Gender-based violence (GBV) is any harm perpetrated against a person based on power inequalities resulting from gender roles. This includes, but is not limited to, violence against women and girls. Violence against women and girls is most often perpetrated by someone the woman knows. Child abuse, intimate partner violence, acquaintance and date rape, "honor" killings, femicide, child marriage, and human trafficking are all examples of GBV.

Men and boys are often victims of GBV as well. A common example occurs in cultures where homosexuality is seen as departing from accepted and expected male behavior. Men who have sex with men may experience violence from discrimination, verbal abuse, or physical abuse. In addition, young people with disabilities or LGBTQ youth experience gender-based violence. 

Gender-based violence can have severe negative health consequences for those who experience it. This can include the immediate physical consequences of a violent act but can also include long-term mental health consequences. Other examples of the effects of GBV include unintended pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and even death.

Preventing Gender-Based Violence Among Adolescents and Young Adults: Lessons From 25 Years of Program Development and Evaluation

This review of the current state of evidence for effective GBV prevention among adolescents and young adults suggests significant gaps. This analysis highlights the need to think broadly about what constitutes evidence. The review identifies strategies and a call to action for moving the field forward and provide examples from work with vulnerable youth in a variety of settings. (2019)

Engaging Boys and Young Men in the Prevention of Sexual Violence: A systematic and global review of evaluated interventions

The objective of this systematic review—conducted by the Sexual Violence Research Initiative—"is to investigate the effectiveness of interventions for preventing boys’ and young men’s use of sexual violence, including: increasing gender-equitable attitudes, bystander intentions, and other attitudes and behaviors. It aims to explore the potential for intervening directly with boys and young men in community and school settings to address risk factors for sexual violence within diverse socio-cultural settings. The interventions in this review are those aimed at changing general attitudes and behaviors. The focus is on high-quality studies, defined as having a randomized controlled or quasi-experimental design.” (2011)

Gender-Based Violence Against Adolescent and Young Adult Women in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

In this study, “national prevalence estimates were generated among adolescents (15–19 years) and young adults (20–24 years) for lifetime and the past-year physical and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) among ever-married/cohabitating women (30 nations) and forced sexual debut among sexually experienced women (17 nations). Meta-analyses provided regional estimates and cross-national comparisons, and compared the past-year IPV prevalence among adolescent and young adult women to adult women. (2018)”

Young persons with disabilities: global study on ending gender-based violence, and realising sexual and reproductive health and rights

“To increase the visibility of young persons with disabilities to policymakers and advocates, UNFPA commissioned this study as part of the WE DECIDE programme. The study provides the following: 1. An up-to-date analysis on the situation of young persons with disabilities concerning discrimination and sexual violence, including the impact on their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR); 2. A detailed assessment of legal, policy, and programming developments and specific good practices in service delivery along with best-standard prevention and protection measures; and 3. Detailed policy and programming recommendations to assist UNFPA in building a comprehensive programme in this field. (2018)”

Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence.

“The Global Guidance provides key information to governments, policy-makers, teachers, practitioners and civil society who wish to take concrete action against SRGBV. It introduces approaches, methodologies, tools and resources that have shown positive results in preventing and responding to SRGBV. (2016)”

Interventions to prevent or reduce violence against women and girls: A systematic review of reviews

“This paper, a systematic review of reviews, breaks new ground by synthesizing evidence on the effects of VAWG prevention interventions. It examines the diversity of geographical context, the types of violence addressed, and the numerous approaches that have been used to combat VAWG. Additionally the review summarizes the quality of evidence on efficacy and effectiveness in order to highlight strengths and gaps of interventions on a global scale and could serve as a point of reference for those intending to undertake future design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions. (2014)”

Violence against Women and Girls: Lessons from South Asia

This World Bank “report documents the dynamics of violence against women in South Asia across the life cycle, from early childhood to old age. It explores the different types of violence that women may face throughout their lives, as well as the associated perpetrators (male and female), risk and protective factors for both victims and perpetrators, and interventions to address violence across all life cycle stages. The report also analyzes the societal factors that drive the primarily male — but also female — perpetrators to commit violence against women in the region.” “The report identifies critical gaps in research, program evaluations, and interventions in order to provide strategic recommendations for policy makers, civil society, and other stakeholders working to mitigate violence against women in South Asia. (2014)”

USAID’s Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally

This fact sheet unpacks the goals behind the USAID’s Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally.

