16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

on Sunday, 20 May 2012. Posted in ACLW Supporting External Campaigns

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.  Over 3,400 organizations in approximately 164 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign since 1991!

Domestic violence and sexual assault continue to be the most common form of violence experienced by women.

The ABS Personal Safety Survey (2006) showed that:

  • In any year, nearly half a million Australian women experience physical or sexual violence.
  • One in three Australian women have experienced physical violence, but only one in five report the violence.
  • One in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence.
  • About 90 per cent of women who are sexually assaulted do not access crisis support, legal help or services. (For detailed Statistics see: OFW Fact Sheet)

CLW's involvement in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

In 2010 as part of CLW's involvement in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, CLW focused attention on the Gillard Government's plan to target violence against women and their children in Australia and below is documented the information that was published.

If you or your organisation would like to contribute a comment in the lead up to the final National Plan being released, please email me your comment which will be published with your name and/or organisational details. If you wish to remain anonymous please let me know in the email. Comments will be accepted until 10 Dec 10.  As Minister Ellis will be involved with finalising the National Plan to reduce Violence against Women and their Children, I will ensure that her Office is informed of newly posted commentaries in the hope that the fianl Plan can be strengthened from this conversation.  Unifem  Australia will also be using some of the published comments to inform part of their discussions around how the CEDAW process can be used to place attention on action for these issues.

Below is a brief chronology of where we are at in relation to the Gillard government's efforts with links to the key documents.


Chronology of National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children

9 August 2010:

Draft National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children released. This is a 12 year strategy to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault, deliver greater justice for victims, and improve support services.   

For more info see Draft National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children view the proposed National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 

April 2009: 

The Federal Government released its response, Immediate Government Actions, supporting the direction and focus of Time for Action. The Government announced that it would invest $42 million immediately to address urgent recommendations. These included the establishment of a new national domestic violence and sexual assault telephone and online crisis service, the implementation of respectful relationships programs in schools and other youth settings, and the development of a social marketing campaign targeted at young people and parents.

The Federal Government also announced that it would refer Time for Action to COAG as many of the recommendations required cooperation between all levels of government. Both Time for Action and the Government’s response, Immediate Government Actions, laid the groundwork for the National Plan.

The Commonwealth has since worked closely with State and Territory Governments to develop a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. 

May 2008:

The Federal Government set up the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children in May 2008 to advise on measures to reduce the incidence and impact of violence against women and their children. The National Council was asked to develop an evidence-based plan for reducing violence, based on community consultation, assessing existing Australian and international research, investigating the effectiveness of legal systems, and commissioning research on the economic costs of violence.

The 11-member council, led by Ms Libby Lloyd AM (Chair) and Ms Heather Nancarrow (Deputy Chair), consulted with more than 2,000 Australians in every State and Territory, conducted roundtable expert discussions, interviewed victims and perpetrators of violence, and reviewed more than 350 written submissions.

The Council presented its recommendations to government in Time for Action: The National Council’s plan for Australia to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, 2009-2002 and four companion documents. The Time for Action report proposed that all governments, through COAG, should agree to a long term plan to reduce violence, with the Federal Government taking a leadership role. Time for Action identified six outcome areas and strategies for all parties to deliver.

(Background info sourced from the proposed National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children)

Seeking Comments:

On 16 August 10, Amnesty International released the following statement about the proposed National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. Additional comments and questions were raised by individuals and organisations through CLW's virtual meeting with Minister Ellis and Senator Cash.  If you or your organisation would like to contribute a comment in the lead up to the final National Plan being released, please email me your comment which will be published with your name and/or organisational details. Comments will be accepted until 10 Dec 10. 

As you will note, the comments below reflect frustrations about the situation and the inadequacies of current attempts to address violence against women and children.  Please join in this activism to contribute your concerns and ideas for policy makers to take into consideration before the National Plan to reduce Violence against Women and their Children is finalised.  Thank you.

 

Published Comments to CLW: 

Incoming government must act to end violence against women - Amnesty International 

The release of the proposed National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children (2010 to 2022) is a positive move for all Australians. However, the most important step has yet to be taken – the incoming Federal Government must ensure that the plan is immediately delivered, with the cooperation of all State and Territory Governments.

