Preventing violence against women and girls - what works: effective investments summary

This paper, aimed towards policy and practitioners, presents high quality and robust international evidence on what works to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG) before it happens. This paper accompanies What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls: evidence summary.

Key findings

Effectiveness classifications key [1]
Effective Evidence that the intervention is associated with a positive impact on preventing violence, based on a moderate or strong evidence base.
Promising Findings were positive but not to the extent that they constituted evidence that an intervention was 'effective'
Mixed Studies with contrasting results and/or a body of evidence comprised of 'mixed' evidence.
Inconclusive Insufficient evidence to make a judgement on impact.

Where is there evidence of effectiveness?

  • There is strong evidence that interventions focused on modifying unsafe physical school environments are effective in preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG)
  • An example of this intervention is the Shifting Boundaries programme in the USA

Where is there evidence of promising or mixed effectiveness?

  • There is strong evidence to suggest that bystander programmes that encourage prosocial behaviours among peers are promising in preventing VAWG
  • Examples of bystander programmes include Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), Green Dot and Bringing in the Bystander. However, each programme differs in approach
  • There is evidence that school-based programmes which seek to prevent violence in dating and intimate partner relationships (through developing life skills, improving knowledge of abuse, and challenging social norms and gender stereotypes that increase the risk of violence) are promising
  • Of these programmes, there is strong evidence that the Safe Dates programme is effective
  • There ismixed evidence about the effectiveness of education as a sexual violence prevention strategy in higher education
  • For example, there is limited robust evidence that looks at rape prevention programmes in both the short-term and longitudinally

Where is the evidence inconclusive?

  • Due to a limited body of research it is not yet possible to draw reliable conclusions on the effectiveness of the following interventions:
    • Awareness campaigns and edutainment
    • Domestic abuse disclosure schemes
    • Honour-based violence (HBV) interventions
    • Interventions to prevent female genital mutilation (FGM)



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