Sexual and reproductive health

Experts develop consensus on priority indicators for elimination of violence against women

Close up of hands of a 14-year-old girl
A 14-year-old participates in group therapy session for children who have been sexually exploited.

Geneva, 23-24 June 2014. The WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research convened an expert meeting to develop a consensus on priority indicators on violence against women to propose for measuring progress towards the target for eliminating violence against women in the post-2015 sustainable development goals. The objectives of the meeting were to: 1) Review potential options for indicators on violence against women; 2) Discuss the strengths and weaknesses and feasibility of measurement of the different indictors; 3) Build consensus among key agencies and partners around possible indicators to be proposed.

WHO and UNFPA workshop to strengthen capacity for a public health approach to prevention and response to violence against women in East Africa

17-20 June 2014: The purpose of the workshop was to strengthen participants’ understanding of and skills in applying concepts, evidence and guidelines for addressing violence against women as public health problems. Participants included representatives from Ministries of Health, Gender, other relevant Ministries, civil society and UN partners from seven East African countries including: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

World Health Assembly adopts a historic resolution that addresses violence against women and girls

Photo of Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia giving a speech at the World Health Assembly
Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia at the 67th World Health Assembly

20 MAY 2014 – Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia, addressed delegates at the World Health Assembly and deplored the prevalence of violence against women and girls and the extent to which cases of violence remain hidden and unrecognized. Member States adopted a resolution on “Strengthening the role of the health system in addressing violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children” at the 67th World Health Assembly.

Member States pledge to end sexual violence in conflict

A 14-year-old girl stands in the house. She was sexually abused by an older man
UNICEF/Olivier Asselin

WHO welcomes the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict signed by 113 Member States attending the 68th UN General Assembly in New York. By signing the declaration, Member States pledged to end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war, which terrorizes communities during conflict and has very serious health consequences. The declaration sends an important message to the victims of these crimes that the international community has not forgotten them, and to the perpetrators of rape that they will be held to account.

Violence against women (VAW)

Sexual violence

Sexual violence is a serious public health and human rights problem with both short- and long-term consequences on women's physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health.


Image of a red HIV ribbon

Growing evidence shows that violence increases women's vulnerability to HIV. HIV can also be a risk factor for violence, since disclosure can put some women at risk of violence by their partners, family or community members.

Prevention and response

To help ensure better care and support for those who have experienced partner violence or sexual violence, WHO works, among other things, to strengthen the health sector response to violence against women.

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