Address/Websites


Avenue Appia 20. 1211 Geneva 27. Switzerland

http://www.who.int/en/

Background


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.


Policy framework


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).


Areas of Focus


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.


Resources


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)


About 94 Results
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 View More

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.

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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 View More

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.

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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 View More

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.

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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 View More

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.

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The Violence Prevention Alliance and the Global Campaign for Violence Prevention supported by WHO aimed to strengthen the role of public health in the prevention and response to violence, including against women. As part of the Global Campaign for View More

The Violence Prevention Alliance and the Global Campaign for Violence Prevention supported by WHO aimed to strengthen the role of public health in the prevention and response to violence, including against women. As part of the Global Campaign for Violence Prevention, WHO is giving increased attention to the primary prevention of intimate partner violence and sexual violence. WHO also worked with the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to advocate against the medicalization of FGM.

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WHO held the Fourth Milestones Meeting of the Global Campaign for Violence Prevention in September 2009, focusing on strengthening violence prevention.

WHO held the Fourth Milestones Meeting of the Global Campaign for Violence Prevention in September 2009, focusing on strengthening violence prevention.

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  • Feb 2017 - Apr 2018
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Development of a popular version of the commitments in the WHA approved WHO global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system within a national multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, View More

Development of a popular version of the commitments in the WHA approved 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) and report back on progress to the World Health Assembly 2018.

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The '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’ was endorsed by the 193 Member View More

The '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’ was endorsed by the 193 Member States of WHO at the May 2016 World Health Assembly. This plan encourages actions by MS, national and international partners and WHO along 4 strategic directions: Strengthening the health systems leadership and governance; providing comprehensive health, including SRH, services and training health providers ; strengthening prevention programming; and improving evidence and information to address violence against women and girls.

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1. Intervention to address VAW in antenatal care setting : WHO and the Wits Institute for Reproductive health have finalised a randomised control trial of an empowerment counselling-based intervention in antenatal care for View More

1. Intervention to address VAW in antenatal care setting : WHO and the Wits Institute for Reproductive health have finalised a randomised control trial of an empowerment counselling-based intervention in antenatal care for pregnant women experiencing abuse in Johannesburg, South Africa. The trial found that the intervention was efficacious in reducing IPV, and was acceptable but delivering it would require further efforts.. The findings and intervention training manual will be published in 2018 2. Building on field testing of the WHO clinical handbook for the response to intimate partner violence and sexual violence, WHO is carrying out implementation research to identify effective approaches to roll out WHO clinical guidelines and derivative tools on the health sector response to violence against women. 3. The questionnaire developed for the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women has been updated and now includes questions on non-partner sexual violence, sexual harassment and updated questions on social norms and mental health. The questionnaire will be published in 2018 along with an accompanying question-by-question manual. 4. WHO updated its database on intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence and established a technical advisory group for the VAW inter-agency working group on estimation and data as part of the UN-wide SDG monitoring efforts

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A WHO intervention study to identify and respond to women suffering violence during antenatal care has started in 2 countries in sub Saharan Africa.

A WHO intervention study to identify and respond to women suffering violence during antenatal care has started in 2 countries in sub Saharan Africa.

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