Preventing violence against women and girls

Mathan Justin Annamma is one of the 90 entrepreneurs who received training on business development as part of the project ‘Empowering communities to prevent violence against women and girls in Mannar’. The photo was taken on 1st November 2022 in Nedunkandal, Mannar, Sri Lanka. Photo: UN Women Sri Lanka/Raveendra Rohana.

The issue

The COVID-19 crisis and the continuing economic crisis have had devastating impacts on the security of women in Sri Lanka, with drastically increased violence against women and girls. Along with large spikes in cases of domestic and/ or intimate partner violence, the crises have also led to spikes in human trafficking, sexual bribery, exploitative sex work, rape, and femicide. As women survivors grapple with increasing burdens of unpaid care work and shrinking incomes, along with lockdowns, travel restrictions, shortages, and shrinking social protection systems, their access to protection and justice continues to shrink. Marginalized groups of women including women heads of households, women with direct experience of conflict, members of the LGBTQI+ community, women with disabilities, and women from rural areas are among those most affected.

How are we making a difference?

To date, efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls have mainly focused on responding to and providing services for survivors of violence. Recognizing that prevention is still the most cost-effective, long-term way to stop violence, UN Women's programmes focus on women's economic empowerment, early education, respectful relationships, and working with men and boys to ensure that women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence.

  • Over the years, UN Women has supported the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration inclusive of the first-ever training curriculum for Labour Attaches on the provision of sexual and gender-based violence services for women migrant workers.
  • Through UN Women’s joint project on ‘Empowering Communities to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Mannar (2021 – 2023)’ supported by the Government of Australia, UN Women has strengthened the resilience and autonomy of over 90 women entrepreneurs to become economically independent, and thus less vulnerable to violence.