HC 934 Violence against Women and Girls

Written evidence submitted by the Department for International Development

Why addressing violence against women and girls is so important

1. The statistics on violence against women and girls are shocking. Globally, one in three women is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone she knows; and up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.

2. Violence against women and girls (VAWG) reduces progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and violates women and girls’ human rights. Girls who experience violence are less likely to complete their education. It reduces women’s ability to earn a living. And it significantly increases the risk of maternal death and vulnerability to HIV and AIDS.

3. During conflict and humanitarian crises, the incidence of physical and sexual violence can dramatically increase. Women and girls face increased risk from armed groups, from strangers, from neighbours, and from family. In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence have been documented since 1996.

4. Despite increasing attention to violence against women and girls in crisis situations, it is still rarely prioritised in humanitarian responses. For example, out of $1.4 billion funding requested for the emergency in Haiti in 2010, only $5 million – less than one percent - was earmarked for addressing violence against women and girls.

5. Violence against women and girls is the most widespread form of systemic abuse and there is no evidence that levels of violence against women and girls are decreasing.

Tackling violence against women and girls is a DFID and cross Government priority

6. Preventing violence against women and girls is a top priority for the Coalition Government and the DFID Ministerial team.

7. Access to justice is a key priority and DFID programmes will increase access to justice for 10 million women by 2015.

8. DFID is investing up to £25m over five years in a new Violence against Women and Girls Research and Innovation Fund. This pioneering Fund will drive innovation, generate ground-breaking new evidence, and support new prevention programmes.

9. The next Commission of the Status of Women (CSW 57) and the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) are both important examples of cross Government prioritisation of work to tackle violence against women (further detail on p3).

The Ministerial Champion for Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Overseas (International Champion)

10. Lynne Featherstone was appointed by the Prime Minister as Ministerial Champion for tackling violence against women and girls overseas in November 2010 alongside her role as Home Office and Equalities Minister. On moving to DFID in September 2012 and becoming DFID’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (PUSS), it was agreed that she would continue as International Champion. The purpose of the role is to represent the UK on tackling VAWG overseas and ensure related policy coherence and co-ordination across Whitehall Departments.

11. The International Champion’s objectives for 2013 are to:

· Champion and drive forward international progress towards eliminating violence against women and girls. 

· Coordinate activity and messaging on VAWG across HMG, ensuring Parliamentarians and Ministers make reference to VAWG in statements and speeches at home and abroad as appropriate.

12. As International Champion and DFID Minister, the PUSS leads and supports work across HMG’s international portfolio but will focus on the following priority areas for 2013:

· Prevention and building the global evidence base on what works to tackle violence against women and girls (e.g. through DFID’s upcoming Research and Innovation Fund of up to £25 million). 

· Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).

· Tackling all forms of violence against women and girls in humanitarian crisis and conflict situations.  Including ensuring that tackling VAWG is seen as a crucial first response to any humanitarian crisis and championing the importance of incorporating comprehensive services for survivors of sexual violence into all phases of humanitarian response. She will also oversee the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325 and support the Foreign Secretary’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI).

13. Governance arrangements: going forward DFID will chair a steering group meeting of officials from the Home Office, Government Equalities Office, Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence to support the International Champion and provide cross Government coordination.

Cross Government commitments

14. DFID’s work on VAWG is part of a cross Whitehall effort. DFID contributes to the delivery of the Home Office led ‘call to end violence against women and girls action plan’. This action plan provides an overview of the wide range of actions the Government is taking forward with key partners to deliver its strategy to tackle VAWG. The overarching strategic narrative was set out in Call to End Violence against Women and Girls on 25 November 2010. It makes a long-term commitment to work towards the prevention of VAWG and recognises that it is an international issue which occurs in all countries and crosses borders. DFID actions include: supporting UN Women in their work to deliver progress for women and girls worldwide; ensuring the UK humanitarian action prevents and responds to VAWG and working with partners to improve and communicate the evidence base on VAWG.

15. The UK has developed a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security (NAP). The NAP is jointly owned by the Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and DFID. It is intended to strengthen the UK’s ability to reduce the impact of conflict on women and girls and to promote their inclusion in conflict resolution.

16. The NAP includes national actions, multilateral actions and bilateral country action plans for three countries, Afghanistan, DRC and Nepal as well as a plan for the Middle East and North Africa Region. The most recent Annual Review published in October 2012 sets out how DFID contributes to the delivery of these actions. As an example, in Afghanistan, DFID provides grants to 15 women’s organisations taking forward a range of projects focusing on tackling violence against women, improving justice, conflict resolution and peace building.

