Ending violence against women
Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death. It negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society. Violence not only has negative consequences for women but also their families, the community and the country at large. It has tremendous costs, from greater health care and legal expenses to losses in productivity, impacting national budgets and overall development. At the global level, violence against women costs billions of dollars annually in direct and indirect costs.
In the Arab States, violence against women and girls remains one of the main obstacles to women and girls’ active contribution to society. In the region, 37% of women have experienced a form of violence in their lifetime according to available data. However, there are indicators that the rate might be higher.
In the region, the subject of violence against women and girls is culturally sensitive. Negative stereotypes and social stigma pose a fundamental challenge for women in seeking protection or support. This entrenches impunity and leads to a general lack of statistical data which impedes the design of effective programming to combat the problem.
Legislations in the region often fall short from covering all forms of violence against women and they lack effective enforcement mechanisms in many cases. First response public servants including law enforcement and healthcare practitioners often lack the training required to deal with cases of violence against women.
Many Arab countries have made international commitments to fight violence against women and girls including Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. UN Women also advocates for the reforming national laws to be in line with international standards.
In the region, UN Women works with UN agencies, civil society, governments, intergovernmental bodies and research institutions to address, respond to, and prevent violence against women and girls. This includes support to policy development and efforts to increase research and advocacy to address the root causes and consequences of violence against women.
We focus on awareness raising and advocacy to address the negative social stereotypes that contribute to the social acceptance of gender-based violence VAW. UN Women works on strengthening coordination among diverse actors required for sustained and meaningful action.