Engaging Boys to Stop Violence. A Step by Step Guide for Initiating Social Change

Save the Children’s Step by Step Guide “Engaging boys to stop Violence, A Step by Step guide for initiating social changes” is a first of its kind in the field of engaging boys in ending gender-based violence. The Step by Step Guide is intended for girls and boys, women and men, and anyone interested in addressing the issue of gender-based violence prevention, and is particularly useful for practitioners, program staff, government representatives, politicians and any organized groups, as a practical tool, to engage with boys and mobilize communities to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and discrimination (2011).

Violence Against Women and Girls Resource Guide

This guide by the World Bank, ICRW, and other partners provide sector-specific guides to practitioners and donors to tackle gender-based violence in already existing programs, including in disaster risk management, transport, health programs, and more (2014).


Facts and Figures on Ending Gender-Based Violence

This UN Women page provides statistics and details about programs aimed at preventing and ending violence against women (2016).

Beyond Access: Toolkit for Integrating Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response into Education Projects

This toolkit was developed to support implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally. It provides guidance and resources for USAID technical and program officers working on education to increase understanding of GBV in the education context and strengthen integration of a gender-based violence (GBV) response into projects and activities. Because reducing school-related GBV is a high priority for USAID in all school systems globally, this toolkit includes school-related GBV, but the overall focus is GBV in the education context broadly (2015).

Minimum Standards for Prevention and Response to Gender-based Violence in Emergencies

Gender-based violence is a life-threatening, global health and human rights issue that violates international human rights law and principles of gender equality. In emergencies, such as conflict or natural disasters, the risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse is heightened, particularly for women and girls. UNFPA’s “Minimum Standards for Prevention and Response to GBV in Emergencies (GBViE)” promote the safety and well-being of women and girls in emergencies and provide practical guidance on how to mitigate and prevent gender-based violence in emergencies and facilitate access to multi-sector services for survivors (2015).

The Role of Data in Addressing Violence against Women and Girls

As the global spotlight has turned more sharply over the last decade on the persistence of violence against women and girls, the need for more and better data to inform evidence-based programming in order to address this human rights violation has escalated. As this brochure describes, advocates and defenders of women’s and girls’ safety and rights, as well as international agencies, national policymakers, and donors, need to  understand the nature and magnitude of the violence (2013).

Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India

ICRW conducted research, surveying a total of 9,205 men and 3,158 women, aged 18-49 in the following seven states across India. The study findings emphasize that in India, masculinity, i.e., men’s controlling behavior and gender inequitable attitudes, strongly determines men’s preference for sons over daughters as well as their proclivity for violence towards an intimate partner – both of which are manifestations of gender inequality (2014).

The Making of Sexual Violence: How Does a Boy Grow Up to Commit Rape?

Women and girls around the world experience staggering levels of rape and other forms of sexual violence. This violence devastates lives, unhinges communities, and hampers greater social and economic development. While the severity, frequency, and purpose of this violence can broaden during times of conflict or emergency, its foundations are laid during “peacetime,” as is underscored by the extreme levels of violence observed consistently across the globe. Yet it is only in recent decades that policymakers, researchers, and programmers have begun to pay closer attention to this urgent violation of human rights and barrier to sustainable development. This report presents an overview of five study sites of the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), presents findings related to men’s self-reported perpetration of sexual violence, investigates seven domains of possible influences on men’s sexual violence perpetration, and provides actionable lessons and recommendations (2014). 

Bridges to Adulthood: Understanding the Lifelong Influence of Men's Childhood Experiences of Violence

Great numbers of men report experiencing violence as children and these experiences have significant lifelong effects, according to the new analysis of the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) dataset included in this report. Adult men who were victims or witnesses of domestic violence as children, for instance, likely come to accept violence as a conflict-resolving tactic not only in intimate partnerships but also in their wider lives. Using IMAGES data from six countries (Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico, and Rwanda), this report explores the prevalence and nature of violence against children as well as its potential lifelong effects (2012).