Violence against women
From birth to death, in times of peace and war, women suffer violence at the hands of the state, the community and the family. Violence against women is both a cause and a consequence of deep-rooted inequality between women and men.
It is a violation of women's fundamental human rights, including the right to life; the right to health and physical and mental integrity; and the right to be free from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. How do we define violence against women?
We campaign on violence against women both here in the UK and overseas, working in partnership with women's organisations. Our work includes:
'Violence against women is always a violation of human rights; it is a crime; and it is always unacceptable. Let us take this issue with the deadly seriousness that it deserves.' Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General
Under the 'no recourse to public funds' rule, women who come to the UK on temporary work permits, on student visas or to marry are not entitled to state benefits such as housing benefit and income support. As a direct consequence many women are trapped in violent relationships, or become homeless or destitute. Find out more
End Violence against Women (EVAW) is a coalition of individuals and organisations, including Amnesty, campaigning for a concerted effort to end all forms of violence against women.
In November 2009, this work achieved a political breakthrough with the announcement of a cross-government strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women.
Since taking office, Home Secretary Theresa May has reiterated a commitment to an integrated approach but will be reviewing and reworking proposals.
EVAW will hold the new administration to account on its delivery of the strategy, and fight to secure access to services with a special focus on black, minority ethnic and refugee women, who face additional barriers.
Visit the EVAW website (external)
We base our work on the definition in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which states that violence against women is:
'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.'
Gender-based violence against women is violence 'Directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately'.
The UN Declaration states that acts of omission - such as neglect or deprivation - can constitute violence against women. More recent international legal instruments broaden the definition to include structural violence. Violence against women includes, but is not limited, to:
- Violence in the family
- Violence against women in the community
- Gender-based violence perpetrated or condoned by the state
In any of these categories, violence may be physical, psychological, and sexual. It may be manifested through deprivation or neglect as opposed to overt acts of violence or harassment - or a combination of either.
Gender Roles, Discrimination and Society
Virtually every culture in the world contains forms of violence against women that are nearly invisible because they are seen as 'normal'. Even in countries where laws criminalise violence against women, tolerance of violence may be found at all levels of society.
According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women:
'The greatest challenge to women's rights and the elimination of discriminatory laws and harmful practices comes from the doctrine of cultural relativism' and can only be addressed with the active involvement of the people most affected.