Sexual and reproductive health

The World Health Assembly endorses the global plan of action on violence against women and girls, and also against children

An adolescent girl holds her hands in her lap while speaking with a child protection officer, Guatemala
UNICEF/Sebastian

Member States of the WHO adopt the “Global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system within a national multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls and against children” at the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016.

With 1 in 3 women globally experiencing intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence by a non-partner, the global plan of action provides a strong mandate to address violence against women and girls as a global and urgent public health problem. The plan provides guidance for Ministries of Health to accelerate the implementation of the health sector’s contribution within multisectoral efforts to end violence against women and girls.

Global plan of action

BOOKLET

Infographic

This booklet includes a popular version of the violence against women and girls section of The global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system within a national multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children.


VIDEO

Strengthening the health system response to violence against women

VIDEO: Addressing violence against women: the health sector response

The global plan of action will contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 5 (Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls) and Goal 16 (Promote Peace, Justice and Inclusive Societies), as well as Goal 3 (ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages). It will also contribute to reaching the objectives of the new Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health.

The global plan of action was adopted with a resolution (EB 138.R3) that was co-sponsored by 44 Member States including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Georgia, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United States of America, Uruguay, Zambia, and the European Union.

The global plan recommends actions under four strategic directions:

  • strengthening health system leadership and governance
  • strengthening health service delivery and health workers'/providers' capacity to respond to violence, in particular against women and against children
  • strengthen programming to prevent interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children
  • improve information and evidence

The resolution, EB 138.R3:

  • encourages Member States to adapt the WHO Global Plan of Action in line with their international commitments already made, including those reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • urges Member States and partners to implement the proposed actions for the four strategic directions in the WHO Global Plan of Action; and
  • requests WHO Director-General to implement the proposed actions for the Secretariat and report to the 71st World Health Assembly and the 74th World Health Assembly on the progress achieved.

Implementing the global plan of action will require: increased political commitment from countries to challenge the acceptability of violence, in particular against women and girls and against children, integration of violence prevention and response in national health strategies, allocation of human and financial resources, and partnerships for multi-sectoral coordination and response. It will also require countries to ensure access to health services, including sexual and reproductive health services, build capacity of health providers, scale up evidence-based prevention programmes that challenge unequal gender norms, and improve data collection and strengthen research on violence against women and girls.

WHO will continue its work on violence against women and girls by supporting countries to generate evidence on the magnitude and consequences of the problem, conducting research on effective interventions, developing guidelines and tools for the health sector response, and collaborating with countries in developing and implementing national policies and protocols.