Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response

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A girl site on a hallway bench
Morgana Wingard, USAID

Gender-based Violence (GBV) is an umbrella term for any harmful threat or act directed at an individual or group based on actual or perceived biological sex, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, and/or lack of adherence to varying socially constructed norms around masculinity and femininity. It is rooted in structural gender inequalities, patriarchy, and power imbalances. GBV is typically characterized by the use or threat of physical, psychological, sexual, economic, legal, political, social and other forms of control and/or abuse. GBV impacts individuals across the life course and has direct and indirect costs to families, communities, economies, global public health, and development.

USAID’s GBV work builds on the US Strategy to Prevent and Respond to GBV Globally[PDF, 1.6MB], which was released in 2012 and updated in 2016.

USAID is committed to preventing and responding to GBV around the world. Regardless of the form that GBV takes, it is a human rights abuse, a public health challenge, and a barrier to civic, social, political, and economic participation and development. GBV is associated with many negative consequences, including adverse physical and mental health outcomes, limited access to education and poorer learning outcomes, increased costs relating to medical and legal services, lost household productivity, and reduced income. GBV undermines not only the safety, dignity, overall health status, and human rights of the millions of individuals who experience it, but also the public health, economic stability, and security of nations.

USAID has been working on GBV programming for several decades in development and humanitarian contexts. With a keen focus on prevention, USAID has invested in programs that address the root causes of GBV in families, interpersonal relationships, and in a variety of public and private settings, like schools, public transportation, and businesses.

USAID provides thought leadership and technical support for GBV prevention and response activities around the world. These include integrated and stand-alone GBV programming, as this key issue cuts across a variety of different sectors. Additionally, the USAID GBV team liaises with multilateral organizations to coordinate global efforts to eradicate GBV.

Last updated: September 07, 2021

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