Center of Women's Rights, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Imrana Kapetanović

Gender-based violence

Gender-based violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, which affects the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide. When acts of violence are committed against women and girls because of their gender, society as a whole loses. Because equality, lasting peace and security for all cannot be achieved until women are able to live free from violence and have their basic human rights respected.

What is gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence (GBV) refers to acts that hurt, threaten, violate, force or restrict someone, and which are based in a gendered power structure. A significant part of gender-based violence is sexual violence: violence as a sexual expression of power and control, which has nothing to do with sexuality. Other forms of gender-based violence include physical, psychological and economic violence.

Both men and women can be survivors/victims or perpetrators of gender-based violence. However, statistics show that the majority of all gender-based violence against women and girls is perpetrated by men.

Why is gender-based violence a problem?

Gender-based violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, which exists in all social classes, cultures and communities. It is estimated that 30 percent of women worldwide have experience physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives.

Gender-based violence can have serious consequences for individuals—from grave physical harm to lasting psychological trauma, and even death.It is also a systematic violation of women’s human rights. It silences women and prevents them from raising their voices.

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Ninette Umurerwa, lawyer and the national executive secretary at Haguruka. Photo: Gloria Powell

They provide legal support

Our partner organisation Haguruka in Rwanda provides women with legal support and meets many victims of gender-based violence. Their network consists of 416 paralegals across the country.

“In Haguruka, we recorded a 75% increase of cases of violence during the pandemic. What’s so great about the paralegals is that they were able to be out in the communities during this time, while us lawyers were locked up at home only working over phone. Paralegals out in the communities could knock on doors to visit women who were being abused.”


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How The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation works against gender-based violence

Kvinna till Kvinna works against gender-based violence by partnering with women’s rights organisations in conflict-affect areas in Europe, the MENA region, the South Caucasus and sub-Saharan Africa.

Through our partners we adress conflict related sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as well as domestic violence and intimate partner violence. Other forms of GBV that our partners adress are:

  • honour crimes
  • child marriage
  • forced marriage
  • female genital mutilation
  • human trafficking
  • violence against LGBTQI+ persons.

Individual level

On an individual level, our partners shelter and support women  and their children who have been or are subjected to gender-based violence. Among other things, they provide legal aid, psychological support and safe spaces.

This individual support is rooted in a feminist approach. We believe in victims/survivors’ potential and strength to reclaim their independence. We see them as active players.

Structural level

On a structural level, our partners prevent gender-based violence by raising awareness and providing education to challenge harmful norms and attitudes, that are usually deeply rooted in society. They systematically collect data, advocate for legislative change and hold governments accountable.

As a way to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, Kvinna till Kvinna together with the Swedish Police Authority organise an International Training Programme for government actors and civil society form Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro and Ukraine.


Kvinna till Kvinna supports our partners to do advocacy work in their respective countries, to improve legislations, the implementation of agreements and the access to services. We also support partners in their regional and international advocacy work, towards the African Union, the European Union or the UN for example. In addition to this, we aim to amplify the voices of local women’s rights activities by doing our own advocacy work towards international decision-makers and donors.



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A better and safer world for women—that was the goal when the organisation Slavic Heart was founded. Today, they offer legal and psychosocial support to victims and survivors of gender-based violence in Ukraine.

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