About Violence against Women and Girls

“Violence against women continues to persist as one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world. It is a threat to all women, and an obstacle to all our efforts for development, peace, and gender equality in all societies. Violence against women is always a violation of human rights; it is always 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

cartoon by Jacky Fleming

What is violence against women?

According to the UN, violence against women is “Violence that is directed at a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately”.

Each year across the UK up to 3 million women experience violence, and there are many more living with the legacies of abuse experienced in the past.

In the UK it includes: domestic violence, rape and sexual violence, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, crimes in the name of honour, trafficking and sexual exploitation. It is mostly committed by men that women know or are in a close relationship with.

What’s the cost of violence against women?

Violence causes physical damage ranging from death in extreme cases to miscarriages, broken limbs, and cuts and bruises. Women also suffer scarring and physical disability and sexual offences bring the risk of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and forced pregnancies.

Violence can also cause lasting psychological damage.

  • It is estimated that violence against women costs society £40 billion each year (New Philanthropy Capital).
  • The direct cost to the economy of domestic violence alone in England & Wales in one year is £6 billion.
  • In addition, the human & emotional cost is estimated at £17 billion (Walby, The Cost of Domestic Violence, 2004).
  • The cost of sexual offences in a year is estimated to be £8.46 billion pounds, with each rape costing an estimated £76,000 pounds.

(Source: End Violence Against Women)

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