International opportunities for change in 2013

17. 2013 offers several opportunities to make significant international progress to tackle violence against women and girls. The focus of the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March 2013 – the key global policy body for the advancement of women – is the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. The UK is working hard with other international partners and UK NGOs to ensure that CSW is a success. The UK goal for CSW is to agree a common set of global standards to protect women and girls from discrimination and violence. This is all the more critical in a climate where there is a risk of losing hard won gains in progress on women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.

18. 2013 is also the year when the UK takes the Presidency of the G8. The Foreign Secretary’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) is a concrete example of the commitment we are showing in this area. The objective of the Initiative is to increase the number of perpetrators brought to justice both internationally and nationally; strengthen international efforts and co-ordination; and support states to build their national capacity to prosecute acts of sexual violence committed during conflict.

19. The Foreign Secretary will convene the G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in April 2013 with the intention of securing a clear political statement from the G8 of its determination to make real, tangible progress on combating the use of sexual violence in conflict. In addition, the UK will seek a wider set of practical commitments to overcome the barriers that impede the implementation of the existing international legal framework and prevent successful investigations and prosecutions.

20. DFID is working closely with the FCO on the PSVI, in particular helping to shape the work in conflict affected countries. A DFID member of staff was seconded to the PSVI team last August. DFID will help to support and feed into a FCO-led side event at CSW57 in March, which will aim to raise the international profile of PSVI and encourage wider engagement on the issue of sexual violence in conflict.

21. Next summer, the Prime Minister, along with UN High Level Panel co-chairs President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and President Yudhoyono of Indonesia, will publish recommendations for a new international framework for development when the current MDGs expire in 2015. Issues of violence and security, and how they relate to women, are likely to be a key theme in discussions of the post 2015 framework. Women and girls must be at the heart of the post 2015 new MDG framework if the international community is to achieve its goal of ending extreme poverty.

22. The High Level Panel, and ultimately, the UN General Assembly will need to consider whether to mainstream gender throughout the post 2015 development goals and/ or develop a stand-alone gender goal. Wide consensus from like-minded governments, civil society (North and South), donor agencies and UN Women is that it is important to have both. While ending violence against women and girls is understood as a strategic priority for achieving gender equality and other MDGs, overall, it is often named as ‘missing target’ in the current MDG framework and is expected to feature centrally in the post 2015 discussions.

DFID’s organisational response to VAWG

23. The UK Government has put women and girls at the heart of its international development work. DFID’s Strategic Vision for Girls and Women sets out four priority areas for action:

· Delay first pregnancy and support safe child birth;

· Improve economic opportunities for girls and women;

· Get girls through primary and secondary school; and

· Prevent violence against women and girls.

24. The Strategic Vision also sets out the UK’s commitment more widely to improve the enabling environment for girls and women, for example to challenge social norms and behaviours which perpetuate violence and inequality, to support girls’ and women’s ability to speak out safely and to strengthen legal frameworks which protect women’s rights. These are all critical to both preventing, and responding to, violence against girls and women. See diagram on p5.

How is the Strategic Vision embedded in DFID?

25. The Senior Girls and Women Strategy Group (GWSG) is chaired at Director-General level and brings together a number of Directors. It maintains the strategic overview of DFID’s work to support girls and women. It promotes an integrated approach to taking forward work across the four pillars of the Strategic Vision and the enabling environment; consolidates and shares best practice and innovation; and unblocks challenges.

26. Senior Divisional Gender Champions are appointed in each Division. Senior Divisional Gender Champions are responsible for ensuring Divisional results are reported to Directors. They play a key role in facilitating formal and informal links between their Divisions (for example through divisional gender networks) and the Girls and Women Strategy Group to share innovation, best practice and results.

27. The Policy Division (PD) Gender Team oversees the implementation of the Strategic Vision in DFID and across the pillars and the enabling environment, facilitating cohesion across the strategy, chairing GWSG meetings and producing the annual progress report. It leads on sharing evidence, innovation and best practice on the enabling environment.

28. Girls and Women Pillar Leads are the technical experts in the four policy areas of the Strategic Vision pillars. Within their pillar area, they work closely with regional/country colleagues to: maintain a strategic overview of DFID’s work; establish DFID communities of practice; share evidence, innovation and best practice; provide technical / peer support for Business Case development; and develop new policy resources and evidence.

