Globally, one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime (WHO 2013). In Afghanistan, recent demographic and health survey data (CSO 2017) indicates that the prevalence of intimate partner violence (emotional, physical or sexual) perpetrated against women aged 15 to 49 is 56%, ranging from between 7% and 92% across different provinces. Based on the baseline for an impact evaluation of Women for Women International’s programme in Afghanistan, this brief describes the factors associated with physical and emotional intimate partner violence. The brief is intended for employees of governmental and non-governmental organisations, and donors, interested in working to prevent violence against women before it occurs.

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Globally, 17% of children are subjected to extreme forms of corporal punishment (UNICEF 2014). National level data in Afghanistan suggests that 78% of children aged 5 to 14 have experienced any violent psychological or physical discipline, and more than a third of children are subjected to extreme physical violence (UNICEF 2014). Based on the baseline study of a project implemented in Afghanistan by Help the Afghan Children, this brief describes the factors associated with violence at school, including children’s experience of corporal punishment by teachers and their experiences of peer violence victimisation or perpetration. The brief is intended for those working in governmental and nongovernmental organisations, and donors, interested in working to prevent violence against children.

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Download the Change starts at home Infographic capturing the baseline research data.

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A number of interventions have been found to be effective in helping to prevent and address VAWG (see papers 2 and 3). However, little is known about their cost, value for money, and how to take them to scale. With its focus on low-income and middle-income countries, this review summarises evidence found on the cost and value for money aspects of interventions to prevent VAWG, as well as on approaches for scaling up such interventions.  This rapid assessment, along with the other papers, is designed to: i) Inform the violence prevention research agenda and priorities for innovation; and ii) Establish a baseline of the state of knowledge and evidence against which to assess the achievements of the What Works programme over the next five years.

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VAWG response mechanisms have, for the most part, been developed and deployed with the primary goal of providing improved support services to women and girl survivors, through strengthening the response of the police and criminal justice system, and the health system and social sector. In and of itself, this goal is vitally important. However, an assumption is often made that strengthened response mechanisms will also lead to a decrease in rates of violence. For example, it is assumed that health sector responses could lead to reduced  rates of reoccurrence, or that strengthened police and criminal justice systems may prevent violence through deterrence. Whether or not response mechanisms also have the potential to prevent violence is a key question for the field of violence prevention. However, these assumptions have not yet been proven, and, as this paper will show, research in this area is still limited.

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The field of violence against women and girls has advanced considerably over the past two decades. We have much more information on the prevalence of violence in low and middle income countries as well as an expanding body of knowledge on risk and protective factors. This positions us well to develop and implement strong primary prevention interventions with a rigorous theory of change. However, there are still key gaps in our knowledge that need to be addressed in order to move towards more comprehensive models of intervention, and ultimately end VAWG. This provides a summary of existing evidence of what works and outlines the overarching research and innovation agenda for the What Works Global Programme.

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This paper outlines our current knowledge base regarding VAWG and identifies where our understanding needs to be expanded in order to deliver the most sophisticated interventions and impact on the prevalence of VAWG globally. This brief is designed to provide an overview of what we know about intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence and child abuse, based on the literature. It can be used by programmers, policymakers and researchers to inform theories of change for violence prevention interventions.

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This summary presents the current evidence on the effectiveness of different types of interventions to prevent violence against women and girls. It is based on a rapid review of the existing evidence through a review of reviews and online searches of academic databases. There has been an impressive increase in the evidence base for violence prevention interventions within the last ten years. We now have several well conducted RCTs in low and middle income countries showing some success in preventing violence against women and girls, however there are still many gaps and limitations that the What Works programme is working to address.

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This summary presents the evidence on the effectiveness of different types of response mechanisms for violence against women and girls in preventing the occurrence of violence. The interventions reviewed were all developed and deployed with a primary goal of strengthening the response of the police and criminal justice system, health system or social sector to violence against women and girls. This review has not assessed evidence on their effectiveness in achieving this primary goal; it has focused on assessing any evidence that they are able to achieve a secondary or parallel goal of prevention of violence against women and girls.

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A number of interventions to prevent and address violence against women and girls have been found to be effective, but little is known about their costs, value for money, and how to take them to scale. With a focus on evidence in low and middle-income countries, this review summarises evidence on the costs and value for money of interventions to prevent violence against women and girls, as well as approaches for scaling up. It also outlines the large research gaps and what is needed to fill them.

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Violence against women and girls is one of the greatest economic and public health problems facing the world today. Globally, 35% of women have experienced some form of violence. 30% of women have experienced violence from their partner.  The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Programme is a UK Department for International Development flagship programme, which is investing an unprecedented £25 million, over five years, to the prevention of violence against women and girls. It supports primary prevention efforts across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

This publication provides an overview of the What Works to Prevent VAWG Programme, and sets out the goals for the Global Programme over the coming years, to: conduct cutting-edge research, support innovation, promote knowledge sharing and buid capacity, and drive the policy agenda.

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This paper examines the evidence base for the effectiveness of interventions to prevent violence against women and girls. This rapid assessment is designed to inform the violence prevention research agenda and establish a baseline of the state of knowledge and evidence. The paper is based on a rapid review of existing evidence on the impact of interventions that aim to prevent VAWG, or address key risk factors for such violence. The focus of the review was on IPV, non-partner sexual violence and child abuse.

