From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, International Human Rights Day, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign. The 16 days campaign raises awareness and galvanises action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The campaign is marked by the United Nations, governments and civil society organisations globally.
Globally, more than one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way, most often by someone she knows, including her husband or another male family member. Women and girls with a disability are the most vulnerable to this form of violence. Addressing violence against women requires a multifaceted approach, including prevention, treatment and strengthening legal responses nationally and internationally.
Subjecting women and girls to violence, limiting choices, restricting movement and excluding voices in decision-making is not only unacceptable from a human rights perspective, but leads to poor social and economic outcomes for everyone.
Eliminating violence against women and girls everywhere is a priority for the Australian Government through its foreign policy, economic diplomacy and aid program through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Women and girls in the Pacific face some of the highest levels of violence in the world: over 60 per cent of surveyed women and girls in some countries have experienced violence by an intimate partner or family member. In South and West Asia, violence against women and girls is endemic and entrenched inequality is reinforced through legal and institutional frameworks and social norms1. South and West Asian countries are still amongst the lowest ranked for many gender equality indicators, for example South Asia has the highest rate of child marriage in the world, with 46 percent of girls married by age 18.2
That’s why the Australian Government is working with Pacific Governments and organisations across the region to address violence against women and girls: through supporting front-line and emergency services; improving access to justice; and early intervention programs to prevent violence before it occurs. Over the next 16 days Australia’s diplomatic missions in Asia and the Pacific will share stories and experiences relating to the work Australia is undertaking with governments, civil society, multilateral and regional organisations to address violence against women and girls. Please follow the journey over the 16 days and join the call to action to end violence against women and girls globally.