Ending the cycle of violence against girls
DHAKA, BANGLADESH, 23-25 Sept. 2014 -- WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) contributed to a regional seminar for Asia-Pacific parliaments on 'Ending the cycle of violence against girls' organized by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Bangladesh Parliament. At the seminar, Parliamentarians from 12 countries agreed on concrete actions that they would take in their individual countries to prevent violence against girls including early and forced marriage. They agreed to this by formulating laws and supporting the implementation and monitoring of actions in conformity with the laws. RHR will work through the Inter-Parliamentary Union to support the efforts of Parliamentarians, while working with Ministries of Health and other stakeholders to support research and action.
11 October is the UN International Day of the Girl Child. This year’s theme is “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence”. Adolescence is a critical period that can determine the trajectory of girls’ lives. It is a stage at which key investments and support can set girls on a path towards empowerment, or when discrimination, recurrent constraints, harmful practices, and violence can send them down a negative spiral with lifelong consequences, not just for themselves, but for societies and future generations.
While physical, psychological and social development extends from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood, there is growing recognition that early adolescence (10-14 years) is an especially crucial phase. There is also widespread recognition that early adolescence has been/is being neglected both in research and in action.
When national Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health strategies are not implemented effectively, adolescents and young people are unable to obtain the sexuality and reproductive health education they need in their schools and communities, and sexual and reproductive health services they need from health facilities in their communities. The result is unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and STIs including HIV infection.