“While the plan, as it stands, is a promising blueprint to address some forms of violence against women, it’s disappointing that the plan didn’t make it through the Council of Australian Governments’ process, ready to be implemented, in the first term of the current government,” said Hannah Harborow, Amnesty International Australia campaign coordinator.

Gender-based violence is endemic in Australia, where at least 40 per cent of women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes (1). Violence against women currently costs Australia around $13.6 billion per year, and this figure is expected to rise to $15.6 billion by 2021 if the issue isn’t adequately addressed (2).

The proposed plan addresses domestic violence and sexual assault, but Amnesty International has called for a plan that addresses all forms of violence against women. This would include sexual harassment; trafficking; forced prostitution; and traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation, that are harmful to women and girls.

The proposed plan covers the three key areas necessary to comprehensively address domestic violence and sexual assault: the prevention of violence; the provision of services for women fleeing violence; and the prosecution of offenders, with standardised justice system responses toward gender-based violence.

Amnesty International welcomes the proposal to involve all governments, at all levels and across a range of portfolios, as well as the women’s sector and the wider community. The plan takes a holistic approach and works on improving collaboration between all services that assist women who have experienced violence.

It is also positive that the plan includes targets; indicators of change to show progress; regular periods of review and evaluation; and is supported by a pledge of additional funding.

“The incoming Federal Government must adopt a National Plan that goes beyond the piecemeal approach we have seen in the past, and must implement a long-term strategy to address the root causes of violence against women,” said Hannah Harborow.

(1) Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) ABS's Personal Safety Survey

(2) KPMG (2009) The Cost of Violence against Women and their Children, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

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Anonymous (Posted 2/11/10)

I am an Aboriginal women and my thoughts and experience about domestic and family violence may strike a nerve with some of our people but if the government is serious about looking at protecting children from the abuse of witnessing and also being physically, emotionally and sexually abused than it is time for us to talk about the lack of responsibility, the silence, the continued acceptance of letting perpetrators live in communities and continue abusing women and children. Not to mention sending perpetrators into low security detention centres who get day and weekend home time. The non offending partner/parent needs to make a choice - do they chose to protect the child and make the offender accountable or do they choose to remain with the partner because this is what their parents, grandparents, aunts and sisters have done.

The government did an extensive investigation into the sexual abuse and violence in Aboriginal communities in NSW, spent god knows how much money, published a fancy report and did nothing. What is violence against women and children marches achieving? Why not put a refuge on every street corner, keep splashing tax payers money on protecting victims - that clearly don't work. All government players, and survivors need to come together to talk about the TRUTH.

What is happening in some communities will continue until the truth is told, the justice system really works with perpetrators, strong community capacity building and support is given so that some women who are protecting these perpetrators (and yes there are women who are perpetrators as well) are made to take responsibility for their actions.

PLEASE tell Julia if she values the future Australians of this Nation than she needs to have some really serious discussions with her ministers and law makers, government agencies who work with victims and it is not just one generation it is 3 and 4 generations of violence and abuse that victims have experienced. Sure Aboriginal people have had a very sad experience from past government policies and interventions but when are we going to say hey we can't change what happened but for the sake of our children we must take responsibility and protect future generations from these crimes. 

When will a magistrate take a stand and say, you (perpetrator) will take responsibility for your crime, you will undertake a very intensive perpetrator program to address your violence along with a strong respected council of Aboriginal Elders who will enforce an agreed Aboriginal Lore that will pass a sentence eg, the perpetrator must leave the community for a selected period and will only return if they are willing to come before the Elders council and can demonstrate they have the right to return. 

Victims compensation must involve provision for intensive counselling/therapy for the victims and the non offending partners. 

These are just some of my thoughts on this very serious and urgent needs of victims.  

The following discussion ensued after my questions to this person:

I am wondering if you have had a look at the National Plan and if you can give me your opinion of the pages 4-6 which is specifically aimed at indigenous communities.

