Gender Based Violence

Episcopal Relief & Development recognizes that Gender Based Violence (GBV) affects the health and well being of women in every country. Almost all of our partners identify violence against women and girls as a community problem, and there is a great need for the voice and presence of faith communities and institutions to prevent such violence, and restore the health, dignity and livelihoods of those already affected.

Although GBV is often associated with countries experiencing war and confict, it is present everywhere, through illegal trafficking, domestic violence, rape, and the marginalization of girls and women across cultures and nations. The facts are staggering.


  • Worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime; as many as one in three – are beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetimes.
  • On the basis of data collected from 24,000 women in ten countries, between 55 and 95 per cent of women who have been physically abused by their partners have never contacted NGOs, shelters or the police for help.
  • Violence kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer. And its toll on women’s health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined.
  • Survivors of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
  • An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • It is estimated that close to 90% of current war casualties are civilians, the majority of whom are women and children, compared to a century ago when 90% of those who lost their lives were military personnel.

Episcopal Relief & Development recognizes that this global epidemic impedes the transformation of just societies, erodes the human assets and strengths of a community, causes severe health problems for women and children, and stunts health economic activity. Our current strategic plan focuses on supporting our church partners to strengthen and improve their efforts by:

  • Community education and public awareness on causes and consequences of GBV
  • Training of religious leaders and local leaders
  • Engaging men and boys in dialogue
  • Engaging children and youth through educational activities, sports, cultural activities, etc.
  • Activities to build the agency of women and girls and decrease their vulnerability to violence, including livelihood skills, income generation, formal education, training on rights, leadership skills.
  • Community action plans and watch groups
Provision of services for survivors
  • Shelters and safe houses
  • Training and engaging police and providing protective services
  • Ensuring health facilities are equipped to address needs of GBV survivors, including reproductive health needs
  • Counseling and mediation services
  • Financial support or services for survivors
  • Coordinating service centers and strengthening referral systems
  • Training professionals who may engage with survivors, including judges, police officers, lawyers, social workers, and health care professionals, teachers and media professionals
  • Protection of unique needs of special groups (e.g. women with disabilities, sex workers, and children)
Prosecution or Perpetrators
  • Effective investigation of allegations and fair judicial proceedings for survivors
  • Adequate training for those involved in prosecution activities
  • Strengthening legal and judicial responses to addressing gender-based violence
  • Advocacy to ensuring that various forms of VAW are legally defined and enforced, and that laws include preventive, protective and compensatory measures for victims