate partner and sexual violence. Details on the session can be found at: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/5th_milestones_meeting/en/index.htmlHide
In WHO, the 16-days of activism campaign was accompanied by joint efforts of several departments through a web feature with 16 facts on violence against women, a poster exhibition and facts on violence against women disseminated via facebook and twitter throughout the 16 days of the campaign. More information on the campaign is available at: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/global_campaign/16_days/en/index.htmlHide
Based on the UN framework for the prevention of violence against women, WHO, with UN Women, developed and is finalising an 8-page policy-maker friendly, infographic brochure to package the evidence about risk and View More
Based on the UN framework for the prevention of violence against women, WHO, with UN Women, developed and is finalising an 8-page policy-maker friendly, infographic brochure to package the evidence about risk and protective factors , what works for prevention categorised into 7 prevention strategies., and how to scale up proven interventions This brochure packages simple key messages about the evidence on prevention in a user friendly way.Hide
WHO has continued to provide technical support to Member States on request, including on health sector response, and primary prevention. Within the framework of violence prevention, WHO emphasizes the role of public health in the prevention and response to violence against women. WHO is actively advocating against the medicalization of female genital mutilation.Hide
In May 2007 WHO convened an international Expert Meeting on Primary Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence to inform WHO's future work in this area. The purpose of the meeting was to review the effectiveness of current approaches for preventing new occurrences of intimate partner and sexual violence; to identify WHO's role on primary prevention; and to identify potential activities and products for WHO. Participants discussed strategies, implementation in resource-constrained settings, and obstacles and opportunities for scaling up. The group agreed that WHO should issue guidance on how to implement primary prevention strategies and monitor their impact, process and guiding principles.Hide
WHO, with other partners, is developing a framework of interventions for prevention of intimate partner violence and sexual violence that can be integrated into HIV prevention activities. A consultation on addressing violence against women in HIV testing and counselling took place in January 2006 and a meeting report with recommendations and good practices is available. WHO convenes the working group on violence against women of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS to promote advocacy and communication activities on the intersections of violence against women and HIV/AIDS. WHO has undertaken advocacy and awareness-raising initiatives on violence against women, including sensitization of multidisciplinary groups.Hide
WHO/PAHO organized a workshop on the prevention of intimate partner violence and sexual violence with participants from four Latin American countries, aimed at introducing concepts of primary prevention, reviewing the evidence and encouraging development of country prevention initiatives.Hide
The Parenting Project Group of the WHO Violence Prevention Alliance, co-led by UNICEF and the University of Cape Town, launched the ‘Parenting Programmes for Preventing Violence: A Toolkit for Understanding Outcome Evaluations’ report with the aim of providing technical support to those implementing parenting programmes at the country level.Hide