I did read the National Plan and it is impressive, however the one thing that stood out for me was under the Principles that guide the National Plan - "Sustainable change must be built on community participation by men and women taking responsibility for the problems and solutions" I agree totally with this, the question is HOW? There is so much data, research, information on the WHY, HOW MUCH VIOLENCE, and the cost to the victims, to the family, community, the nation and human kind. Governments know they must change current laws (English) that were bought out with the "first boat people" who practise violence by allowing men to beat women with a rod no bigger than his thumb. If he could pass the rod through his wedding ring than he had the right to beat her and this as you know was were the term 'rule of thumb' comes from.  

I am sick of the past- the policies of white Australia, in fact any policy that has iliation on the end of it, we are now up to reconciliation. I am sick of the past- Aboriginal people not taking responsibility for a child being physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and sexually abused in 2010. NOTHING will change the past so get on with it and have the guts to take a stand against your men and young offenders who are serial child molesters and you all know about it and keep silent. Silence is just as bad as the people who perpetrate violence against their partners and children. When you remain silent the perpetrators who abuse the boys are sowing the seeds for these young victims to be the future perpetrators. 

Who can take responsibility? Have we got any Elders who will stand up and be willing to work with Government and Law Makers to bring White mans law and Aboriginal Lore together to debate in Parliament what will be the consequence for committing the crime of violence against women and children. Look what happens in other countries if they break the drug laws. A man will do more time in this country for stealing a car than sexually assaulting a child or bashing a women.  

I am sick of seeing women and young girls with permanent physical scars and mental health problems from violence. I am sick of seeing the eyes of children who you know they have been abused. I am sick of some old people who take on the Honour of being called an Elder when they are known perpetrators.  

The Government has made a very big commitment and I read that Kevin Rudd had made a commitment with Hillary Clinton today that violence against women and children will also be an international response. 

I continue to have hope that this crime against humanity will be addressed. The biggest challenge is to acknowledge that violence must stop, we have victims who will suffer for the rest of their lives, who have never seen a war zone but suffer as if they have lived in war since the day they were born and sadly some will experience violence till the day they die or are murdered or end up mentally and physically sick from covering the pain with drugs and alcohol as some are in this country. We have young people who glorify violence on Facebook and upload violent events from mobile phones on Ytube. Violence with our young people has become a culture of acceptance even a source of entertainment. Give our youth hope for a better life, make Education and Training mandatory and delivery education to Aboriginal young people in culturally appropriate ways.  Violence is being accepted and passed  on to the next generation.  

We will always need Police, Child Protection Agencies as violence will never be totally eliminated from society but this Government has to make this the number one priority.  Or they will be trying to find money to build more hospitals, more mental health services, more juvenile detention centres, more drug and alcohol rehabs, more homeless shelters and have more shame for such a pandemic on their hands.

Government needs to find a way to engage with community members who will take responsibility for the problem and help their people to find solutions.

LISTEN PLEASE to the front-line workers who work and live in communities. What do the policy makers and the ministers really know about what is happening in these war zones?   

Barriers to taking responsibility for and breaking the silence on domestic and Family Violence are: 

·         A culture of acceptance, it happened to my mother, my aunties, my cousins, my friends so violence is my lot in life.

·         No one believes the women anyway, as they usually are seen to be at fault.

·         Some women fear if they tell family or relatives of the perpetrators actions that they will get blamed for causing the person to use violence. For example if a perpetrator forces sexual advances on a women or young girl and she tells that perpetrators partner or family, she will be blamed for his actions. Therefore women and young girls will remain silent and the perpetrator has access to them when ever he wants. He will also use this silence to his advantage to obtain sexual access to the women’s children (male and female) and to any of the women’s extended family.

·         Perpetrators also gain sexual and physical force into the lives of very vulnerable families. For example women and children who are not in a permanent relationship, maybe the partner/father is in jail, maybe the mother is young, maybe the home is a party house where other young people meet and use alcohol and drugs. Maybe the woman is not in a relationship at all and she is an alcoholic, a perpetrator will look for women in these situations.

