New global estimates of the prevalence of violence against women

18 July 2013
Alexandra Hyde

A major report launched by the Gender Violence and Health Centre at LSHTM highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’.

The report was launched in June at an event at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. The report shows that violence against women (VAW) is a public health problem that affects approximately one third of all women globally.

Conducted by a group including STRIVE researchers at the Gender Violence and Health Centre, along with the WHO and the South African Medical Research Council, the study is the first of its kind to estimate the global prevalence of violence against women.

The launch event was opened by Baroness Scotland and included a panel of presentations giving an outline of key findings from the report. Researcher Karen Devries presented the background to the study and explained the process of reviewing data from over 140 studies in 80 countries. 

In her presentation, Charlotte Watts explained the impact of violence against women on public health:

Violence greatly increases women’s vulnerability to a range of short and long-term health problems. We urgently need to invest in prevention to address the underlying causes of this epidemic

Lori Heise looked to some examples from STRIVE to illustrate how the public health response to violence against women might be strengthened. For example, STRIVE’s film about SASA! demonstrates an effective approach to tackling VAW through community mobilization in Uganda.

Finally, Camille Kumar from Imkaan related global findings to the British context with respect to black and minority ethnic (BME) women.

  • Download the report, presentations from the event and a range of related resources from STRIVE
  • View STRIVE’s photo gallery of the event
  • Read more about the study from WHO or read about the findings in The Guardian, BBC NewsCNN and NPR.