DFID’s commitment to delivering real change on the ground

29. Since the publication of the Strategic Vision in March 2011, DFID has increased its work in this area. In September 2011 the VAWG portfolio was moved from Policy Division to Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Group (CHASE) in order to locate the agenda closer to the policy/technical teams working on security and justice and women, peace and security. DFID developed, in collaboration with Action Aid and Womankind, a Violence against Women and Girls Theory of Change published last May. The theory of change gives DFID and HMG an overarching framework in which to map, evaluate, and inform the development of programme interventions across the contexts in which DFID works.

30. The Theory of Change on ending gender-based violence against women and girls consists of a diagram (see below) and accompanying narrative. Together they provide an overview of the interventions, outputs and outcomes that can reduce and ultimately eradicate violence against women and girls. The seven key principles underlying the Theory of Change are that:

· Context is critical;

· The state has primary responsibility for action on violence against women and girls;

· Holistic and multi-sectoral approaches are more likely to have impact;

· Social change makes the difference;

· Backlash is inevitable but manageable;

· Women’s rights organisations (WROs) create and sustain change; and

· Empowering women is both the means and the end.

Scaling up country programmes

31. As part of DFID’s efforts to scale up programming on violence against women and girls, we are now working in 20 countries to directly address violence against women and girls. (A full mapping of DFID’s VAWG programmes is available on request). See table at Annex B.

32. Work on preventing violence against women is also on-going within DFID regional programmes, which include Raising her Voice, Asia Regional Trafficking Programme, Making Every Voice Count for Gender Equality in Southern Africa, ASTI Tackling Acid Violence Programme and the UN Women Peace and Security Programme.

33. Across civil society funding streams, DFID is also funding VAWG work through mechanisms such as Programme Partnership Agreements (PPAs), the Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF) and through the Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF). Through PPAs, DFID currently funds a wide variety of work on VAWG with Plan UK, Womankind Worldwide, Oxfam, IPPF, Article 19, Gender Links and Action Aid.

34. In total, through bilateral and regional programmes and civil society funding, DFID is currently funding approximately 118 separate interventions on VAWG across 68 countries.

Country programmes:

35. In Nepal, through a £6.5 million over 4 years, DFID is working to improve access to justice for women and girls through local level paralegal committees. Paralegals are important members of the legal team, playing key roles in the legal process and actively helping to empower women through increasing awareness of their rights and entitlement. This has enabled over 18,000 cases to be heard in the past two years.

36. In Somalia, DFID is helping to ensure that Somali women and girls have better access to higher quality justice through providing free legal aid and advice. Through supporting the UNDP Access to Justice Project, last year more than 100 survivors of sexual violence were heard and resolved as a result of support through a sexual assault referral centre in Somaliland and Puntland. Further achievements included 79 scholarships for female law students that have led to the recruitment of the first five female prosecutors and the establishment of a dedicated unit for women and children by the Office of the Attorney General in Somaliland.

37. A new programme set up by DFID South Africa, in partnership with UNICEF, UNFPA and Save the Children Fund, is working to deliver an innovative new £4 million programme that seeks to build the country’s capacity on VAWG prevention. Preventing gender-based violence is a top priority for the UK in South Africa - where an estimated 42% of men have perpetrated violence against a partner. By working at three levels (national, province-wide, and community level), it aims to support government to address the root causes of GBV, and mobilise communities for prevention. DFID’s support in particular focuses on the scale-up of existing programmes on VAWG, including child-friendly schools and clubs, and the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders to tackle VAWG.

Acid violence programme:

38. DFID supports global efforts to tackle the issue of acid violence against women and girls, both through the international NGO Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) and previously, through its local partners, including direct funding at country level to the Acid Survivors Foundations in Bangladesh and Pakistan. DFID is currently considering a proposal from ASTI for an Asia regional programme to tackle acid and burns violence, which would run from 2013 to 2015.

39. Acid violence is a brutal form of VAWG that involves intentional acts of violence where perpetrators spray, pour or throw acid on victims’ faces and bodies. In some places (e.g. Nepal), these types of attacks involve thermal burns caused by kerosene instead. These attacks cause immediate disfigurement, long-lasting medical complications, pain, social ostracism and psychological damage for victims. An estimated 90% of global burn injuries occur in developing countries and, although data on the problem remains limited, acid attacks appear to be more common in South Asia where there is cheap and easy availability of acid. It is thought that 80% of acid attack victims are female and almost 70% are under 18 years of age.

40. Through their work and that of their local partners, ASTI aim to strengthen the support services available to survivors of acid and burns violence, including medical, legal, rehabilitation and reintegration services; build the capacity of survivors to influence and contribute to tackling acid and burns violence; improve emergency responses and prevent further attacks; and strengthen the evidence base to tackle and prevent acid and burns violence.