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This paper outlines our current knowledge base regarding the issue of VAWG and identifies where the evidence base needs to be expanded in order to inform more sophisticated interventions and make a real impact on the prevalence of VAWG globally. It highlights the implications of this knowledge for prevention interventions and points to how information can be used to drive current policies and programmes as well as future research endeavours. 

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Download the latest Infographic compiled by Component Three of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Global Programme. 

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Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a significant social, economic and public health problem. No country is immune from this problem and it impacts all socio-economic groups, all ethnicities  and all ages. This does not mean it is inevitable; it can be transformed through political will, through increased investment in programmes and policies, and through community support for normative change. The publication has been authored by the Members of Component Two for What Works: Economic and Social Costs of Violence Programme.  Download the publication here.

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There has been a growing interest in deriving the associated costs of violence against women.  This has coincided with an explosion of costing studies in recent years, particularly after 2000, when interest in establishing these costs grew dramatically. Currently over 55 studies, mostly from high-income countries, have attempted to quantify the costs of various forms of violence against women. However, providing a comparison across countries can be difficult. This is mainly due to the different categories of costs, different forms of violence, and the different sampling approaches undertaken by individual studies (Varcoe et al., 2011). This comparison becomes even more difficult in developing country contexts where the availability of data is less robust and less systematic attention has been placed on measuring the economic costs of violence against women when compared to their industrialised counterparts. In this review of the evidence on the costs of violence against women, we provide an assessment of what we have learned and we establish the gaps which need to be addressed in future costing studies. 

Authors: Ashe, S., Duvvury, N., Raghavendra, S., Scriver, S., and O’Donovan, D.

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The What Works programme is not alone in investing time and resources in researching and prioritising prevention and response to gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies and fits into a larger, global drive to create change for affected populations, particularly women and girls. The Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies is a global appeal to diverse stakeholders to make specific commitments to contribute towards transforming the way GBV is addressed in the humanitarian space. As the largest multi-year study currently examining VAWG in conflict and crisis, What Works will play an instrumental role in advancing the global research agenda in this area. This brief sets out how the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises research portfolio complements and supports the achievements of the Call to Action’s objectives.

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This brief provides a succinct overview of the existing evidence on the prevalence of VAWG and on promising and emerging practices that prevent and respond to VAWG in conflict and humanitarian settings, summarising recent systematic and literature reviews in this field. It includes information on interventions involving both refugees and internally displaced populations (IDPs) affected by conflict, as well as other groups of women and girls who have been affected by natural disasters and/or severe food insecurity. The articles also focus on several different types of violence, including non-partner sexual violence, intimate partner sexual/physical violence, and harmful practices and social norms. Written by Maureen Murphy, Diana Arango, Amber Hill, Manuel Contreras, Mairi MacRae & Mary Ellsberg.

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Violence against women, recognised globally as a fundamental human rights violation, is widely prevalent across high-, middle-, and lowincome countries. It imposes direct and indirect costs and losses on the well-being of individuals, families and communities, businesses, national economies, social and economic development and political stability. Recently, there has been a growing interest in deriving the associated costs of violence against women. This has coincided with an explosion of costing studies in recent years, particularly after 2000. In this review of the evidence, we provide an assessment of what we have learned and we establish the gaps which still need to be addressed in future costing studies.

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This project contends that the failure to eliminate VAWG constitutes a drag on national economies and on inclusive human development. There is thus strong incentive for investment by government and other stakeholders to address VAWG – the cost of inaction is signifi cant. This project aims to build knowledge about the impacts of VAWG and thus to mobilise political will to eliminate violence worldwide. Through the development of new costing methodologies that can be applied within different national contexts, this project will provide policy makers with the tools to estimate the impact of VAWG. To develop such tools, it is necessary to collect data and evaluate methodologies within a range of political, economic, cultural and social contexts. This study is therefore being conducted in three countries in the Global South that exhibit marked differences in terms of context: South Sudan, Pakistan and Ghana.

In Pakistan, the project aims to fi ll the gaps in our understanding of the socio-economic impacts of VAWG, focusing on intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence (NPSV). The project will go beyond costs to individuals by providing estimates of the loss to the overall economy of Pakistan. In addition, we examine costs arising from the impact of VAWG on social cohesion and political stability.

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This project contends that the failure to eliminate VAWG constitutes a drag on national economies and on inclusive human development. There is thus strong incentive for investment by government and other stakeholders to address VAWG – the cost of inaction is signifi cant. This project aims to build knowledge about the impacts of VAWG and thus to mobilise political will to eliminate violence worldwide. Through the development of new costing methodologies that can be applied within different national contexts, this project will provide policy makers with the tools to estimate the impact of VAWG. To develop such tools, it is necessary to collect data and evaluate methodologies within a range of political, economic, cultural and social contexts. This study is therefore being conducted in three countries in the Global South that exhibit marked differences in terms of context: South Sudan, Pakistan and Ghana.

In Ghana, the project aims to fi ll the gaps in our understanding of the socio-economic impacts of VAWG, focusing on intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence (NPSV). The project will go beyond costs to individuals by providing estimates of the loss to the overall economy of Ghana. In addition, we examine costs arising from the impact of VAWG on social cohesion and political stability.

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It is essential that researchers and activists working in the area of violence against women and girls (VAWG) adopt clear definitions that adequately recognise the variety, scope and impact of violence on women and girls, their families, communities and societies. In this paper, we examine contributions to understandings of violence from a number of disciplines which have shaped and informed the most common conceptualisations of VAWG today. 

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