Preventing Violence against Women

Preventing Violence against Women
Photo credit: UN Women/Shaista Chishty

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is rooted in gender-based discrimination, social norms, and gender stereotypes. Given the devastating effects of VAWG, efforts have concentrated mainly on response and providing services for survivors. However, the best way to end VAWG is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes. 

Prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality. Working with youth is a “best bet” for faster, sustained progress on preventing and eradicating gender-based violence. Often overlooked by public policies and interventions, this stage of life is a critical time when values and norms around gender equality are forged.

Our solutions

UN Women has a vision for a future that does not include violence against women. We know now more than ever before what works to prevent violence against women. More and more evidence is building on practical approaches that show prevention is possible and achievable in 3–5-year programme timeframes.

UN Women is committed to increasing evidence-based prevention programming across the region. We partner with women’s organisations, CSOs and governments at all levels on programming, capacity building and campaigns to address the underlying drivers of violence against women. With a focus on gender equality, mobilising communities, education, respectful relationships, and working with men and boys, we are constantly expanding our understanding of practical ways to make this vision real. 

Stepping Up Solutions to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls in Asia And the Pacific (2017-2020)

The ‘Stepping Up’ project is an ambitious regional initiative that contributed to policies, interventions and innovative approaches across Asia and the Pacific. Bringing together a wealth of evidence, knowledge, and innovative approaches from all facets of society to end VAWG for good. ‘Stepping Up’ has facilitated large scale data and evidence collection, and amplified investment in essential services for survivors of VAWG.

The project allows for data and evidence collection and increased investment in coordinated and quality essential services for survivors of VAWG. Stepping Up is implementing community and school-based activities in Viet Nam and Timor-Leste.


‘Connect with Respect’, is a school-based prevention initiative that empowers teachers and school communities to prevent, address and respond effectively to Gender Discrimination and VAWG. This project focuses on developing skills and networks to change harmful social norms, through arts and educational programmes, engaging male and female students, their teachers, parents and the wider community. Read more

Viet Nam

In Viet Nam the ‘Stepping Up’ initiative has driven deep community-wide dialogues that have resulted in shifts towards more gender-equitable and non-violent families, with approaches encompassing trainings, local activism, youth engagement, communication, advocacy, as well as engaging media and schools. Read more


SASA! is a ground-breaking community mobilisation approach that addresses the power imbalance between women and men. It uses a structured phased approach to inspire and enable effective community mobilization to prevent violence against women. Read more

Male Advocate Clubs

Male Advocate Clubs in Da Nang, successfully increased awareness and understanding of positive masculinities, gender equality and prevention of VAWG among participants, with over 500 men are actively participating in 14 Male Advocate Clubs. The results clearly demonstrate the power of community mobilization to change social norms and transform attitudes and beliefs about violence.

A male advocates club formed with UN Women’s support meets in Danang in 2018. Photo: UN Women/Thao Hoang
A male advocates club formed with UN Women’s support meets in Danang in 2018. Photo: UN Women/Thao Hoang

Partners for Prevention

The Partners for Prevention programme is aimed at primary prevention - stopping violence before it starts – especially among boys and men. It facilitates cross-border exchange and learning across the region and prioritizes change at the institutional and policy levels. Policymakers, UN staff, and civil society practitioners, all committed to gender equality and the elimination of violence against women, have come together to implement the programme. Read more