Trafficking programme

41. DFID’s regional programming in Asia focuses on reducing particular forms of violence against women, such as trafficking. Through a £3 million programme that will run over 4 years, DFID is working to prevent the incidence of trafficking among 60,000 women and adolescent girls who are garment and domestic work from Bangladesh, India and Nepal. The programme focuses on empowering women to reduce the risk of trafficking, and building political will and legal and institutional capacity building through cross-border collaboration.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) programme

42. DFID is developing a new major regional programme to address the issue of FGM/C, which will build on the increasing international momentum to end the practice. Our vision is to see an end to FGM/C in one generation. By demonstrating leadership on this issue, we are also aiming to galvanize others to show their commitment and put financial resources into ending the practice.

43. The new DFID programme (expected to be approved early in 2013) is likely to focus on high prevalence countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and North Africa, and support community-level social change programmes, policy engagement, social change communication, and research and evaluation. It is also likely to include measures to support diaspora-led efforts to end the practice. DFID is also developing a new programme in Sudan to support efforts to end the practice, again working at different levels to effect social change. At the same time, DFID offices in Somalia and Ethiopia are exploring what more they can do to support efforts to end the practice through their programming.

44. DFID has to date primarily supported measures to eliminate FGM/C through its core funding to the key UN agencies that address FGM/C, namely the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). We also provide support through our Partnership Programme Agreements to NGOs who are working on this issue, such as Plan UK and World Vision.

New programmes from CHASE for 2013:

i) New DFID investment to build the evidence base on what works to tackle and prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (up to £25 million over 2013-2018)

45. To mark 25 November International Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls, the Secretary of State announced, at an event in Parliament on 28 November 2012, that DFID would invest up to £25m over five years in a new Violence Against Women and Girls Research and Innovation Fund.

46. The Fund will consist of three distinct but inter-related components that address critical international evidence gaps;

a) Primary prevention of VAWG (in stable and fragile contexts);

b) VAWG in conflict and humanitarian emergencies; and

c) Economic and social costs of VAWG.

47. This pioneering Fund will drive innovation, build the global evidence base and support new programmes to tackle violence against women and girls. The funding will support operational research and impact evaluations, including programmes in conflict and humanitarian emergencies and innovation grants for new programmes that have potential to be taken to scale.

48. Through testing out new approaches and rigorous evaluation of existing programmes, we can better understand what works in tackling the root causes of VAWG in some of the poorest countries of the world.

49. Overall all, the Fund will deliver:

· High quality and policy relevant evidence on what works to prevent VAWG;

· Innovation programmes to prevent VAWG in developing countries – implemented and evaluated;

· Rigorous research and evidence on drivers, prevalence, protection and response for VAWG in conflict and humanitarian emergencies;

· Policy relevant research and evidence and methodological advances on the economic and social costs of VAWG in developing countries;

· Effective dissemination of findings and engagement with key stakeholders to promote use of evidence.

50. This will enable improved development of and investment in VAWG policies and programmes around the world (including by UK Government, development partners and national governments) contributing to a long-term reduction in the prevalence of VAWG and an increase in the number of women and girls receiving quality prevention and response services.

51. The Fund will improve the UK Government’s work on addressing VAWG in four ways: first, by improving the quality of DFID operations; second, by supporting the UK’s "Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls" strategy; third, meeting the UK’s commitments under its National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security); and fourth, implementing the UK’s Building Stability Overseas Strategy. The Fund will also support the Government’s ambition to increase international efforts to tackle VAWG through the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and the successor framework to the MDGs.

52. Subject to approval by DFID’s Quality Assurance Group (currently underway), the Fund will be tendered and DFID expect to have it established by summer 2013.

ii) Scaling up Support for Country Programmes on Violence against Women and Girls (up to £1.85 million over 2013-16)

53. This intervention will get underway in the first quarter of 2013 and is part of a broader effort to scale up DFID’s work on violence against women and girls in at least 15 countries, as well as provide access to justice for 10 million women by 2015. It complements the related Research and Innovation fund which seeks to establish effective approach to preventing violence against women and girls.

54. The planned outputs of the programme that UK support will deliver or contribute to are as follows:

· Call down contract for roster of experts to give 'hands on' help on violence against women and girls programming in-country available to and utilised by UK staff

· Helpdesk on violence against women and girls programming for UK staff established and operational in UK

· 12 guidance notes (4 planned per year) on best practice in violence against women and girls programming produced and disseminated

· Violence against women and girls Community of Practice to improve information sharing and best practice across HMG on VAWG issues

· Dedicated resource for evaluation of DFID’s violence against women and girls programming to capture impact and learn lessons on ‘what works’ in preventing violence against women and girls. This contributes to DFID’s commitment to ensure the effectiveness of our funding and interventions.

