Zero tolerance: stop the violence against women and children, stop HIV/AIDS

Zero tolerance: stop the violence against women and children, stop HIV/AIDS

What is needed to break the link between HIV/AIDS and violence?

This document describes a framework for a comprehensive response to violence against women and children, including the resources that would be needed, political and financial, for full implementation. It discusses the various arenas and circumstances in which women and children are vulnerable to violence and to infection with HIV, using direct quotes and case studies of women and children’s experiences. It then discusses effective strategies and programmes that are needed to address violence in each situation, illustrating with the following case studies:

  • an holistic response to intimate partner violence in South Africa
  • successful legal reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • innovative training on HIV/AIDS, sexual violence and the law in Rwanda
  • South Africa’s Thuthuzela care centres
  • engaging men and boys in Egypt to change gender norms
  • participatory video brings violence out of the shadows among Liberian refugees
  • raising awareness of Nicaraguan youth through creative media.

The report also identifies six overarching areas where action is needed:

  • political commitment at the country, international and civil society levels. This requires further resources for programmes to address violence, a commitment to meeting existing targets, and could possibly include the formation of a specialised task force on violence against women and children
  • legal and judicial reform to criminalise all forms of violence against women and children, and legally mandate violence recognition, prevention and response training for judicial professionals
  • comprehensive reform of the health sector ensure that violence against women and children is an essential element of universal access to care
  • countries should establish gender and violence trainings throughout the education sector for professional certification, incorporate violence into all national education strategies, and establish schools at all levels as places of safety
  • local leaders and change agents should be mobilised by a decentralised network of community task forces, established by a national strategy, to identify, respond to, and speak out against violence against women and children in their communities
  • national strategies should include plans to conduct widespread, comprehensive mass marketing campaigns aimed at eradicating tolerance of violence and modifying harmful gender norms.
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