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 is  one of the 13 UN entities of UN Action, leading knowledge pillar by contributing to improved evidence for understanding the scale of sexual violence in conflict and how to respond effectively. In 2015, WHO together with UNODC View More

WHO is  one of the 13 UN entities of UN Action, leading knowledge pillar by contributing to improved evidence for understanding the scale of sexual violence in conflict and how to respond effectively. In 2015, WHO together with UNODC published a toolkit on 'strengthening the medico-legal response to sexual violence', which aims to support service provision and coordination in low-resource settings, available in English and French. It is being field tested in several countries with the aim of improving coordination across the multiple stakeholders involved.

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WHO provides support to its collaborating centres and research institutions to strengthen capacity to implement research – including on ethical and safety aspects of conducting research on violence against women, and through workshops and View More

WHO provides support to its collaborating centres and research institutions to strengthen capacity to implement research – including on ethical and safety aspects of conducting research on violence against women, and through workshops and courses on appropriate research methods for this topic.  To facilitate this effort, WHO and RTI (Response to Interventions) International published ethical and safety guidelines for interventions research on VAW in 2016.

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In Afghanistan, with support from the WHO, the Ministry of Public Health is training nearly 7000 health providers and upgrading health facilities in all provinces over the next 5 years to deliver Gender Based Violence services to survivors based View More

In Afghanistan, with support from the WHO, the Ministry of Public Health is training nearly 7000 health providers and upgrading health facilities in all provinces over the next 5 years to deliver Gender Based Violence services to survivors based on implementation of a national treatment protocol and the WHO clinical handbook for responding to intimate partner violence or sexual violence.  In Uganda, health providers in 3 districts were trained based on updated national training guidelines to deliver care and services for GBV to survivors.  Similar efforts are underway in India and Namibia.

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WHO also provided technical support and capacity building as part of an interagency workshop on integrating gender-based violence and engaging men and boys for gender equality in national AIDS programmes in Istanbul in which more than 25 country View More

WHO also provided technical support and capacity building as part of an interagency workshop on integrating gender-based violence and engaging men and boys for gender equality in national AIDS programmes in Istanbul in which more than 25 country teams comprising of national AIDS programme managers, civil society groups working on violence against women or representing women living or affected by HIV and UN partners participated. WHO is also exploring additional opportunities for capacity development through new e-learning technologies.

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With the US-based Educational Development Center (EDC), WHO has developed a three-day training course on the primary prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence.

With the US-based Educational Development Center (EDC), WHO has developed a three-day training course on the primary prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence.

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WHO/PAHO organized a workshop on preventing intimate partner and sexual violence, with participants from four Latin American countries, aimed at introducing the concept of primary prevention, reviewing the evidence and encouraging development of View More

WHO/PAHO organized a workshop on preventing intimate partner and sexual violence, with participants from four Latin American countries, aimed at introducing the concept of primary prevention, reviewing the evidence and encouraging development of prevention initiatives in these countries.

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WHO, in collaboration with Partners for Prevention and the Medical Research Council/South Africa, supported capacity-building initiatives on research and developing interventions to prevent gender-based violence in Bangkok, in July 2012.

WHO, in collaboration with Partners for Prevention and the Medical Research Council/South Africa, supported capacity-building initiatives on research and developing interventions to prevent gender-based violence in Bangkok, in July 2012.

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1. WHO together with UNFPA and UN Women published a clinical handbook for health providers titled "Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence". Adaptation workshops and trainings View More

1. WHO together with UNFPA and UN Women published a clinical handbook for health providers titled "Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence". Adaptation workshops and trainings based on the handbook have been held in multiple settings in 2017, including: Pakistan, Botswana, Namibia, Uruguay, and Zambia and in regional settings (e.g. Caribbean and East and southern Africa). 2. Technical support is being provided to countries and in-country partners who want to conduct national prevalence surveys on violence against women using the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence methodology. 3. WHO is finalising the development of curricula for use in in-service and pre-service training to strengthen the knowledge, skills and attitudes of health-care professionals and ensure they can respond effectively to women suffering abuse and its consequences.

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WHO has developed various training programmes, such as Teach-VIP that includes modules on intimate partner and sexual violence; a virtual course on comprehensive care for sexual and domestic violence victims (PAHO). WHO, with PATH, has developed View More

WHO has developed various training programmes, such as Teach-VIP that includes modules on intimate partner and sexual violence; a virtual course on comprehensive care for sexual and domestic violence victims (PAHO). WHO, with PATH, has developed Researching violence against women: A practical guide for researchers and activists that will be used as the basis of regional training courses. It also developed training packages on management of childbirth for women with FGM.

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WHO developed a Handbook for the documentation of interpersonal violence prevention programmes, which provides guidance on how to document violence programmes, as a basis for monitoring and evaluation of interventions to prevent and reduce violence. View More

WHO developed a Handbook for the documentation of interpersonal violence prevention programmes, which provides guidance on how to document violence programmes, as a basis for monitoring and evaluation of interventions to prevent and reduce violence. It also developed Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence to assist countries to design, deliver, and measure the impact of programmes for the prevention of child maltreatment by parents and caregivers; and Preventing injuries and violence: A guide for ministries of health, which provides guidance to ministries of health for a public health approach to violence prevention. It covers policy development, data collection, advocacy work and capacity building.

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