·         There are also well known serial sexual assault offenders, and paedophiles that use all types of ways to gain access to women and children. They can have stashes of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and food that women can obtain for sexual trade offs and in some cases for sexual access to their children. These women are usually childhood victims of sexual abuse (even the same perpetrator who is now after her children) and she has never had the opportunity to receive counselling for her childhood trauma so she pours alcohol and drugs on her pain and the cycle of abuse continues.

·         Violence both physical and sexual can be fuelled by access to alcohol. Drugs and pornography. Even young male perpetrators of sexual assault will seek out vulnerable young boys whose parents are drinking or not even at home, they are at the pub gambling.

·         There is NOTHING to do on these communities for young people, let alone other community members who have been welfare dependent all of their adult lives.

·         At least when CDEP was happening the men had a purpose, they took pride in their community and there seemed to be less property damage.

·         There has been years of government intervention with a lot of Aboriginal communities with no real reduction in children at risk. In fact some areas of NSW have the highest rates of children in Out of Home care Placements now than there ever was during the ‘Stolen generations’.

·         Young people have no real positive role models as they witness violence against women and men in their communities almost weekly. Young girls can often engage in very violent physical assaults with each other which is almost always captured on a mobile phone and uploaded to face book. Young men will also engage in similar violent activities.

·         There seems to be very few Elders who have the power to challenge violence against women and children and to address other crime that young people are participating in.  

What can we do about violence against women and children? 

Community need to identify what their problems are

What they see as the barriers to addressing violence.

Who is able to take responsibility and take leadership on this serious matter?

What role will young people play?

What role will Aboriginal Christian Ministers play?

Who will challenge the current laws on sentencing violent offenders?

Who in Aboriginal Communities will stand up and take responsibility for the safety, protection and wellbeing of victims of violence and elect the RIGHT people to talk to law makers about a partnership with White law and Aboriginal Lore to take the right action with offenders. (Being mindful always that just because there are Elders in these communities it does not always mean they have earned the right to be respected).

Who on these communities will say no to alcohol and drugs coming into the communities?

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Anonymous (posted 8/11/10) 

Albury Wodonga Community Network Inc (AWCNI) auspices Betty’s Place domestic violence service in Albury Wodonga - Vivien Voss CEO AWCNI

We have between 225 – 240 women per year (2009/10 = 231)  and approximately 300 children per year as clients.  With a grant of $553,000 this gave us $2394.00 to spend on each women.  If you count the children that is $1041.00 per person that Betty’s Place has to case manage each person. 

Last year BP fulfilled over 315% of its service specifications (contracted numbers of clients).   

We are contracted for approximately 70 women per year – What do we do with the rest? 

As women we work our butts off and do the job, driving ourselves into the ground and probably don’t giving   the client the best service possible.   

We house them,  get them to doctors, lawyers, housing authorities, childcare, health care, mental health, social security, banking,  and the list goes on and on and on. 

We fund brokerage for the women to attend activity groups, and the children’s activity groups.

We run a group called WISE (women independently seeking empowerment) as these women have often spent a lifetime of being abused, verbally, physically, culturally, spiritually, financially,  etc. 

It can take use 2 years to get them up to scratch from the broken wreck most families are in.  Many don’t have their own bank account,  that is not fun to set up these days,  most don’t have a mobile phone,  more often than not all of their papers like birth certificates,  social security documents, medicare,  etc.  have been retained by the perpetrator. 

What do we want from you?       

1.      We are damned sick of the talk, talk, talk,  planning, planning, planning – it goes no where near the clients – so stop it and give the services that are currently on the ground appropriate funding!

2.      We are  sick of the above bureaucratic planners telling us what is best for the clients – most of us have been victims; we feel it, know it; understand it- cut layers of bureaucrats and give us their pay

3.      Our clients constantly get screwed in the courts because we cannot get them proper legal advice,  have you ever tried to get a decent lawyer through legal aid,  the bad guys have all the good lawyers,  they can pay them heaps – fund domestic violence services brokerage to employ a decent lawyer. 

4.      Stop the media  rubbish that our services are poorly run,  not performing,  don’t do the job properly,  have no clients, are expensive or whatever else you can think up – its not true and helps no one – send a bureaucrat or politician to spend a week with us.  We do an amazing job, are professional,  caring and fight hard for clients right.  We are bloody brilliant!!!

