Prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence (violence against women)
Intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women are major public health problems and violations of human rights. They result in serious short- and long-term physical, sexual and reproductive, and mental health problems, including increased vulnerability to HIV. Between 15–71% of women experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.
Publications and campaign materials
- Global and regional estimates of violence against women
- Responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women
- Violence against women infographic: health impacts and the role of the health sector
- Preventing intimate partner and sexual violence against women: taking action and generating evidence
- Promoting gender equality to prevent violence against women [pdf 591kb]
- Changing social and cultural norms that support violence [pdf 933kb]
- Data on violence against women
World report on violence and health, Chapter 4, Violence by intimate partners
World report on violence and health, Chapter 6, Sexual violence
- Guidelines for medico-legal care of victims of violence [pdf 887kb]
WHO intimate partner and sexual violence prevention objectives are to:
- raise awareness of the immediate and long-term health consequences of intimate partner and sexual violence
- disseminate science-based guidance on what works for the primary prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence
- prioritize the prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence in global and national health and development agendas
- reduce intimate partner and sexual violence against women by supporting countries to increase capacity and establish intimate partner and sexual violence prevention policies and programmes, and
- expand the global evidence base to cover more low- and middle-income countries.
WHO activities for the prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence carried out by the Departments of Management of NCDs, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, and Reproductive Health and Research, currently cover:
Data collection and research
Policy, capacity and programme development
- A three-day teaching course in the series Short courses on violence and injury prevention focuses on the prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence. The course is a comprehensive teaching package complete with PowerPoint presentations, detailed facilitator notes and student handouts and notes.
- Regional awareness raising and capacity development workshops involving four to eight countries per region are being conducted to roll out the primary prevention manual and assist countries in developing policies and plans of action.
- WHO publishes and disseminates evidence on intimate partner and sexual violence prevention and campaign materials.
- WHO acts as the Secretariat of the Violence Prevention Alliance which has a significant focus on intimate partner and sexual violence prevention.