What is Gender-based Violence?

The term gender-based violence is used to distinguish common violence from violence that targets individuals or groups of individuals on the basis of their gender.

Below is the expanded definition of gender-based violence as used by UNHCR and implementing partners (based on Articles 1 and 2 of the UN General Assembly Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) and Recommendation 19, paragraph 6 of the 11th Session of the CEDAW Committee)

“Gender-based violence is violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender or sex. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty…. While women, men, boys and girls can be victims of gender-based violence, women and girls are the main victims.

Gender-based violence shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to the following:

a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse of children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practices, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation.

b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking and forced prostitution.

c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State and institutions, wherever it occurs.”