International Development Law Organization

16 Days and beyond: IDLO’s work to combat Gender-Based Violence

IDLO is marking the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence with a focus on rule of law solutions to combat violence against women and girls.

The global campaign, which runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through 10 December, Human Rights Day, brings together diverse stakeholders to commit to action to end gender-based violence (GBV) in its many forms.

This year’s theme, chosen by the UN’s UNiTE campaign, which supports the 16 Days and calls for a world free from GBV, is “UNiTE! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls”. It highlights the need for sustained investments in preventing and responding to GBV in order to recover from multiple crises and achieve the sustainable development target of eliminating violence against women by the end of this decade.

Yet, despite significant gains in addressing GBV, we still have a long way to go. Each year around the world, 245 million women and girls aged 15 and older experience physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. Many are left with little or no legal recourse to pursue justice for these crimes. According to the 2023 Gender Equality Accountability report, more than 4 in 5 women and girls live in countries without robust legal protection against violence.

IDLO is committed to continue addressing the widening justice gap for women and girls by supporting comprehensive survivor-centred justice responses to GBV. We have been working around the world in countries such as Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mongolia, Somalia, Tunisia and Uganda to strengthen the capacity of justice sector institutions, including the judiciary and law enforcement. Our interventions also include efforts to boost women’s legal empowerment, so they can access justice and claim their rights, and working to eliminate discriminatory laws and support gender-responsive legal and institutional frameworks to address GBV.

For example, IDLO, with the support of the Government of Denmark, worked with the Judiciary of Kenya to establish and operationalize the country’s first court specialized in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). With victim-centred policies and judicial staff trained in handling such cases, the SGBV court is an important step in providing survivors of GBV with a safe space on their path to justice.

In Mongolia, IDLO piloted mobile GBV clinics with the support of the Government of Canada. The clinics offered legal advice, psychological counselling and referral services to local communities, along with community sessions to raise legal awareness and make recommendations on how to achieve gender equality and end violence against women.

Such interventions are even more vital in complex situations, such as conflict, organized crime, health emergencies and the climate crisis, where rates of GBV can soar. IDLO’s research report Survivor-Centred Justice for Gender-Based Violence in Complex Situations, published in partnership with the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University, calls for approaches that place survivors at the heart of all efforts and provides recommendations for promoting survivor-centred justice for GBV in these contexts.

IDLO will champion these methods during the 28th session the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), taking place in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12 December. The convergence of COP28 and the 16 Days of Activism will showcase IDLO’s integrated approach to addressing gender-based violence as a key aspect of achieving feminist climate justice.

Statement from IDLO Director-General Jan Beagle on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

IDLO’s Director-General joins the international community in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In her statement, she outlines the organization’s work to combat GBV through its programming, research and policy advocacy.

View more

Statement and Call to Action by IDLO and UN Entities on the Occasion of the Official Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

IDLO and UN entities issued a call to action urging partners to take dedicated and bold investment to prevent and respond to GBV.

View more

Enabling Access to Justice for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence against Women in Somaliland

This issue brief demonstrates how diverse justice structures such as Alternative Dispute Resolution Centres can contribute to protecting the rights of survivors of GBV drawing from IDLO’s work with these structures in Somaliland.

View more

Strengthening Gender in Law: Mapping and Analysis of Sierra Leone's Legal Landscape

This legal assessment report, developed by IDLO, UN Women and the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone through the Justice Sector Coordination Office, offers a gender analysis of the country’s laws and calls for legal reforms to strengthen data collection on GBV and address hidden costs for victims of domestic violence, among others.

View more

IDLO Annual Report 2022

The annual report offers a tangible demonstration of IDLO’s contributions in harnessing the rule of law as a powerful force for peace and sustainable development in an increasingly challenging global context. It includes stories on the organization’s work to tackle GBV through its work with both formal and informal justice institutions in different contexts around the world.

View more