Prevention of violence against women and girls: what does the evidence say?

Elsevier, The Lancet, Volume 385, Issue 9977, 18–24 April 2015, Pages 1555-1566
Authors: 
Mary Ellsberg, Diana J Arango, Matthew Morton, Floriza Gennari, Sveinung Kiplesund, Manuel Contreras, Charlotte Watts

In this Series paper, we review evidence for interventions to reduce the prevalence and incidence of violence against women and girls. Our reviewed studies cover a broad range of intervention models, and many forms of violence—ie, intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual assault, female genital mutilation, and child marriage. Evidence is highly skewed towards that from studies from high-income countries, with these evaluations mainly focusing on responses to violence. This evidence suggests that women-centred, advocacy, and home-visitation programmes can reduce a woman's risk of further victimisation, with less conclusive evidence for the preventive effect of programmes for perpetrators. In low-income and middle-income countries, there is a greater research focus on violence prevention, with promising evidence on the effect of group training for women and men, community mobilisation interventions, and combined livelihood and training interventions for women. Despite shortcomings in the evidence base, several studies show large effects in programmatic timeframes. Across different forms of violence, effective programmes are commonly participatory, engage multiple stakeholders, support critical discussion about gender relationships and the acceptability of violence, and support greater communication and shared decision making among family members, as well as non-violent behaviour. Further investment in intervention design and assessment is needed to address evidence gaps.