5.      Homes – a large proportion of homelessness is caused by lack of housing,  the rest is caused by people who are damaged or don’t have the skills to live in a home/house/unit – no matter what you do they never will be able to look after themselves unassisted – get over it and supply services that can,  with a minimum support,  keep these people housed for life. AND BUILD NEW HOMES – HOUSING HAS BEEN STRIPPED BARE FOR 30 years. 

6.      Pull the police into line – the force has many  perpetrators who are officer and who give women such a hard time,  when she fights back guess who gets charged,  every blooming time – make the states set up specialist DV units in all major centres across the country.  One DV police officer per 150,000 people is a joke without laughter!

Anyway, we have had our say, where will it get us -  nowhere.  I just cleaned out my office last month and took a trailer load of reports going back to 1975 to the tip.  What has changed – absolutely nothing.

But I guess the current system keeps researchers and policy makers employed. 

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Robyn Main

My comment is that until all people of all genders, ages and backgrounds have a revelation that we are all valuable, precious and worthy of love, acceptance and forgiveness, there will continue to be violence against not just women and children, but anyone who sick individuals may deem as “weak”.

But how is this to happen?

If you use fear tactics, it will not work. It will drive it underground or behind closed doors. 

The only way I rose above my victim status – feeling I was a worthless individual, was by the revelation of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, He gave his only son, so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. 

Now, there’s a man who loved. We need more of those! 

As a mother of teenage sons, I am thankful my sons have:

The role model of a wonderful father;

A happy and united family life;

The love of a mother;

Good teachers at their High School that reinforce the home life tenement that we are all precious and valuable as individuals.  

I know we don’t live in an ideal world, but at least in our little family, we are trying to exhibit love, acceptance and forgiveness over rejection, addiction, envy, unforgiveness, shame, guilt, self-pity and the value of looking after the human body, soul and spirit. We don’t always succeed-once a month I usually blow my stack about something!

And when I do, I ask their forgiveness, they give it and we move on to better times. 

We must be careful with the outcome of abuse when it turns into the fruit of self-pity.

The meditation and cry of “People don’t know what I’ve been through” can turn into an unforgiving spirit that festers into self-pity.

This cycle is almost as wretched as the violence that brought on the suffering in the first place. It’s definitely a no-win game. 

My prayer for those abused by their captors ( in the Latin sense of the word –a person who holds another captive) is that they can break free and be delivered by the power of Jesus Christ who has overcome the grave, sin, and gives new life by the power of the Holy Spirit, that there will be a way out and they will be protected and brought into a place of healing, restoration, forgiveness and wholeness. 

As a society, we should make provision for these people with confidential homes that are accessible in the community or sometimes, remove the person and family if required, from the community if they request it.

Counselling, employment and accommodation can all contribute to helping the mental and physical needs for a new life, but the churches of Australia should be there to support these people for their spiritual needs. These confidential homes should be located near thriving churches that can support the inhabitants in prayer and spiritual strength. Don’t ignore the power of prayer. It can transform a person, a community and a nation. 

I know my opinion is not de rigeur in this post-modern world we live. You may even laugh at it.  But I have seen women and children rescued and find new life by this pathway in my life time.  Don’t let your cynicism blind you to what good there is in the church community of Australia.

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Long-term needs of sexual violence survivors - Australian Women’s Coalition (AWC)

The Australian Government’s sexual violence policies and initiatives focus on the immediate aftermath of disclosure, with dedicated rape crisis centres and phone counselling.  While additional first-response services are always welcome, the assumptions under-pinning the Government’s approach are based on a short-term vision that does not take into account the needs of the significant number of women who do not disclose, or disclose at a much later date.

With most survivors not disclosing sexual violence for at least ten years, existing Government policies and initiatives do not address the health and social issues which may be ongoing and exacerbated by life events years later.  With this gap in mind, the Australian Women’s Coalition advocates for a comprehensive model for responding to the needs of sexual assault survivors over the longer term.  The new model is based on clinical and research evidence that sexual violence manifests in physical, psychological and social harm that has implications well beyond the initial trauma stages at which services are presently targeted.  Legal reform aimed at changing cultural attitudes and reducing retraumatisation is also proposed.

