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Violence against women and girls undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence.

The health consequences of violence are enormous and include permanent disability, unwanted pregnancies, lingering psychological trauma, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and even death.

Yet in the Philippines, 1 in 20 women and girls age 15-49 have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey.

In partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Ministry of Social Services, UNFPA prioritizes strengthening policies and protection mechanisms to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, in normal settings and in the aftermath of an emergency. During these emergencies, UNFPA works closely with the DSWD and the Department of Health to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to meet the specific needs of women and girls and support survivors of gender-based violence. These include establishing Women-Friendly Spaces, clinical and psychological support, a referral pathway to access services, and capacity building.

UNFPA has a multi-sectoral response to GBV, working with health, police, judicial and social service providers because the challenges raised by GBV are insurmountable through isolated approaches, when different actors act alone and are not connected. As the GBV Coordinator, UNFPA brings together NGOs, women-led organizations, UN agencies, and others to collectively ensure life-saving, predictable, accountable and effective GBV prevention, risk mitigation and response in natural disasters and conflict-related humanitarian contexts.

We also work with partners to support the full implementation of the Magna Carta of Women, a comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination and all forms of violence against women and girls. For instance, UNFPA is supporting periodic sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) reviews conducted by the national human rights institution. UNFPA helps partners transform social norms and eradicate practices that are harmful to women and girls. For instance, UNFPA has worked with Muslim religious leaders to develop a Fatwa on The Model Family in Islam, which provides guidance to address issues such as child marriage.

UNFPA is also currently producing studies that demonstrate the consequences of violence again women such as “Harnessing the Power of Data to Address Violence Against Women and Girls: A dedicated VAWG Survey in the Philippines;’ and “COUNTING THE COST: The Price Society Pays for Violence Against Women and Girls.”

Key Projects:

1.       Study on the Price Society Pays for Violence Against Women and Girls (USD 150,000 from 2020-2021; of which USD 100,000 is unfunded);

2.       Study on Violence Against Women and Girls in the Philippines (USD 700,000 from 2020-2021 of which USD 700,000 is unfunded); and

3.       Periodic Reviews on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) conducted by the National Human Rights Institution, including empowering women and girls with disabilities (USD 640,000 from 2020-2022 of which USD640,000 is unfunded).