Sexual and reproductive health

Strengthening the health-systems response to violence against women

21 November 2014 - Every single day, women and girls across the world face violence. According to a new series co-authored by WHO, which is published in The Lancet today, efforts must be dramatically stepped up to address this global problem – which includes intimate partner violence, rape, female genital mutilation, trafficking, and forced marriage, and which has serious consequences for victims’ physical and mental health. The new WHO clinical handbook, Health care for women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence, to be published online for field-testing on 24 November, will provide practical information to health-care providers, to accelerate progress towards tackling this issue.

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.

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.

VAW and HIV

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.

Related links