Measuring the effectiveness of DFID funding for VAWG

55. DFID has made firm policy commitments to build its programmes on solid evidence so that investments can be most effective in reducing rates of violence against women and girls.

56. DFID’s Violence against Women and Girls Theory of Change indicates that holistic approaches to violence against women and girls that cover the four interventions: empower women and girls, change social norms build political will and legal and institutional capacity to prevent and respond and provide comprehensive services.

57. By mapping existing interventions in a given community DFID country offices can look to fill critical gaps, complement what is already happening, and increase the impact of its interventions.

58. DFID’s VAWG programmes have in-built evaluation components to ensure the effectiveness of our funding and interventions. As noted above, we are in the process of setting up a dedicated resource to strengthen our expertise and methodology for evaluating VAWG programmes. This will also feed in to a DFID’s broader work to evaluate the Strategic Vision for Girls and Women, and build on findings from the new VAWG Research and Innovation Fund, also noted above.

59. DFID will employ a strong policy and international engagement strategy to ensure dissemination and take up of our findings. Programmes will prioritise the communication of findings and innovation results to policy makers and practitioners at local, national and international levels.

The extent to which DFID’s humanitarian responses address VAWG

60. The UK government’s humanitarian policy makes a commitment to preventing and responding to VAWG in emergencies. DFID is working with NGOs and UN partners to improve the provision of comprehensive services for survivors of sexual violence in all stages of humanitarian response, including the onset of emergencies. In line with international standards, our partners are expected to mainstream protection for women and girls into their programming, and we have incorporated this into our humanitarian funding guidelines.

61. Recent examples of DFID humanitarian interventions that have a specific focus on support for survivors of sexual violence include the response to population displacement caused by conflict in the DRC and Syria, and to Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines.

62. We are building evidence on what works in humanitarian contexts through the research and innovation fund, and through innovative pilots with the Girl Hub. We will also consult with UN and NGO partners in 2013 to see how we can work together on this important issue.

63. We are currently carrying out a desk study into the use of the IASC Gender Marker, and assessing its relevance for measuring the mainstreaming of gender (including VAWG) into humanitarian response.

Girl Hub (DFID partnership with the Nike Foundation)

64. We are currently undertaking a scoping study for a pilot with the Girl Hub and five DFID offices in countries affected by humanitarian emergencies and on-going conflict. This programme will pilot a range of activities that seek to build girls’ ‘protective assets’, so that they are less vulnerable to violence in times of emergency. The lead official is Lucy Earle in the Humanitarian Disaster and Resilience Policy Team in CHASE.


UN Women

65. DFID engage with multilateral partners in preventing VAWG, with the most notable intervention being through the UN Women Women, Peace and Security Programme.

66. UN Women - The UK’s core contribution is currently £10 million per annum, which in 2012 meant the UK was the single largest core contributor. UK funding from 2013 will depend on the Multilateral Aid Review update.

67. DFID also funds the UN W omen Peace and Security Programme, contributing GBP 3,250,000 The purpose of this programme is to ensure that women are able to contribute to and benefit from security measures, and peace-building and peace-making processes at the community, national, regional and global levels. The programme runs from 15 March 2010 to 15 March 2013. Thus far, DFID has provided GBP 2,135,000, which has been divided between UN Women projects in Haiti, Liberia, Timor-Leste and Uganda, as well as providing critical support to activities at the global level.

68. The programme is a strategic response to the opportunities presented by the body of Security Council Resolutions (SCR) on Women, Peace and  Security, namely 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010).  In the lead up to the tenth anniversary of 1325, it was widely acknowledged that implementation of the resolutions was inadequate in many respects. The programme targets actions and results in three areas: women’s engagement in decision-making on peace-building, reform of the security sector to take account of women’s role and needs, and accountability for SCR 1325/1820.

Other multilaterals

69. DFID provides core funding to multilateral agencies whose work includes components that target violence against women and girls. In some cases this is implicit, as in the case of the International Federation of the Red Cross, which has recently increased its emphasis on preventing and addressing gender-based violence. Other agreements are explicit in their targeting of this issue. For example, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has committed to comprehensive gender-based violence programmes in 24 situations by 2014.

January 2013

Prepared 11th February 2013