Documents to download

In December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women

For the purposes of the Declaration, “violence against women” means “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”. 

Violence against women is understood to include the following: 

  • Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital  mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation; 
  • Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;
  • Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 

In December 1999, the General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and “invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day.” The UN’s website gives the following introduction:

Why this International Day? 

  • Violence against women is a human rights violation.
  • Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.
  • Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.
  • Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential.
  • Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic.
  1. One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is the substantial funding shortfall. As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking. Frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls, offer huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.
  2. From 25 November through 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aim to raise public awareness and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change. This year, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites you to “Orange the world,” using the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Organize events to orange streets, schools and landmarks! Read our Toolkit.

The UN site gives further information on the International Day.

Government policy

The Government’s ending violence against women and girls strategy (March 2016) gives details of what it is doing over the next four years.

Further information on Government policy is available from Gov.UK:

Documents to download

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