Learning from practice: Strengthening a legal and policy environment to prevent violence against women and girls
Laws and policies that address violence against women and girls (VAWG), as well as those that promote gender equality and women’s access to employment, have been identified as key components of the enabling environment needed for VAWG prevention to be effective, as is laid out in the “RESPECT Women: Preventing violence against women” framework. The framework highlights that laws that promote gender equality and address violence against women and policies that empower women and respect their rights can reduce underlying risk factors for VAWG and create supporting factors that protect against VAWG in ways that are essential for a long-term approach to VAWG prevention. This synthesis brings together the voices of key civil society organization (CSO) practitioners and their practice-based knowledge to explore and to better understand how CSOs contribute in different contexts to legal and policy systems change and why these roles are critical to strengthening an enabling environment for VAWG prevention.
Focusing on 10 diverse projects implemented by 9 CSOs that received funding from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), this review draws out some cross-cutting themes, challenges, lessons and recommendations from practice by:
highlighting the role that CSOs play in engaging with formal and informal legal and policy systems for VAWG prevention;
showcasing how these organizations seek to navigate the complexities of engaging with these systems for VAWG prevention in different ways; and
providing practical tips and recommendations for practitioners, researchers and for donors.
This review is part of a Prevention Series.