The Australian Women’s Coalition (AWC) Inc is a national collective of 18 women’s organisations working collaboratively to advance the status of women.  Details of the AWC’s model for the long-term care of survivors can be found on the AWC website www.awcaus.org.au

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Public Health Association of Australia's submission on the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2010-2022). 

16 Days: Sex Discrimination Commissioner reiterates call for National Plan (Release 28 Nov 10)

As we enter the 16 Days Campaign tomorrow, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick has reiterated her call to the Australian Government to further their leadership in addressing violence against women in Australia by releasing the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

“The Government has made significant contributions to address violence against women, but we are still waiting for the release of the National Plan” said Commissioner Broderick.

In its twentieth year, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign that is held every year from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November, to International Human Rights Day, 10 December.

“Many women in Australia experience violence as an everyday reality and the statistics are shocking,” said Commissioner Broderick. “The most recent national data shows that one in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, nearly one in five women has experienced sexual assault since the age of 15 and almost every week, one woman is killed by her current or former partner.”

The 16 Days Campaign draws attention at a local, national and global level to the different forms of violence that women face. It also highlights violence against women as a human rights violation, symbolised by the International Days on which the campaign begins and ends.

“This period is an opportunity for Australians to stand up against violence against women in all its forms, whether it be rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence or other acts,” said Commissioner Broderick. “As members of the communities we live in - men and women, boys and girls – we must all think about what we can do to stop this violence which is occurring in our homes, our families, our workplaces and our educational institutions.”

Commissioner Broderick said the government still had a powerful and important role to play.

“As I did in my Gender Equality Blueprint, I again call for the government to show its leadership in this area and take action by releasing, implementing and adequately funding the National Plan,” the Commissioner said. “I also call for a suitable independent body to be charged with monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the National Plan.”

Commissioner Broderick also said services that respond to the needs of women and girls who have experienced violence should be adequately funded as an urgent priority.

She also repeated her call upon the Australian Government to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women to visit Australia to contribute to independent monitoring of the nation’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to gender-based violence.

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To End Violence against Women, We Must All Join Together (24 Nov 10, UN Women)

Message from Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

 

We join with the millions of women and men, community groups, women’s rights networks, government partners, parliamentarians, health workers and teachers who have made 25 November — the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women — a day to come together and renew our common commitment to ending the global pandemic of violence against women.

Worldwide, women and girls continue to suffer violence inside and outside of their homes, often at the hands of intimate partners or persons of trust. Gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence, has also become a troubling and persistent feature in situations of armed conflict. Stopping violations of women’s human rights is a moral imperative and one which we must come together to combat. The impact of such a scourge on society — psychological, physical, and economic — cannot be overstated. Addressing this persistent violation can also reverse the economic impact of significantly lower productivity and higher health care costs — funds drained away on a preventable problem.

The Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women has given new impetus to efforts to end violence against women. More than 130 countries now have laws against domestic violence, but more needs to be done to enforce them and counter impunity. More men and men’s organizations are joining in the campaign to end violence against women and girls, but we need to combat attitudes and behaviours that permit or even encourage this violence. We need services so that the millions of women and girls who survive abuse every year can recover and secure justice. We must hold perpetrators to account. We must intensify prevention efforts, so that someday we will no longer need to meet on 25 November and call for ending violence against women.

Joining in the efforts to stop violence is everybody’s responsibility. Governments, private enterprises, civil society groups, communities and individual citizens can all make essential contributions. Men and boys must be active in encouraging respect for women and zero tolerance for violence. Cultural and religious leaders can send clear messages about the value of a world free of violence against women.

As we come together to end violence, a core part of our responsibility must be providing enough resources. So far, this investment has been inadequate. Last year, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women met only 3 percent of the requests it received for programmes vital to progress. The fund has a US$100 million annual funding goal that we can all strive to reach. These funds will go to governments, civil society groups and UN agencies at the forefront of advocacy and innovation to end violence against women and girls.

Step by step, we can work together towards the day when all women live free from violence and realize their full potential as powerful agents for thriving, peaceful societies.